Alaska fishing bear goes viral …and for sale!

During my very first visit to Alaska in 2014 I encountered this brown bear (ursus arctos), or more often referred to by its sub-species name: ‘Alaska coastal bear’ (ursus arctos alascensis) in Hallo Bay, fishing for salmon at a late afternoon.

I was in a small group walking on the beach with my Nikon D4S DSLR attached to a Nikon 500mm f/4 super telephoto lens with 1.4 teleconverter attached, and the whole package resting on a Gitzo tripod and Wimberly gimbal head (yes it weighs a ton). When these cute little furballs (they get up to 1500 pounds; larger than grizzlies) are busy catching fish, the action usually only takes a second or 2. And that action is observed from a very safe distance, so at least at around 100 meters/yards unless the bear decides to run and jump towards you.

It was low tide and just before sunset when this one indeed came running towards me, chasing a fish, while I had my finger on the shutter, continuous autofocus switched on …happily shooting away at 11 frames/second. The poor guy (or girl) actually ended up missing the fish and then looked at me from a not-so-far distance as if to say “this isn’t my day” (disclosure: (s)he did catch other fish soon after and surely was a happy bear again :).

hallo-bay-sundowner-fishing

Splash!

Ever since I started this website I received a lot of positive comments on this image, and more recently I’ve also received requests for actual prints. To make this a special opportunity, I thought it would be nice to offer the first 25 prints of this Alaska brown bear in a ‘limited first edition‘: a ‘certificate of authenticity’ will be added to each print and/or my personal signature (in case I’m able to provide the print in person). The prints will be created and delivered by a professional printing company I’ve had and still have very good experience with. I will also offer the prints in this limited first edition at a 25% discount compared to the list price, with the following types and dimensions:

Photo print on 3mm aluminum dibond, matte finish

  • “Easy to place on most walls” – 60×40 cm (23.6×15.7″): € 379,00 (list: € 499,95)
  • “Cool size” – 75×50 cm (29.5×19.7″): € 419,00 (list: € 549,95)
  • “Mega cool size” – 90×60 cm (35.4×23.6″): € 449,00 (list: € 599,95)

Photo print under acrylic glass, 3mm aluminum dibond, matte finish

  • “Easy to place on most walls” – 60×40 cm (23.6×15.7″): € 399,00 (list: € 529,95)
  • “Cool size” – 75×50 cm (29.5×19.7″): € 449,00 (list: € 599,95)
  • “Mega cool size” – 90×60 cm (35.4×23.6″): € 526,00 (list: € 699,95)

The rates above are incl. 21% VAT and excl. shipping costs. If you’re interested in becoming a distinct owner of a ‘limited first edition’ print of this Alaska bear with this attractive discount, or if you have any related or other questions or comments, just drop me a note at:
enquiry@fliek.com

Katmai National Park, Alaska, 2015 with the new Nikon 600mm FL

After writing about my first impressions with the new Nikon AF-S 600MM F/4E FL ED VR super telephoto lens, I went on to visit Katmai National Park for the second time, hoping to find a variety of wildlife opportunities and to put this new toy to the test. In a small group of 4 wildlife photographers I was the only one on this trip without a long range zoom lens, and this was an additional learning point for me: if your photography is involving (very) mobile creatures a zoom does come in handy. However, funny things can happen as well if you don’t…

It must have been the first or second day of the trip when we were at Geographic Harbor and the bears were happily fishing for salmon. I was expecting the bears to keep their distance, which they did every now and then, but they also did come quite close every now and then. I had already added a 1.4 teleconverter on my 600mm earlier when this bad boy came jumping at me, spotting a juicy salmon less than 5 meters and an effective 850mm focal length lens between us (NIKON RAW data lists 850mm instead of 840mm, so I’ll just stick to that). If I would have had a zoomlens I probably would have zoomed out, but then I would not have captured this remarkable close-up with some serious amount of detail – check out those claws!

salmon-drama

“Salmon Drama” – Nikon D4S, VR 600mm f/4E @ 850mm, f/5.6, 1/1000s, +0.7EV Exposure, ISO 640

A couple of days later, we arrived at Hallo Bay in the early evening, and similar to last year we had a nice sunset with several bears fishing, and a sow with cubs who decided to take a nap on a small sandbank. Still quite far away for my 600mm so I added my TC14E III teleconverter again. This is a good time to form your impression/opinion about the bokeh you get with this lens wide open…

hallo-bay-water-sunset

“Water Sunset” – Nikon D4S, VR 600mm f/4E @ 850mm, f/5.6, 1/1250s, +0.7EV Exposure, ISO 400

The next day, back on the beach we were welcomed by the cutest, very inquisitive little red fox – actually these little ones range from red to black in different phases, and this one was a bit of a mix. Again, I was using my 600mm while this boy was walking around and it wasn’t easy to get the right distance between us…

hello

“Hello” – Nikon D4S, VR 600mm f/4E @ 600mm, f/4, 1/1250s, +0.3EV Exposure, ISO 320

For some reason this little guy took quite an interest in me. When I went back to pick up my tripod (yes, the 600mm does get a little heavy after hand-holding it for more than 10 minutes…) he decided to follow me, stay at a distance of about 2 meters, and simply continued to look at me! Perhaps he had been fed earlier by others, who knows. It was a special experience nonetheless…

waiting-for-you

“Waiting for You” – Nikon D4S, VR 600mm f/4E @ 600mm, f/4, 1/1250s, +1.0EV Exposure, ISO 280

Somewhat ‘off the beaten track’ in Knak Bay, we found this grown cub hanging around at the rocks looking for something…soon afterwards (s)he joined mamma bear again without any luck in finding whatever was there…

look-what-I-can-do

“Look what I can do” – Nikon D4S, VR 600mm f/4E @ 850mm, f/5.6, 1/1000s, ISO 4000

The final image in this series (more to come off course!!) is a group of harbor seals we encountered between Knak Bay and Geographic Harbor. These funny animals were screaming and shouting while our boat was keeping its distance – it must have been close to one hundred meters yet it seemed to cause quite a stir!

much-ado-about-nothing

“Much ado about Nothing” – Nikon D4S, VR 600mm f/4E @ 850mm, f/5.6, 1/1000s, +0.3EV Exposure, ISO 250

I’ll be adding more images as well as changing the structure of this website in the coming weeks…stay tuned for updates. In the mean time, for any comments or questions just reach out at feedback@fliek.com

All images and content copyright © 2015 fliek.com

…and back to Alaska

I finally managed to find some time and continue posting images to naturephotographers.net, and I selected one of my 2 ‘mama bear and cubs’ images…let’s see what valuable critique amateurs and professionals will be able to share! :)

Oh and by the way: I slightly changed this image compared to the one on my homepage … ever so slightly. If you can spot the difference, let me know!

hallo bay bear family