Critter Corner: Three bears and Georgeson Botanical Garden.

Alaska, Photography, Wildlife

Bears, what needs to be said? Large, viscous, cute, curious, smart, omnivorous, powerful and today, wooden. Bears in Denali National Park got a lot of attention this year, when a hiker photographing a grizzly was mauled to death last August. Remarkably, this was the first fatality in the Park’s 95-year history. Bears are incredibly fast, and the estimated “50 yards” between the bear and his victim leaves little room for evasive measures. Keep your distance.

Keeping distance wasn’t a problem during the Denali Park Lottery last September. This Alaskan lottery allows 400 vehicles a day to drive all the way into the park, a trip usually reserved for tour buses. Park Rangers are fast to converge on eager photographers, keeping them safe distances from wildlife.

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Bear gazing over riverbed.

A bear pauses while climbing a steep, rocky slope.

For some slightly different bear action, check out this statue of a bear at UAF’s Georgeson Botanical Garden, the northern-most botanical garden in North America. I hadn’t walked through in awhile, and found lots of lovely sculptures had been added. What originally caught my attention, though hard to see in the picture, was an ear of corn someone had placed in the bears paws, reminding me of the fall harvest.

Georgeson Botanical Garden Wooden Bear

Weekly photo challenge: Solitary

Alaska, Black & White, Film, Landscapes, Photography, Portraits, Travel, Weekly Photo Post

Solitary: being, living or going alone or without companions. The word instantly conjurs images of some distant wayfarer or contemplative individual. For this installment of the Weekly Photo Challenge, I will show you three of my interpretations of solitary, images I believe convey the mood through subject matter and compositional elements.

First: a very literal interpretation of solitary. In Denali National Park, a lone-grazing caribou is seen in vast tundra. I wont even begin to speculate on the distances, however it was shot with a 300MM telephoto lens on a Canon 7D. The importance of the 7D is the smaller APS-C sized sensor increases the 300MM lens to an effective focal length of 480MM! As focal length increases, the depth of a picture is flattened, making the relationships of everything seem closer.

In short, this caribou is very alone.

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Lone caribou in Denali National Park, Sept. 16, 2012

My second image is more metaphorically solitary. The model and her shadow are all the viewer has to dwell on. I think her gaze off the edge of the frame, often deemed poor composition because the viewer wonders what the subject is looking at, gives the feeling that there is nothing besides more wall, adding to the solitary feeling. Also helping is the edge of the 4×5 film, terminating any curiosity about what else there may be.

Crystal at Creamers Field

Finally a somber event that would leave anyone feeling solitary. A woman walks past a cutout to honor a victim of domestic violence. The plaque reads,

“Nancy Tegoseak, Age 40, April, 2004. Nancy was born in Tanana and the loving mother of five children. She was beaten to death by her boyfriend. She leaves behind three children.”