Natural Art: The Photography of Brad Hill

 
Disturbance of the Peace

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In the Field

Disturbance of the Peace. Khutzeymateen Inlet, Great Bear Rainforest, BC, Canada. June 1, 2017.

Raising a triplet of cubs is a ton of work - just ask any female grizzly. The constant vigilance, regular nursing, and just keeping the mischievous tykes in line can wear even the most energetic mom out. We spotted this female's three cubs foraging in grass along the narrow Khutzeymateen Inlet and initially couldn't spot where mom was. After scanning the area we finally saw mom up on a stump near the forest edge - just zonked out! It was clear that she needed a break (and was comfortable with the view she had and her ability to still keep an eye out for trouble while catching catnaps).

Before long one of the cubs decided it was tuckered out as well - and decided it just HAD to climb up and sleep where Ma was sleeping. As it climbed the stump it became darned clear that the cub would be visible for a few seconds in the gap in the vegetation (with a nice dark background behind it). I judged that if the cub came up where I thought it would the heads of the two bears would be about two meters apart. I had a 500mm lens in my hands so I knew the DoF would be split 50:50 in front of and behind my focal point, so I focused on the vegetation BETWEEN the two bear heads (based on where I thought the cub would come up). And I stopped down to f8 and waited. Fortunately, less than a minute later the cub's head popped into the spot where I thought it would and I got the shot I wanted! Sometimes things DO work out the way you plan for and hope for!

And, as the image title suggests, the cub DID wake up mom up. Fortunately the cub settled down pretty quick and mom got back to the important business of resting!

Here's a larger (2400 pixel) version of this nasty like tyke about to wake his mom:

Disturbance of the Peace: Download 2400 pixel image (JPEG: 2.6 MB)

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

1. This image was captured during one of my "Grizzlies of the Khutzeymateen" photo tour in the spring of 2017. 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.

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 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).

4. Alert - Digitally Manipulated Image: This image clearly crosses the line from simple digital correction to digital manipulation. In this particular case I removed an almost white branch that was found to the immediate right of the cub's face (to the left of the cub in the image).

It is my policy to clearly identify ANY images on this website that overstep the bounds of digital correction and enter the territory of digital manipulation (see Voice: Commentary: Digital Correction vs. Digital Manipulation).

Behind the Camera

Disturbance of the Peace. Khutzeymateen Inlet, Great Bear Rainforest, BC, Canada. June 1, 2017.

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

Nikon D5 paired with Sigma 500mm f4 Sport lens. Hand-held from floating Zodiac. OS on and in "OS1" mode, with OS1 stabilization customized to Moderate View mode; AF customized to Fast Priority AF.

1/500s @ f8; -0.67 stop compensation from "recommended" matrix-metered exposure setting.

At the Computer

Disturbance of the Peace. Khutzeymateen Inlet, Great Bear Rainforest, BC, Canada. June 1, 2017.

RAW Conversion to 16-bit TIFF using Phase One's Capture One Pro 10. Three raw variants (different versions of a single raw capture) processed, with the variants differing in exposure settings (0.25 stop total difference between the variants) , shadow recovery and highlight retrieval settings, 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 three output files from the raw converter, very minor exposure tweaks, and final selective sharpening for web output. Final tone-tweaking performed using LightZone's "tonemapper" tool.

Conservation

Disturbance of the Peace. Khutzeymateen Inlet, Great Bear Rainforest, BC, Canada. June 1, 2017.

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 these bears reside in BC, there's a very real chance that their lives will be ended by a bullet. And, their heads and paws will be cut off (leaving the 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