Natural Art: The Photography of Brad Hill

 
Bet You Can't See Me Now!

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In the Field

Bet You Can't See Me Now! Southern Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia, Canada. 12 May 2019.

While Black Bears are highly intelligent animals, at least this one doesn't seem to have really figured out the art of hiding. But then again, maybe this bear was even smarter than I thought...and just maybe it figured out that MOST of the photographers in the Zodiac that were looking at him would quit shooting their crazy cameras at it if he/she put grass in front of its face! Well...its trick clearly did not work on me...I kinda liked how the bear almost appeared to be hiding in the grass (and certainly how relaxed it appeared to be) as we watched it munch on an evening snack of fresh spring grass.

So...given that there are very few salmon species "running" (or spawning) in the spring, what do all the bears in the Great Bear feed on in the spring? Well...throughout the region each spring...and all the way from the Khutzeymateen in the northern portion of the Great Bear through to the southern end of the Great Bear where THIS bear was photographed...the bears love to feed on fast-growing grasses and sedges. And this includes ALL the bears in the Great Bear...so that means grizzlies, black bears, and even the white Spirit Bears. In fact, those few lucky people who have been fortunate enough to visit the Great Bear Rainforest (including the Khutzeymateen) in the spring can appreciate just how darn hard it can be to get a photo of a bear that DOESN'T have a wad of grass in its mouth! ;-)

Here's a larger (2400 pixel) version of this crazy camou master!

Bet You Can't See Me Now! Download 2400 pixel image (JPEG: 1.44 MB)

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

1. This image was captured during our "Spring in the Southern Great Bear" photo tour in May of 2019. Each year I offer photo tours into several different parts of the Great Bear Rainforest as well trips to photograph marine mammals and oceanscapes in locations on Vancouver Island. And, in selected years, I also offer photo tours to locations to capture other highly sought-after subjects, such as Dall Sheep, Bald Eagles, and more. Details about these trips can be found on the Photo Tours page of this website.

2. This image - in all resolutions - is protected by copyright. I'm fine with personal uses of them (including use as desktop backgrounds or screensavers on your own computer), but unauthorized commercial use of the image is prohibited by law. Thanks in advance for respecting my copyright!

3. Like all wildlife photographs on this website, this image was captured following the strict ethical guidelines described in The Wildlife FIRST! Principles of Photographer Conduct. I encourage all wildlife photographers to always put the welfare of their subjects above the value of their photographs.

Behind the Camera

Bet You Can't See Me Now! Southern Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia, Canada. 12 May 2019.

Digital Capture; Compressed RAW (NEF) 14-bit format; ISO 1800.

Nikon D500 paired with Nikkor 180-400mm f4E zoom at 400mm (for an EFL of 600mm). Hand-held from floating Zodiac. VR on and in Sport mode. Single Point AF mode.

1/1000s @ f4.5; -1.0 stop compensation from "recommended" matrix-metered exposure setting.

At the Computer

Bet You Can't See Me Now! Southern Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia, Canada. 12 May 2019.

RAW Conversion to 16-bit TIFF, including all global and selective adjustments, using Phase One's Capture One Pro 12. Global adjustments to this shot included modifications to exposure and colour saturation. Selective local adjustments performed using Capture One Pro's layers and masking tools. In this case adjustments were made on 5 separate layers and included local/selective editing of (or adjustment of) clarity, sharpening, exposure (i.e., exposure balancing), shadow retrieval, and noise reduction.

Photoshop adjustments were limited to image re-sizing, conversion of Prophoto RGB colour gamut (to sRGB), final sharpening for online display, and insertion of watermark.

Conservation

Bet You Can't See Me Now! Southern Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia, Canada. 12 May 2019.

Species Status in Canada*: Not currently listed as Threatened or Endangered.

This black bear is a member of the subspecies "Kermodei" (Ursus americana kermodei). This subspecies is unique in that the population is characterized by having an unusually high proportion of a recessive gene that produces white coat colour (found on the "Spirit Bears"). Because the Black Bear is not considered under threat as a species, both the Kermodei subspecies and the very rare Spirit Bear suffer from having the same conservation designation (it should be acknowledged that in British Columbia - the jurisdiction of greatest Spirit Bear abundance - hunting of these white-coated bears is not permitted). For reasons that are not fully understood, the Spirit Bear occurs with greater frequency in a relatively small geographic area within The Great Bear Rainforest of the central and northern coast of British Columbia. In this area 10 to 30% of the bears possess white coats. Many of the black-coloured Black Bears in this region carry the gene for white coats, so allowing hunting of ANY Black Bears in this region can reduce the frequency of the gene for white coats. Thus, to protect the Spirit Bear, it is necessary to prohibit the hunting of ALL Black Bears in this region. And, very unfortunately, the globally unique ecosystem that contains the Spirit Bear is under development pressure, especially from the forestry industry. If this unique environment is altered, we may lose the wonderful genetic anomaly known as the Spirit Bear forever.

*as determined by COSEWIC: The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada