Thursday, October 9, 2008

Great Bear Rain Forest

G'Day Nature Lovers

I just arrived home from a one week trip to the "Great Bear Rain Forest", on the central coast of British Columbia. The intention of the short excursion was to first try and find the elusive and extremely rare "Great White Bear" or "Spirit Bear". My second intention of this trip was to scout out this area for the possibility of offering small group photography tours to this area next year.

So how did it turn out? Well, having read many of the stories of the folks who had previously seeked to find the great spirit bear, I was a little doubtful about the possibility of actually finding one of these great bears. I had read of wildlife biologists searching the great bear rain forest for over 2.5 years before getting just a glimpse of this elusive rain forest giant.

So imagine my surprise when our head guide spotted our first white bear after being on the boat for less than an hour! We did see one other spirit bear two days later fishing under a water fall - needed to work really hard to get into a position to photograph this bear though. So I definitely consider myself extremely fortunate to have seen two "Spirit Bears" in less than a week!

Image Capture: Nikon D3, 200-400 f4 VR

This was the first white bear we seen, and due to the serious lack of salmon this year it has forced all bears, wolves, eagles and all other wildlife dependent upon the salmon spawn to search for alternate food sources at this time of year. This spirit bear was scouring the mountain sides looking for, finding and gorging himself on wild crab apples!

Image Capture: Nikon D3, 200-400 f4 VR

The search continues for more crab apples, amoungst the beautiful fall foliage. while waiting for 9 hours in the pouring rain in hopes of catching a glimpse of the great white bear fishing, this beautiful black bear showed up. I loved this situation and conditions (wet, cold and windy), so much so this has ended up being my favorite image of the trip!

Image Capture: Nikon D3, 200-400 f4 VR

white bears, black bears & last but not least, the grizzly bear. I like the setting of this shot with the bear against the dark wall.

Image Capture: Nikon D3, 70-200 f2.8 VR

If any of you are interested in seeing more images from this recent trip please visit this gallery on my website.

North American Bears

And finally, within the next month I will have details worked out for two up coming photo tours I have planned to the Great Bear Rain Forest in 2009. The first one will be May 23-28, to the Kutzamateen to photograph grizzly bears, and the second tour will be Oct. 4-11 to photograph the Great white "Spirit Bear".

Enjoy, shane