Natural Art: The Photography of Brad Hill

The Hangout

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In the Field

The Hangout. Great Bear Rainforest, BC, Canada. October 6, 2013.

For me the Great Bear Rainforest on the central and northern coast of British Columbia is a veritable treasure trove of eye candy - the bears are GREAT, but there is so, so much more to the Great Bear than "just" bears! And, in the same vein, if you go to the Great Bear Rainforest looking for (and thus seeing) only bears, you"re not likely to be disappointed. But, you may miss SEEING a lot of other very beautiful scenes - and you may miss out on capturing a lot of very memorable images.

This is one of my favorite shots from my Great Bear Instructional Photo Tour in 2013. I just love how the gulls are so obviously relaxed and just "hanging out". I also like how the shot covers almost every pose and posture a standing gull can exhibit. And, of course, I don"t really mind the strong contrast in the image (and the reflections aren"t half bad either). And, there's nary a bear in the shot!

The take home lesson? Just this: regardless of the NAME of the photo tour you"re on, or regardless of the particular "target" species you have for any particular outing, keep yourself open and receptive to (and able to SEE) ANY visually or aesthetically scene you"re presented with! Focus (your's!) and attention is good, but you won't regret keeping yourself open to "opportunity recognition" - and you'll likely come back from ANY outing with a wider variety of interesting images.'s a 2400 pixel version of this shot for your perusal:

The Hangout: Download 2400 pixel image (JPEG: 1.3 MB)

NOTE 1: This image - in all resolutions - is protected by copyright. I'm fine with personal uses of it (including use as desktop backgrounds or screensavers on your own computer), but unauthorized commercial use of the image is prohibited by law. Thanks in advance for respecting my copyright!

NOTE 2: This image was captured during my "Into the Great Bear Rainforest"" instructional photo tour in the autumn of 2013. Each year I offer trips into two different parts of the Great Bear Rainforest as well as one to photograph aquatic mammals and oceanscapes near the northern tip of Vancouver Island. And, in selected years, I also offer photo tours to locations to capture other highly sought-after subjects, such as various boreal owl species and wildlife of Canada's Arctic. Details about these trips can be found on the Photo Tours page of this website.

Behind the Camera

The Hangout. Great Bear Rainforest, BC, Canada. October 6, 2013.

Digital Capture; Compressed RAW (NEF) 14-bit format; ISO 640.

Nikon D4 paired with Nikkor 400mm f2.8 VR lens. Hand-held from floating Zodiac. VR on and in normal mode.

1/400s @ f7.1; -1 stop exposure compensation from matrix-metered exposure setting.

At the Computer

The Hangout. Great Bear Rainforest, BC, Canada. October 6, 2013.

RAW Conversion to 16-bit TIFF, including first-pass/capture sharpening using Capture One Pro version 7. Three raw variants (different versions of a single raw capture) differing by a total of 1 stop in total exposure.

Further digital corrections on resulting 16-bit TIFF files using Adobe's Photoshop CC and Light Craft's LightZone. Photoshop adjustments included compositing (blending) of the three exposure variants, minor selective colour saturation, and sharpening for web output. Final tone tweaking performed using tonemapper/re-light tool in LightZone.


The Hangout. Great Bear Rainforest, BC, Canada. October 6, 2013.

Ten percent of the revenue generated by this image will be donated to Raincoast*.

Species Status in Canada**: Not currently listed as Threatened or Endangered.

The Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) is a medium-large gull that has been divided into 9 sub-species, of which only one breeds in North America. Herring Gulls were nearly extirpated by hunters and eggers in the 19th century, but owing to legal protection that species has now recovered.

While Herring Gulls are not at risk themselves, the region this image was shot in is, at the time of this writing (November 5, 2013), facing a new and potentially catastrophic threat. There is a proposal to bring oil super-tankers through the narrow and treacherous channels of the Great Bear Rainforest. Any mishap - such as the one that sunk the Queen of the North ferry on March 22, 2006 - could result in an oilspill with disasterous consequences.

*The Raincoast Conservation Society (and Foundation) is an effective and efficient organization that has been fighting for protection of this unique habitat. If you are looking for a meaningful way to contribute to the conservation of this amazing ecosystem, Raincoast will provide maximal "bang" for your conservation dollars.

**as determined by COSEWIC: The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada