Grizzlies in the Mist

Image: Female Grizzly Bear, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 200 mm, f/8.0, 1/800 sec, ISO 640, hand-held.

The first morning we woke up at Lake Clark National Park, we were blanketed in a thick fog. We were allowed to head out at 6am to start photographing and the haze did not deter us. We set off in ATV’s looking for grizzlies and at one point we stopped in the meadows to capture a few images of our lodging for the week: Alaska Homestead Lodge. The owners were currently remodeling the lodge and replacing the bright white siding with an earthy brown.

Image: Alaska Homestead Lodge, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 200 mm, f/11, 1/640 sec, ISO 1250, hand-held.

Initially, it was difficult to get clear images of the bears because of the thick mist, so we had to get a little closer and focus in tight on the bears. The grasses were beautiful, tall and colorful despite the lack of rain so they added great variety to the landscape.

Image: Female Grizzly Bear, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 380 mm, f/7.1, 1/800 sec, ISO 1600, hand-held.

When we zoomed in even closer, we were able to capture clear portrait-style images of the grizzlies having their morning meal. They seemed happy with the ample grasses around and didn’t care that we were photographing them from 20-30 ft away.

Image: Female Grizzly Bear, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 420 mm, f/5.6, 1/1000 sec, ISO 1600, hand-held.

As a nice reminder not to get too close, I spied some sharp teeth in her mouth as she chowed down mouthful after mouthful of luscious grass.

Image: Female Grizzly Bear, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 420 mm, f/5.6, 1/1000 sec, ISO 1600, hand-held.

Although she didn’t care about the 10 photographers in front of her with large lenses and tripods, she perked up when she suspected a male grizzly off to the side.

Image: Female Grizzly Bear, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 320 mm, f/5.6, 1/1000 sec, ISO 1600, hand-held.

She soon left the area and we went in search for other grizzlies and came across one crossing the stream. She paused for a quick dip in the water, giving us a second to take a shot.

Image: Female Grizzly Bear, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 240 mm, f/8.0, 1/800 sec, ISO 640, hand-held.

Soon she climbed out of the stream, grabbing a mouthful of grass on the way. She continued to eat on that side of the stream for another 10 minutes, looking up and listening for any male grizzlies off in the distance.

Image: Female Grizzly Bear, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 410 mm, f/8.0, 1/800 sec, ISO 640, hand-held.

Then she crossed back to the original side of the stream, continuing to eat along the way. Although I enjoyed the ominous atmosphere created by the mist in a color image, I decided to convert one image to black and white since I could contrast the dark bear against the light water.

Image: Female Grizzly Bear, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 270 mm, f/8.0, 1/640 sec, ISO 500, hand-held.

We broke for lunch and hoped the mist would lift for our afternoon and evening sessions. We were not disappointed. Stay tuned for more! You can view these images individually and more not posted here in my portfolio located here.

Please also check out my new business for pain relief, the PABR Institute, at www.pabrinstitute.com, and subscribe to my email articles to get tips here to help you find relief in your body.

Author: Dr. Amy Novotny

Amy Novotny is a physical therapist, marathon/ultra runner and nature photographer. She treats patients for a variety of conditions but specializes in chronic pain and calming an overactive nervous system using special diaphragmatic breathing. She has used this technique to help her qualify and run in four Boston marathons! She enjoys the outdoors and can often be found running and hiking on trails in throughout Arizona. She attempts to capture the beauty of nature with her photography both locally in Arizona and also throughout the United States. She is becoming more interested in wildlife photography and attempting to capture the emotion of animal interactions. In her spare time, Amy volunteers as a photo guide for the Arizona Highways PhotoScapes nonprofit and shares her joy of nature with others. Please feel free to contact her regarding her photography, physical therapy or running.

10 thoughts on “Grizzlies in the Mist”

  1. Gosh Amy they are huge….wonderful photos, breathtaking…and I do like the fog, it gives it a mystery to it…I would not ever want to take a stroll and have one pop up in the grass…holy moly____

    Liked by 1 person

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