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Before the Blindside

Two yearling brown bear cubs play in the tall grass after a long winter's nap in the Lake Clark region of Alaska.

Two yearling brown bear cubs play in the tall grass after a long winter's nap in the Lake Clark region of Alaska.
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Winner in Bear Necessity! Your Best Shot of Wild Bears Photo Challenge
Contest Finalist in Cuteness Overload Photo Contest
Superb Composition
Top Choice
Absolute Masterpiece
sterretje larryollivier Steve_Thomas gallmese jimgarrison sharlenescarboroughdodds DianeMintle +87
Peer Award
andreasebastianofloriani pointboys chiphendershot grandpa_Vlad sharonhearn Mandarinetto1965 LeeVarland +70
Magnificent Capture
Dave324 jlappen markcote maryhale9534 TDMartin martehusdalren gatorbait38 +27
All Star
MadisonWPics laurieleigh_0232 LucyCMorr Ledopix KD8AJC lindakufnergrubisic mahamilton +20
Outstanding Creativity
xavierromeo collingill2017 mle555 TianaTiana srfarris _anirudh_iyer_ Blackprince +10
Superior Skill
bkelly7k Albert-Serra-Photography brandydement Dinosawrrr Mysweets AvidPhotographer cynthialesley +5
mcampi Sheri_Stanley
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Submitted to Photo Contests

Top ClassTM

Alaska The Wild Photo ContestTop 10 class
Alaska The Wild Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Bears Photo ContestTop 10 class
Bears Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Cute Baby Animals Photo ContestTop 10 class
Cute Baby Animals Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
The Animal Eye Photo Contest vol1Top 30 class
The Animal Eye Photo Contest vol1Top 20 class week 1
Wildlife Babies Photo ContestTop 10 class
Wildlife Babies Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
All About Bears Photo ContestTop 10 class
All About Bears Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Two Of The Same Photo ContestTop 10 class
Two Of The Same Photo ContestTop 10 class week 2
Two Of The Same Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Cuteness Overload Photo ContestTop 10 class
Cuteness Overload Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Two Is Better Than One Photo ContestTop 10 class
Two Is Better Than One Photo ContestTop 10 class week 3
Two Is Better Than One Photo ContestTop 20 class week 2
Two Is Better Than One Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1


