1200lbs Teddy Bear!

Kodiak Brown Bear captured by Z 9 / Z400f2.8

Every afternoon for four days, we found this female doing what these bears do best, nothing! Biologically speaking, if you wanna put on a ton of fat (ok, half ton) you eat a lot and then do nothin. This female has this down pat! An eight or nine old female, she is most likely pregnant and will give birth in the den over winter. You don’t get this old nor this size being a light weight, she has earned the respect of other bears by being a heavy hitter. She walks with an attitude and with a glance clears out the other bears from where she wants to feed. But with us, well, this is as much attitude we would receive from her. Floating by, I was leaning back as far as I could to get the framing you see with the 400mm. As the current took us down the river, she got bigger and bigger in the frame until I could no longer focus on her. We were just an arm’s length away when we passed her by which time she was board with us and had put her head down and closed her eyes. A prime example of a 1200lbs teddy bear!

“I Can’t Believe I Ate the Whole Thing!”

Kodiak Brown Bear captured by Z 9 / Z400f2.8

Having spent a couple of hours on the river fishing myself this day, I can understand how it tuckers ya out. But I didn’t eat anything I caught (at least not right then) like these Bears do who at times, seem to inhale them. It’s late September and it’s time to put on as much easy fat as they can. They eat and eat and then to make sure it turns into fat for the winter, they go to sleep. Some go up in the hills into a nice day den and others flop where they are on the wet beach. We were literally floating down near sunset last night shootin from the boat handheld, watching the action when we spotted this individual. We watched this bear pulllllll itself up this small rise overlooking the river, its eyes roll back in its head and then, flop over the outcrop! Out cold! The whole scene unfolding as if to say, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!

Back in the Neighborhood!

3yr old Kodiak Brown cub captured by Z 9 / Z400f2.8

With amazing skill and total calm, Willy got us flown into bear camp just in time as the wind cam back up so we just had to hunker down by the fire and eat killer lodge food. Oh darn! With the breaking of the day, after another killer hot breakie we headed up the river to find out old friends from May, a little denser coat and a whole lot fatter! The salmon run is going and they are cleaning up, literally! The family group started off with us where we left off in May so there was no time wasting, great photography as soon as our feet it the water.

It was soooo entertaining watching the kid imitate mom chasing the salmon up and down the shallows. Mom (12-13yr old) slowly strolled the shallows picking the best salmon to eat as she went. The three “panic attacks” have yet to master mom’s skills. Which is fine to us as it makes capturing them splashing shots like shooting fish in a barrel (get it?!)! It’s going to be a mighty fine week, always special to be back in the neighborhood!!!!

The Season of The Big Game

American Bison captured by Z 9 / Z400f4.5

It was really apparent a couple of days ago like someone hit the switch. The hard edge to the light disappeared. Fall migrants started to pile into the feeders. White-tail bucks showed up with their velvet rubbed off and antlers polished. Fall has come to The Rockies! The deer’s pelts show their winter coats coming in (not super thick so a mild winter?) and the need to put on fat reserves kicking in. Fall is when big game which definitely includes Bison look their best for their portraits. I think we owe it to them to show up and tell their story. Now is a good time to see where you want to get to with your camera to make those photos. Higher elevations like Yellowstone Nat’l Park you want to get to sooner rather than later as fall comes sooner at the higher elevations. Locations like the Nat’l Bison Ranger you might want to wait perhaps another month as it is lower in elevation. And The Blackhills might be somewhere in between for a photographic adventure. If you’re thinking Maine Moose, that could be another forty days or so. And if you’re thinking Alaska, best jump on a plane now! Frost is on its way, the light its gorgeous fall glow. It is the season of the big game!

Now’s the Time To Watch!

White-tailed Deer buck captured by Z 9 / 180-400VR2

In the last day or so the White-tails does here at The Ranch have been a little bit on edge. I’ve seen a couple of the bucks, their racks just starting to burst their velvet sheath milling about. While it’s not there yet, love is in the air, in the near future. It’s a great time to be out with your bins and watch what the ungulates are doing as they size up their opportunities. They look at the opposite sex, they look over the terrain, possible predators, everything as they get ready for the fall rut. Watching this can put you in the right place at the right time for that click you’re looking for. Take some notes on times of day they show up to “that spot” and how they enter and exit it. Watch the light and shadows, the comings and goings of any other folks. What the deer while they are there. Do they browse, bed down, chew cud, just how do they spend their time. With the slow change in light comes the change of weather telling us now’s the time to watch!

They’re Back!

Evening Grosbeak captured by Z 8 / Z600f4

A little bit faded and worst for the wear, our giant flock of Evening Grosbeaks have returned from their nesting grounds to the north. It’s another sign that fall is just around the corner for us (which I’m just not ready for). Their early return kinda took us by surprise being run out of seed almost instantly causing us to make a run to the feed store. Probably more important to them has been the water feature where they spend a lot of their time with the heat wave going through. As I write this, there is about thirty just in the platform at the office window watching us, they are everywhere. So finding a “nice” place to photograph them that’s not “end of the summer green” has been made easier with there being so many. It’s so nice to hear them, they’re back!

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