Coastal brown bear rolls in a grassy meadow with its feet sticking in the air. Katmai National Park, Alaska Peninsula, southwest Alaska. Canon 5D Mark III, 500mm f/4L IS w/ 1.4x, 1/320 @ f/5.6, ISO 400.
An open grassy meadow, with white daisies dotting the perimeter serves as a good spot for this brown bear to scratch its back by rolling around on the surface. I liked the display of both the pads of the bear’s feet, and its long, distinctive claws. Those claws can do some serious dirt removal, in addition to very dexterous tasks like extracting the brains from salmon.
Coastal Katmai is famous for its large brown bear population. They forage voraciously during the rich and productive summer season, enjoying clams, fish, berries, and other plants, as they pack on the fat for a winter hibernation. This bear had walked through camp early one morning, so we grabbed our camera gear and followed it into a meadow filled with purple, blossoming lupine wildflowers. While there were great possibilities, the busy bear gave little attention to us, and offered only a few profile shots. This is one of them.
Coastal brown bear in a meadow of lupine wildflowers, Katmai National Park, Alaska Peninsula, southwest Alaska. Canon 5D Mark III, 500mm f/4L IS, 1/400 sec @ f/5, ISO 400.
During the summer months, the Savannah sparrow is commonly seen and heard in the meadows around much of Alaska. They like to perch on the tall plants which, if your timings is right, can be fireweed or lupine. While photographing brown bears in a meadow along the Katmai coast (bears that were so busy feeding that they rarely looked up), I could not resist photographing the many sparrows that would fly from flower top to flower top. The comfortable range the birds seems to be about the equivalent of a 1000mm lens, but on occasion, one would land closer, or allow a closer approach.
Savannah sparrow perches on the wildflower blossom of a lupine in a lush summer feild of vegetation in Katmai National Park, Alaska Peninsula. Canon 5D Mark III, 500mm f/4L IS w/1.4x, 1/320 sec. @ f/5.6, ISO 320
Sleeping polar bear received the most votes for the cover. Taken with Canon 1D Mark IV, 500mm f/4L IS w/1.4x converter. Horizontal cropped for vertical layout.
A big thank you to all who have contributed your thoughts on which picture I should use on the cover of my 2014 Profiles in Nature Calendar. I have capitulated extensively in the process, but in the end have chosen the sleeping polar bear. The Muskox was a personal favorite, but I think it has less universal appeal, as some people don’t know what the animal is. Secondly, polar bears are both popular and certainly in the news due to climate change. I also like the simplicity and negative space of the image, and the symmetry is inviting. It was a close call all the way around, and I’ve decided to include most all of the cover options as inside images in the calendar itself.
For those interested, here is the tally of votes from a variety of sources.
- 15 votes: Sleeping Polar Bear
- 12 votes: Muskox
- 8 votes: Dall Sheep
- 7 votes: Hugging Polar Bears
- 6 votes: Polar Bear and Falling Snow
- 2 votes: Moose and Denali
Thanks to all of you who responded last year in my calendar cover selection process. It is that time again, and I’ve thrown together a few mock ups for a possible cover for my 2014 Alaska Profiles in Nature Calendar. The design will see some tweaks for sure, but what I’m looking for is the main image for the cover. When looking at this consider the attraction value, Alaska representation, and buying crowd.
Your comments are greatly welcome. Here are the ones I’m considering.
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