Natural Art: The Photography of Brad Hill

Contemplating Life Without Flies

Availability: Limited Edition Print; RM Stock (??)

Previous Gallery Next Gallery

In the Field

Contemplating Life Without Flies. Great Bear Rainforest (northern BC coast), Canada. September 12, 2005.

This Brown (or Grizzly) bear - and its sibling - absolutely loved to lay on the edge of Mussel River and dig up (and eat, of course) salmon eggs. They would do it for hours on end. We had been watching this particular individual for quite some time when I noticed that every few minutes it would stop digging and look up into the air. At first I wondered what it was looking at. Then, while looking through my viewfinder, I noticed a cloud of flies hovering just above the bear. Luckily, a number of the flies were on the same focal plane as the bear's eye - so by pre-focusing on where I thought the bearÍs eye was going to be when it next lifted its head (luckily I was right!) I ended up with an image where both the bear's eye and the subject of the stare (the flies) were in sharp focus.

Behind the Camera

Contemplating Life Without Flies. Great Bear Rainforest (northern BC coast), Canada. September 12, 2005.

Digital Capture; Compressed RAW (NEF) format; ISO 200.

Nikon D2X with Nikon 200-400 mm f/4G ED-IF AF-S VR lens @ 400 mm (600 mm equivalent with digital conversion factor) supported on Gitzo 1348 carbon fibre tripod with Wimberley head.

1/100s @ f5; -1 stop exposure compensation from matrix-metered exposure setting.

At the Computer

Contemplating Life Without Flies. Great Bear Rainforest (northern BC coast), Canada. September 12, 2005.

RAW Conversion to 16-bit TIFF, including first-pass sharpening, using Phase One's C1 Pro. Multiple RAW conversions (at different exposure settings) to retrieve over-exposed highlights, in this case the bird droppings in the foreground. Exposure correction (to compensate for deliberate shutter-speed-enhancing under-exposure while shooting) during RAW conversion.

All further digital correction on 16-bit TIFF file using Adobe's Photoshop CS2, including compositing and masking of various exposure versions, selective saturation enhancement and selective sharpening for web output.


Contemplating Life Without Flies. Great Bear Rainforest (northern BC coast), Canada. September 12, 2005.

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.

On December 18, 2017 the government of British Columbia banned grizzly hunting across the entire province. This major conservation victory came after decades of tireless work by many dedicated conservationists and ecologists and, most importantly, it reflects the opinion of the vast majority of British Columbians. And, it means that AT LEAST while the current government remains in power grizzlies are finally "safe" in British Columbia.

Now that we've at least temporarily won the battle to save grizzlies in BC, it's time to re-focus our efforts toward protecting ALL of BC's carnivores, including Gray Wolves, Black Bears, Cougars, Wolverines, and more! Simply put, there are no ecological, economic, or ethical arguments supporting the trophy hunting of carnivores.

In a great first step towards ending the hunting of carnivores throughout BC the Raincoast Conservation Foundation has developed a program designed to protect ALL carnivores within the Great Bear Rainforest. Details about this program can be found on this page on Raincoast's website. Check it out and, better yet, make a donation to help Raincoast purchase the remaining commercial hunting tenures in the Great 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.

For more information on the status of Grizzly Bears in Canada, go to: and search under "Grizzly Bears".

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