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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Gallery Eighty-six: An American safari -- wildlife photography in southeast Alaska’s wilderness > High tension, Cannery Cove, Pybus Bay, Alaska, 2013
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High tension, Cannery Cove, Pybus Bay, Alaska, 2013

High tension, Cannery Cove, Pybus Bay, Alaska, 2013

Only three minutes after I made the previous image, this same brown bear moved forward to the very edge of the water, only a few yards away from our small boat. We could come no further to make a picture – the bottom of our outboard skiff was virtually resting on the bottom. The bear shows us its teeth, its stare intense. I was able to catch the essence of the moment here. This was the closest I have ever been to a brown bear in the wild. My guide was confident that it would come no closer, but added that the bear was “staring us down” and it would be “preferable” for us to leave. We did.

Panasonic LUMIX G5
1/400s f/5.6 at 175.0mm iso400 full exif

other sizes: small medium large original
Phil Douglis19-Aug-2013 03:12
Good to hear from you, Alina, and glad you appreciate the emotional impact of this photograph. It is one thing to photograph a brown bear at close range, but quite another to go beyond a likeness and capture an emotional response such as this one. As for safety matters, I try to be as careful as possible in such situations. My guide assured me that this bear was not threatened by us, only asserting his territorial imperative. The guide knew exactly when to slowly back away, and we did.
Alina18-Aug-2013 21:22
Fantastic shot and scary moment too. I'm glad that you kept a safe distance
Phil Douglis08-Jul-2013 18:42
Thanks, Stephanie -- and glad you enjoy this image as much as I enjoyed making it. As for the risks involved in this kind of photography, I am sure they are minimal. There have been very few reports, if any, of bears assaulting tourists sitting just off shore in a boat.
Stephanie08-Jul-2013 10:08
Amazing capture of this beautiful bear! Good thing you made it out alive! :) V
Phil Douglis07-Jul-2013 21:20
Thanks Rose and Anitta. It was thrilling and also a bit frightening. I had a similar feeling when I photographed a tiger in the wilds of India back in 1990. (See That one was made from the back of an elephant, while this one was made from a small boat just off shore. The adrenalin rush that comes with making such pictures always overcomes the nagging fears that go along with them.
sunlightpix07-Jul-2013 20:46
What a thrilling experience!! Vote!
Anitta Vuorisola07-Jul-2013 08:45
What a great shot and timing, Phil! V
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