Natural Art: The Photography of Brad Hill

Kissed by the Light

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In the Field

Kissed by the Light. Khutzeymateen Grizzly Sanctuary (northern BC coast), Canada. May 30, 2011.

I captured this image of a grizzly cub coming down to drink at sunset near the end of one of my Khutzeymateen photo tours in 2011. It represented a "breakthrough" moment which we had been hoping to see for about 5 days. This cub, along with its sibling, were exceptionally wary and distrustful of us, even though their mother was calm and relaxed when we were around. Day-by-day the cubs had been becoming slightly more comfortable with us, and on this evening they finally let down their guard and accepted us. About five minutes before this cub came to the water's edge, mom had come down to get a drink and, after doing so, "woofed" at her reluctant cubs until they finally (and painfully slowly!) made their way to the water's edge to grab their final drink of the day before bedding down. It was a special treat for all of us on our final night of our photo tour. To say it was an incredible way to end things off is a huge understatement!

I loved how the low-angle sun illuminated the bear's left eye (right side of the image), especially how it picked up lashes and hairs surrounding the eye. The low, low angle I shot the image from was accomplished from extended my body over the pontoon of the Zodiac I was in (my camera and 400mm lens was only inches above the water's surface when I released the shutter on this one).


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 2011. 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 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

Kissed by the Light. Khutzeymateen Grizzly Sanctuary (northern BC coast), Canada. May 30, 2011.

Digital Capture; Compressed RAW (NEF) 14-bit format; ISO 720.

Nikon D3s paired with Nikkor 400mm f2.8 VRII prime lens - hand-held from floating Zodiac. VR on and in normal mode.

1/250s @ f8; -0.33 stop compensation from matrix-metered exposure setting.

At the Computer

Kissed by the Light. Khutzeymateen Grizzly Sanctuary (northern BC coast), Canada. May 30, 2011.

RAW Conversion to 16-bit TIFF, including first-pass/capture sharpening using Capture One Pro version 6. Three raw variants (processed from raw) differing by a total of 1.0 stops in total exposure.

Further digital corrections on resulting 16-bit TIFF files using Adobe's Photoshop CS6 and Light Craft's Lightzone. Photoshop adjustments included compositing the raw conversion exposure variants, selective minor tweaks to exposure, selective colour saturation and desaturation, and selective sharpening for web output. Final tone tweaking performed using tonemapper/re-light tool in Lightzone.


Kissed by the Light. Khutzeymateen Grizzly Sanctuary (northern BC coast), Canada. May 30, 2011.

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.

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