Natural Art: The Photography of Brad Hill

 
CANADIAN Rainforest

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In the Field

CANADIAN Rainforest. Khutzeymateen Inlet, northern BC Coast, Canada. May 28, 2016.

ANY Rainforest is amazing. Although all rainforests are at the opposite end of the moisture-spectrum from deserts, if you ever visit one you come away with the same "take-home lesson" - that water and life are absolutely and inextricably linked! Unlike deserts, rainforests are just dripping with life!

Now, if you travel to a biologically intact Canadian rainforest you're very likely to come away with ANOTHER take-home lesson: They have a whole lot of BEARS in them! In this shot a young female grizzly bear is standing in the rainforest understory that is typical of British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest. She's actually on a very small rock pillar that becomes an island at high-tide - so all the vegetation you see here is growing on pure rock. The veil-like hanging lichen (including the strand draped over her cheek) is something called Methuselah's Beard...and visually it's one of my favorite aspects of the Great Bear Rainforest.

I've written many times about how I tend to like - and try to commonly capture - reasonably "wide" views of wildlife that include a fair amount of their environment (what I call an "enviroscape") or even a lot of the landscape (i.e., an "animalscape"). Even though this shot is fairly "tightly" framed, I'd still consider it an enviroscape. Those wishing to read a lot more about enviroscapes and animalscapes can check out this section on my techniques page.

Here's a larger (2400 pixel) version of this amazing CANADIAN Rainforest scene:

CANADIAN Rainforest: Download 2400 pixel image (JPEG: 2.95 MB)

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

1. 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!

2. This image was captured during one of my two spring "Grizzlies of the Khutzeymateen" photo tours in May/June of 2016. Each year I offer trips into two different parts of the Great Bear Rainforest as well as one to photograph aquatic mammals and oceanscapes near the northern tip of Vancouver Island. And, in selected years, I also offer photo tours to locations to capture other highly sought-after subjects, such as various boreal owl species and wildlife of Canada's Arctic. Details about these trips can be found on the Photo Tours page of this website.

3. Like all wildlife images on this website, the subject(s) is/are fully wild and completely unconstrained. Besides the potential impact of my/our presence, nothing has been done to intentionally alter or affect the ongoing behavior of the subject and, of course, there has been no use of any form of bait or other form of wildlife attractants/luring devices (including vocalizations or other sounds).

Behind the Camera

CANADIAN Rainforest. Khutzeymateen Inlet, northern BC Coast, Canada. May 28, 2016.

Digital Capture; Compressed RAW (NEF) 14-bit format; ISO 2500.

Nikon D5 paired with Nikkor 70-200mm f4 VR lens. Hand-held. VR On and in Normal Mode.

1/200s @ f9; -0.67 stop compensation from "recommended" matrix-metered exposure setting.

At the Computer

CANADIAN Rainforest. Khutzeymateen Inlet, northern BC Coast, Canada. May 28, 2016.

RAW Conversion to 16-bit TIFF using Phase One's Capture One Pro 10. Four raw variants (different versions of a single raw capture) processed, with the variants differing in exposure settings (0.7 stop total difference between the variants), shadow recovery, and noise reduction settings.

Further digital corrections on resulting 16-bit TIFF files using Adobe's Photoshop CC 2017 and Light Crafts Lightzone. Photoshop adjustments included compositing (blending) of the four output files from the raw converter, minor saturation adjustment, and final selective sharpening for web output. Final tone-tweaking performed using LightZone's "tonemapper" tool.

Conservation

CANADIAN Rainforest. Khutzeymateen Inlet, northern BC Coast, Canada. May 28, 2016.

Ten percent of the revenue generated by this image will be donated to Raincoast*.

Species Status in Canada**: Special Concern (May 2002).

While Grizzly Bears (Ursus arctos) are not technically listed as "Endangered" in Canada, they have been extirpated from most of their historical range. Grizzly Bears are far more sensitive to intrusion/disturbance in their habitat than are Black Bears and are being increasingly forced into marginal habitat by human encroachment. The Great Bear Rainforest along the central and northern coast of British Columbia is one of the last strongholds of the Grizzly Bear in Canada, and even this population is coming under increasing pressure.

Sadly, because this bear resides in BC, there's a very real chance that its life will be ended by a bullet. And, its head and paws will be cut off (leaving its carcasses to simply rot) so that they can be mounted and adorn the wall of some fearless trophy hunter (who will, no doubt, be cheered on by all the grasses, sedges and clams that will be saved from being so mercilessly eaten by this fearsome beast).

The debate about the trophy hunting of carnivores can be broken into 3 arguments: the ethical, the economic, and the ecological. The ethical argument for the trophy hunting of grizzlies in BC? On that one - just go back and look at this image and read the paragraph immediately above. The economic argument? Well, it's on even shakier grounds - not only does bear-watching in BC generate 11-15 times as much revenue as bear hunting (and employ 10-15 times as many people), but the revenue generated by bear hunting doesn't even cover the cost to the BC Gov't of managing the hunt itself - it's a net loss to the taxpayers of BC (all studies related to these economic claims can be supplied on request). The ecological argument? Yep, you guessed right - there isn't one. As a matter of fact, an increasing body of sound, peer-reviewed scientific studies have shown how the guild of carnivores at the TOP of the food chain are exceptionally important to the overall health of ecosystems - everything from ensuring continued biodiversity through to maximizing that amount of carbon dioxide the ecosystem can absorb (climate change consequences, anyone?).

So why does the trophy hunting of carnivores (and bears in particular) continue to exist in BC? Good question. Well, it sure isn't because of public support - just under 90% of British Columbians are against it. And many First Nations have banned it in their territories. Sadly, it appears that little more than the fact that a handful of elected officials (MLA's) in a few rural ridings fear the backlash from voters if they stand against trophy hunting is keeping trophy hunting alive.

Those wishing to get active in helping to stop the trophy hunting of carnivores in BC are encouraged to visit this page on Raincoast's website. And please help spread the word!

*The Raincoast Conservation Society (and Foundation) is an effective and efficient organization that has been fighting for protection of this unique habitat. If you are looking for a meaningful way to contribute to the conservation of this amazing ecosystem, Raincoast will provide maximal "bang" for your conservation dollars.

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