Fabled and feared, rescued and reared— bears, through time have experienced human impact, both negative and positive. Indeed, the current circumstance of these impressive creatures reflects our behavior, depth of understanding, and attitude towards them.
In this Special Edition we share the perspective of photographers, explorers, scientists and those dedicated to the conservation of bears and their habitat worldwide. Their stories and images reflect the diverse nature of bears, the vital role they play in the health of an ecosystem, their spiritual significance and reverence to native culture. These are but some of the aspects explored through first-hand encounters and expressive photos which capture intimate moments of bears in the wild.
Viewed through a global prism encompassing past, and present with expert insight on the future— we open a much wider window, into the world of bears.
Deepest gratitude to all who contributed, for enriching this issue with your knowledge and experience. You have helped provide a global perspective that I hope will raise awareness and support for our beloved bears.
My bag arrived in time for one day’s shoot. We had just five days over the water and four of them were just too windy and the whales were very shy. There was one, though, who would stay on the ocean bottom where we barely could see him and then every 20 minutes he would come up for air. Our trick was to swim like hell to intersect him when he reached the surface without being clobbered. I got three chances, and during one, I guessed right and he came up just in front of me. I could have grabbed his tail and gone for a ride. Now I am off for the Duba Plains in Botswana; hopefully, my bags will make it with me! Stay tuned!
As many of you know by now, my trip to Tonga marks the first time in decades of rugged and remote travel that my bags have not made it with me. Thwarted by airlines, mechanical troubles, and weather, I have one camera, no underwater gear, the clothes on my back and boatloads of frustration. Thank you to Darren Jew who has been stellar in allowing me to use his equipment so the trip wouldn’t be a complete and total washout.
Sockeye salmon run thick in the rivers and streams of Katmai. However, these fish are smart. I was unable to capture the shots I wanted of the fish since they were very agitated by the bears hunting them. The bears work in unison, churning the water, then snagging the confused fish in their powerful jaws.
Katmai National Park is one of my go-to places for bears. It is extraordinary to say the least & the scenery isn’t too shabby either. In particular, I was able to photograph a sow & her two cubs. She looked at me, looked at her cubs, and sat down as if giving me permission.
My friends and I had a great time wandering around various parts of the Salish Sea in search of orca whales. While we did finally spot 8 transient whales on our adventure it takes either really good light or unusual behaviors such as spy hopping and breaching the surface to make the photo and alas we had neither that day. To really photograph orcas takes a bit of luck (which I often have) and a lot of time (which I never have). I have been fortunate enough to see them in Antarctica, Argentina, New Zealand, Norway, and Alaska and I was hoping to have some shots of them in my own back yard for my next book project but it wasn’t to be this time around.
Due to limited connectivity, I am only able to upload a few photos from my current trip to Brazil. The last time I photographed scarlet ibis was in the early 1990s for my book Migrations. It is terrific having the opportunity again to capture these birds with superior technology.
It has become a year of firsts for me: in Japan I was able to photograph the Steller’s sea eagles for the first time, and now when I am in Chilean Patagonia, I have been able to photograph Southern South American pumas and their cubs. A couple of these photos will surely find their way into my next book project for 2014.
Only a few days home from a six week long trip and I was growing antsy to get out and photograph. I grabbed a couple friends and we headed north to the George C. Reifel Wildlife Sanctuary in hopes of a snowy owl sighting. We saw only two—the last of the hungry winter migrants from the north. Like me they were antsy to start their own return journey & I photographed one individual testing out its wings. One of the other great charms of Reifel are the resident sandhill cranes. This is where I’ve always had the best opportunity to photograph these beautiful birds up close.