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Bear

Big, bad Grizzly Bear

I don’t know why but today I am obsessing over these massive creatures and my desire to photograph more of them. Harkening back to June of 2016 along the Trans-Canada Highway east of Banff National Park.

We happened across this beast not far off the road and needless to say, I hit the brakes hard and pulled over. It was only in view for a few moments but the encounter yielded my best pics of a Grizzly to date.

While I have photographed a few others, mainly in Yellowstone and the Tetons, those encounters suffered from issues with bad lighting to long distances to obscured views. Some day I hope have “that encounter” that will at least partially satisfy my photo dreams.

Perhaps next year if we are able to head to Alaska like we are planning.

Naturalist George Ord gave the Grizzly its classification, ursus arctos horribilis, due to its intimidating character. Lewis and Clark studied and wrote extensively about grizzlies including relaying one story in their journals of an encounter during which Lewis was actually chased by one. Not an enviable position to be in for sure!

A Grizzly Bear looks for a meal along the Trans-Canada Highway in Alberta. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Grizzly Bear looks for a meal along the Trans-Canada Highway in Alberta. (© Tony’s Takes)

Black Bear sow enjoys a soak in the South Platte River

Black Bear sow enjoys a soak in the South Platte River. Harkening back to August 2015 for these pictures. A late spring freeze damaged much of the berries at higher altitude that bears depend on for food.

As the summer began to wind down, they were forced to move to lower altitudes to find nourishment and in doing so, put themselves in areas where humans frequent. This did result in some conflicts, primarily due to stupid people getting far too close to the bruins.

However, for responsible wildlife watchers, it was a great opportunity. This particular sow and her two cubs spent time over a couple of days eating along the banks of the river. When the summer heat got to be a bit too much, they would hop in the water and take a break, as she was doing for these shots.

A Black Bear enjoys a refreshing bath in the South Platte River on a hot summer day. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Black Bear enjoys a refreshing bath in the South Platte River on a hot summer day. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Black Bear enjoys a refreshing bath in the South Platte River on a hot summer day. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Black Bear enjoys a refreshing bath in the South Platte River on a hot summer day. (© Tony’s Takes)

“Mom! Do you really need to watch me do this?”

Absolutely a poor quality picture but one that makes me smile. Taken this past June during our visit to Grand Teton National Park. I was out for an early morning drive while the rest of my crew slept in and I came across this Grizzly Bear sow and her not-so-young cub. The pair was grazing in an open meadow when the young one decided it need to ‘go.’ It was heavily overcast and the sun had just come up so light was minimal and not great for photography but it was fun to see.

A Grizzly Bear sow and her cub in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Grizzly Bear sow and her cub in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. (© Tony’s Takes)

Black Bear enjoying a morning snack

One of the bears we saw during our early summer trip to Yellowstone National Park. This one was grazing not 20 yards off the road, largely ignoring us and a couple other folks that had come along and were watching us.

Ursus americanus is by far the most common bear in North America with a wide range and populations in most wooded and higher elevation areas of the continent. While not as big as some of their cousins, they can be 5 to 6 feet in length and weigh from 200 to 600 pounds. This particular one was probably right about in the middle of those ranges.

An American Black Bear grazes in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.  (© Tony’s Takes)

An American Black Bear grazes in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. (© Tony’s Takes)

Young Grizzly Bear answers an age old question

We have all heard the phrase, “Does a bear – well, you know – in the woods?” This image taken a few weeks ago when we were in Grand Teton National Park would seem to answer it. 😉

I tried hard to find Grizzly Bears while on my trip but this was the only encounter I had. Out early one morning, I spot this young bear and its mother as they wandered through a small meadow.

It was very early and heavily overcast so the light was horrible. As a result, the pictures are not the best but just getting to see these intimidating creatures is a treat.

A young Grizzly Bear and its mother in Grand Teton National Park.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A young Grizzly Bear and its mother in Grand Teton National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

Big mama Grizzly Bear out for a morning walk

I tried hard to find Grizzly Bears while on my trip to Yellowstone and the Tetons but this was the only encounter I had.

