How to Take Safe Photos of Bears

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When it comes to photographing wildlife, the types of animals you’ll come across will depend on whereabouts in the world you make your home. If you’re ever up in Alaska or parts of Canada such as the Rockies, one of the most amazing animals you may want to capture on camera is the grizzly bear. There are numerous areas where grizzlies like to roam free and seek out their dinners.

Of course, while these creatures may look cute and cuddly, they can be very dangerous and attacks are often fatal. Remember, if you encounter one you shouldn’t run or stare directly into its eyes.

How to Take Safe Photos of Bears

In fact, the best place to take shots of these bears is often on guided tours or even in a zoo.

However, if you’ve got your camera gearwith you while on a hiking or camping trip you won’t have these options.

If you’re out in the wilderness it’s a great idea to make sure you have bear spray with you as it’s believed to be about 95% effective when it comes to warding off bears.

However, you need to be quite close to the bear for it to work.

Another item to take with you is called a bear banger. These devices can produce a very loud noise which often scares the bear away.

Even though the bears may not appear to be aggressive, you still have to keep a safe distance. Takingphotos from the safety of your car is a good idea if you happen to spot one from the road.

You can also take some good shots if you happen to be out in a boat and see a bear along the shoreline.

You’ll often see them at the Great Bear Rainforest in the Canadian province of British Columbia while you’re canoeing or kayaking.

As long as there’s enough food to share, the bears usually don’t mind other bears or people being in the area. The grizzlies like to fish for spawning salmon in rivers and streams in September and this is an amazing sight if you can capture it.

The two most important aspects of wildlife photography are timing and location. You’ll also need the right camera equipment.

A long lens is recommended so you can shoot from a safe distance. The minimum you should use is a 70 mm to 200 mm lens, but a 300 mm to 600 mm is a better choice. If you’d like to magnify your shots then a teleconverter is a good idea. You should keep the lens open to the widest aperture (the lowest number such as f/2.8). You need a fast shutter speed and focus, so filters aren’t a good choice.

In low light, you should increase the ISO speed and aim for a shutter speed of about 1\500th of a second or even faster. Try to focus on the eyes of the animal and look for interesting behavior. The fast shutter speed will freeze the action and help eliminate camera shake. Make sure you don’t feed the bears and above all, never put your own life or that of an animal in danger when trying to take photos of bears and other wildlife.

Posted in: Digital Photography Tips and Tricks

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