Photographing that special moment

grizzlyWhen you’re out and about with your camera and find a great subject like the grizzly bear pictured here, stick to it.

It’s easy to take one or two frames and then walk or drive away. Unfortunately chances are that you probably won’t get anything worth keeping and will be disappointed when you get hom

e and view the images on your computer. Hang around and shoot some more, what’s the hurry?

Yes, it’s true that not every photo opportunity will allow you to stick around and take plenty of pictures. Sometimes, it’s a safety issue for you or the subject and other times the animal will just simply leave. There are times however, when everything seems to come together and you can settle down behind your camera and fire away.

One such moment happened recently while I was travelling from Valemount, B.C. to the Alberta border. The grizzly bear pictured above was feeding amongst some wildflowers right next to the tree line. I was safely in my vehicle at a roadside pullout shooting out my window with my telephoto lens mounted on a beanbag for stability.

I had the time to wait until the bear actually paused for a moment and looked up in my direction. (This gives the viewer a feeling of connection to the animal.) I also waited until the bear walked into a more appealing background with more foreground wildflowers. (Habitat is key and contributes to the entire image.)

When you’re granted the opportunity to stick with a subject you have to take full advantage of that time. Be patient and watch for behaviour and movement. If you see something interesting just fire away and enjoy. You never really know what might happen at any moment and must assume that during those unexpected moments the magic will happen.

It’s important to be careful as to when and where you stop for roadside wildlife photography opportunities. Take into consideration your safety on the highway, the subject’s safety and resist the urge to contribute to any mass vehicle jams along highways and parkways. To know when to, and when not to, stop for a photograph takes experience. Read up on wildlife photography ethics and if you have to pass up on a photograph for the welfare of the animal than do so. Two great nature photography resources I can suggest are and

For the purpose of this column I cropped this grizzly bear image. To see the full photo check out my website.


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