Out early one morning, I spot a sow and her two year old offspring as they wandered through a small meadow. Unfortunately, not long after I arrived, so too did some rather noisy tourists and the bears opted to head off immediately.

It was very early and heavily overcast so the light was horrible and as a result, the pictures are not the best. Nevertheless, seeing one of these massive creatures is always a thrill and something I cherish.

Taken in the Pacific Creek area of Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

A Grizzly Bear sow emerges from the bushes in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Grizzly Bear sow emerges from the bushes in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. (© Tony’s Takes)

Black Bear on a stroll through the spring grass

I have been quite fortunate on my few visits to Yellowstone National Park in having seen multiple Black Bears on each trip. Oftentimes the view is fleeting though and pictures less than stellar. Last Sunday however the stars aligned and I was able to get some great pictures of this Ursus Americanus.

While the morning had yielded many worthwhile photo subjects, none were a bear and I was getting discouraged and frustrated. As we worked our way toward the Tower-Roosevelt area, I was however hopeful as in the past we had good luck there. Sure enough, we round a corner to see a hulking, black form among the tall grass not far from the road.

Having a feel for the direction it was heading and wanting to give it a wide berth and not disturb it, we went past it a good way and pulled over. I didn’t have a good view of the bear initially but I knew the angle I wanted and was hoping it would continue on the path I anticipated. I crouched down, pointed my camera and then waited.

Sure enough, here it came, emerging from the tall grass, walking along and occasionally grabbing a mouthful of foliage for a morning snack. I got a number of good captures of it but this is by far my favorite. I love the low, head-on perspective and the eyes of the bear really look great.

Image available for purchase here.

An American Black Bear walks through the grass in the Tower-Roosevelt area of Yellowstone National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

An American Black Bear walks through the grass in the Tower-Roosevelt area of Yellowstone National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

 

Black Bear casts a wary eye

This beautiful bear was quite comfortable with my son and I as we photographed it grazing in Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada back in June. That isn’t to say though that it wasn’t wary and cautious of us despite us keeping a very healthy distance from it. In fact it was abundantly clear that while it was tolerating our presence, it was also keeping close watch on us.

Here, it was moving from one grazing location to another and cast a deliberate glance right at us as if to say, “Yes, I know you are there.”

Common across many parts of North America, Black Bears can be up to 6 feet long and weigh up to 600 pounds. While they typically eat grasses, roots and berries, they have adapted to human presence and are known for taking advantage of trash and other sources left behind by humans.

A Black Bear keeps close watch as it crosses the road in Jasper National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Black Bear keeps close watch as it crosses the road in Jasper National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

Cinnamon-faced Black Bear stays focused

Seeing one bear makes for a great day of wildlife viewing. Seeing three in a span of five miles and one hour makes for an awesome day. Such was the case on this day in June in the northern Rocky Mountains of Jasper National Park.

After spending a half hour watching one bear, we moved on and came across this one a couple of miles away. It was a bit unusual looking with its cinnamon colored face but quite handsome. This image, captured as it was taking a step forward, also showcases its impressive claws.

The bear largely ignored us and a few other people that were nearby but did keep focused on the humans as you can see by the look in its eyes.

A Black Bear takes a step forward in Jasper National Park, Canada. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Black Bear takes a step forward in Jasper National Park, Canada. (© Tony’s Takes)

The lumbering king of the forest

To say a Grizzly Bear is intimidating is probably a bit of an understatement. Adult males can weigh between 600 and 900 pounds and can be as tall as 4 feet at the shoulder. They are massive creatures and at the top of the food chain without question.

Naturalist George Ord gave the bear its classification, ursus arctos horribilis, due to its intimidating character. Lewis and Clark studied and wrote extensively about grizzlies including relaying one story in their journals of an encounter during which Lewis was actually chased by one. Not an enviable position to be in for sure!

This particular bear was one I saw in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada last month.

A Grizzly Bear proudly walks through a meadow in Banff National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Grizzly Bear proudly walks through a meadow in Banff National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)