Natural Art: The Photography of Brad Hill

Spirit Bear in Garden of Nature

Availability: RM Stock (??)

Previous Gallery Next Gallery

In the Field

Spirit Bear in Garden of Nature. Great Bear Rainforest (northern BC coast), Canada. October 11, 2007.

This adult Spirit Bear was one of several we encountered this day. We saw up to 7 Spirit Bears this day (5 adults and 2 cubs). Most of the adult bears were very similar to one another in overall appearance, but we noticed (mainly by reviewing our digital images on our camera's LCD screens) that we could identify individuals based on the scar pattern on their snouts (similar to how Orca's and other whales are identified).

While the overall appearance of the bears may have been very similar, their behaviour wasn't. Some were very tolerant of our presence, while others skedaddled the moment we saw them (or they saw us). The bear in this "natural garden" was one of the skittish ones. This was one of the few good looks we got of this bear - fortunately he/she ensured it was with an exquisite backdrop!

NOTE: This image was captured in a region of British Columbia known as "The Great Bear Rainforest". I offer both instructional photo tours and "photo op only" photo tours into the Great Bear Rainforest each spring and autumn. If you're interested in more information about one of these tours, details are available on the Photo Tours page of this website!

Behind the Camera

Spirit Bear in Garden of Nature. Great Bear Rainforest (northern BC coast), Canada. October 11, 2007.

Digital Capture; Uncompressed RAW (NEF) format; ISO 250.

Nikon D2X with Nikon 200-400 mm f/4G ED-IF AF-S VR lens @ 310 mm (465 mm equivalent with digital conversion factor) supported on Gitzo 1348 carbon fibre tripod with Wimberley head - all on deck of moving sailboat. VR turned to "On" and in "Normal" mode. AquaTech SportShield (rain cover) used to protect camera and lens.

1/250s @ f4; -0.33 stop compensation from matrix-metered exposure setting.

At the Computer

Spirit Bear in Garden of Nature. Great Bear Rainforest (northern BC coast), Canada. October 11, 2007.

RAW Conversion to 16 bit TIFF, including first-pass sharpening and exposure compensation using Phase One's C1 Pro.

Further digital correction on 16-bit TIFF file using Adobe's Photoshop CS3 and LightZone 3. Minor tonal adjustments performed in LightZone (using the ToneMapper/Relight tool). Photoshop adjustments included selective saturation enhancement and selective sharpening for web output.


Spirit Bear in Garden of Nature. Great Bear Rainforest (northern BC coast), Canada. October 11, 2007.

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

The "Spirit" or "Kermode" Bear is a rare genetically-based colour variant of the common Black Bear (Ursus americana). It has been estimated that less than 200 Spirit Bears exist today. Because the Black Bear is not considered under threat as a species, the Spirit Bear suffers 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. Unfortunately, this globally unique habitat 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.

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.