36 Comments | Report
Irma53 November 26, 2014
Your pictures of the bears are outstanding!
sdondero PRO+
sdondero November 26, 2014
Thank you! I could have photographed cubs all day!
AlanJakarta PRO+
AlanJakarta January 19, 2015
Lovely shot. Congratulations on being Featured.
tranini PRO
tranini January 19, 2015
awesome and adorable!!! congrats on the featured!
sxsvexen PRO
sxsvexen January 19, 2015
What a beautiful capture! Congrats!
chuckrickman Premium
chuckrickman January 19, 2015
Simply adorable. Congrats on being featured.
PattyTuggle PRO+
PattyTuggle January 19, 2015
Absolutely beautiful and sweet.
catini January 19, 2015
Cute, congrats on your feature!
johnprice_3338 January 19, 2015
Join the conversation. Add a comment or even better, a critique. Let's get better together!
caveman January 19, 2015
barbarabrock PRO+
barbarabrock January 19, 2015
You captured such a sweet expression. Great shot.
iceman2 January 19, 2015
Beautiful capture.Congrats!
ctbugan PRO
ctbugan January 19, 2015
Awesome capture!
sandhipjawahar January 19, 2015
lovely photograph!
sweetpea72 PRO
sweetpea72 January 19, 2015
amazing shot, Congrats! ")
tmlakshmi PRO+
tmlakshmi January 19, 2015
congrats. awesome. How cute they are
Capture-Life January 19, 2015
SO stinkin' CUTE!!! :):) Congrats!!!
SusiStroud PRO+
SusiStroud January 19, 2015
Amazing, beautiful shot!!! Congratulations on your Feature.
akhtarkhan January 19, 2015
So cute looking, beautifully compose, wonderful capture. Congrats on the feature.
Bonnie_D PRO
Bonnie_D January 19, 2015
This is so adorable, wonderful capture
wheelerdealer PRO+
wheelerdealer January 19, 2015
Congrats on the feature and oh my word, too adorable. I'd be worried where Mama is tho
gondmagdi Premium
gondmagdi January 19, 2015
Congratulations !
AmrutaMachetty January 19, 2015
HelenRea PRO+
HelenRea January 20, 2015
Just simply superb...can't buy a look like that! :)))
timmc January 20, 2015
Wonderful image. Congratulations on being featured. Tim
satishv January 20, 2015
Wonderful capture
OutOfTheWild February 26, 2015
Beautiful heartwarming picture :) Congrats
kanizkhan April 28, 2015
The story, the focus, the composition, the colour, the emotions - all came out so beautifully. We can see it whole day. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful shot. It is just brilliant.
mcline22 May 17, 2015
I love this picture! They look like such a fun subject to take photos of.
MarloesDeneeMcNeil July 15, 2015
Aw just too cute - great photograph!
LindaMello PRO
LindaMello July 26, 2015
It doesn't get much cuter than this. Amazing shot.
sharlenescarboroughdodds September 18, 2015
this is an outstanding photo Adorable Cups Awesome Capture
nandicmb December 10, 2015
Congratulations on both your Awards!
darrellgillenwater PRO+
darrellgillenwater December 28, 2015
Cute shot
Pamelabole PRO+
Pamelabole December 30, 2016
Aww adorable!!! Wonderful capture!! : )
bkelly7k PRO+
bkelly7k June 01, 2017
Thank you for sharing all the bear shot!! Must admit I'm a bit jealous, I hope to one day get into one of the wilderness areas for wildlife shot!!
Tripod_Travelers March 14, 2018
Congrats on winning our "Bear Necessity" Photo Challenge. Well deserved!

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Behind The Lens

This was taken in the Lake Clark region of Alaska in June of 2014.
We were out on a morning foot safari when we came across these two cubs--and their big mama--enjoying a gorgeous, rain-free start to their day.
As anyone who has been to Alaska around the summer solstice knows, there is light nearly all day long. In the morning and evening, however, the sun stays very low in the sky and creates gorgeous "magic hour" lighting that just seems to never end. It is truly a thrill to photograph.
This shot was taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III, a Canon L-series EF 200-400mm (with 1.4X built-in extender) lens, and a Manfrotto tripod with a Gimbal mount.
I could honestly photograph bear cubs all day. They're of course incredibly cute, but it's even more entertaining to watch them play. This photo was taken a second before the blond cub slapped it's unsuspecting sibling across the snout, then tackled it into the grass. I've always enjoyed this photo as that moment of peace, just before the storm.
While I applied my typical basic RAW processing in Lightroom (exposure, contrast, noise reduction, etc.), I also did some color balance work. Green grass in warm sunlight always creates a challenge for white balance, so I did my best to make the image match my memory of the scene.
In my camera bag
As a Canon shooter, I typically run with the following: Two 5D MKIII bodies, an assortment of lenses (16-35mm f/4 L, 24-70mm f/2.8 L II, 70-200mm f/2.8mm L II, 100mm f/2.8 L, 135mm f/2 L, 200-400mm f/4 w/ 1.4X built-in extender), Manfrotto tripods, a variety of filters (ND, Graduated ND, Polarizers), tele-extenders (1.4X & 2X), Canon SpeedLights, and PocketWizard remote triggers.
Photographing bears is extremely exhilarating and rewarding, but can also be really dangerous. Safety should always be at the forefront, as should respect for the bears themselves. In the spring, it is crucial not to disturb them in order for them to conserve their energy and focus on fattening back up after their long winter's nap. That said, long lenses are a key component to keeping a safe, respectful distance. A good tripod will then always be crucial, and I've found gimbal heads to work the best for big, heavy glass. As with any subject shot from a distance, during the hot hours of the day, you need to keep an eye out for distortion caused by heat rising from the ground. So, stay safe, shoot straight, and strive to capture those critical moments that will add intrigue to your images.

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