Natural Art: The Photography of Brad Hill

 
The Great Bear Rainforest

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In the Field

The Great Bear Rainforest. Great Bear Rainforest (northern BC coast), Canada. October 7, 2007.

There's a rainforest along the central and northern coast of British Columbia that's become known by many as "The Great Bear Rainforest." It's well-named. Lots of bears. Lots of rain. And, it's definitely GREAT! Over the past few years I've made several trips into this forest, mainly to photograph the bears and other inhabitants. But, I've never been able to capture the "quintessential" image of the forest that embodies the spirit of this misty and mystical place. Until now. This is my quintessential image of the Great Bear Rainforest.

The almost "painterly" look of this image is not a function of digital magic or manipulation. The look was produced the old-fashioned way - by the atmospheric conditions. In short, when I shot this image it was absolutely POURING rain. The bear is soaked, the stump was soaked, I was soaked, and the soft look of the background trees is produced by the falling rain (as well as by the aperture I chose to shoot this image with).

Alert - Digitally Manipulated Image: This image clearly crosses the line from simple digital correction to digital manipulation. When I photographed this scene, the bear - and there's no way to say this politely - was in the process of expelling a large tapeworm (about 10 to 15 feet long). I used Photoshop to remove the tapeworm from the scene (the bear probably wished I could have it removed it from her so easily!).

It is my policy to clearly identify ANY images on this website that overstep the bounds of digital correction and enter the territory of digital manipulation (see Voice: Commentary: Digital Correction vs. Digital Manipulation).

Behind the Camera

The Great Bear Rainforest. Great Bear Rainforest (northern BC coast), Canada. October 7, 2007.

Digital Capture; Uncompressed RAW (NEF) format; ISO 320.

Nikon D2Xs with Nikon 200mm f/2G ED-IF AF-S VR lens (300 mm equivalent with digital conversion factor) supported on Gitzo 1348 carbon fibre tripod with Wimberley head. VR turned to "On" and in "Normal" mode. AquaTech SportShield (rain cover) used to protect camera and lens.

1/80s @ f3.2; -0.33 stop compensation from matrix-metered exposure setting.

At the Computer

The Great Bear Rainforest. Great Bear Rainforest (northern BC coast), Canada. October 7, 2007.

RAW Conversion to 16-bit TIFF, including first-pass sharpening, using Phase One's C1 Pro.

Further digital correction on 16-bit TIFF file using Adobe's Photoshop CS3 and LightZone 3. Minor tonal adjustments performed in LightZone (using the ToneMapper/Relight tool). Photoshop adjustments included selective saturation enhancement and selective sharpening for web output.

Conservation

The Great Bear Rainforest. Great Bear Rainforest (northern BC coast), Canada. October 7, 2007.

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

Species Status in Canada*: Special Concern (May 2002).

While Grizzly Bears (Ursus arctos) are not technically listed as "Endangered" in Canada, they have been extirpated from most of their historical range. Grizzly Bears are far more sensitive to intrusion/disturbance in their habitat than are Black Bears and are being increasingly forced into marginal habitat by human encroachment. The Great Bear Rainforest along the central and northern coast of British Columbia is one of the last strongholds of the Grizzly Bear in Canada, and even this population is coming under increasing pressure.

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.

For more information on the status of Grizzly Bears in Canada, go to: http://www.speciesatrisk.gc.ca and search under "Grizzly Bears".

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