Natural Art: The Photography of Brad Hill

 
The Eyes of a Spirit

Availability: RM Stock (??)


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In the Field

The Eyes of a Spirit. Great Bear Rainforest (northern BC coast), Canada. October 11, 2007.

I rarely say this about my own photography - but I love this shot! I'm not sure if it's the eyes or the chin resting on the branch or a little of both...but it works for me.

Catching an animal's eyes correctly can make or break a wildlife photo. This means ensuring they're in sharp focus (I often position my camera's focus brackets on one of their eyes) and, whenever possible, catching reflections in their eyes (commonly known as "catch lights"). The contrast between the light coat colour of Spirit Bears and the darkness of their eyes make them particularly appealing (and critical to your photograph). If you ever get the chance to photograph these rare bears, remember how important those eyes are!

NOTE: This image was captured in a region of British Columbia known as "The Great Bear Rainforest". I offer both instructional photo tours and "photo op only" photo tours into the Great Bear Rainforest each spring and autumn. If you're interested in more information about one of these tours, details are available on the Photo Tours page of this website!

Behind the Camera

The Eyes of a Spirit. Great Bear Rainforest (northern BC coast), Canada. October 11, 2007.

Digital Capture; Uncompressed RAW (NEF) format; ISO 250.

Nikon D2X with Nikon 200-400 mm f/4G ED-IF AF-S VR lens @ 310 mm (465 mm equivalent with digital conversion factor) supported on Gitzo 1348 carbon fibre tripod with Wimberley head - all on deck of moving sailboat. VR turned to "On" and in "Normal" mode. AquaTech SportShield (rain cover) used to protect camera and lens.

1/250s @ f4; -0.33 stop compensation from matrix-metered exposure setting.

At the Computer

The Eyes of a Spirit. Great Bear Rainforest (northern BC coast), Canada. October 11, 2007.

RAW Conversion to 16 bit TIFF, including first-pass sharpening and exposure compensation 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 Eyes of a Spirit. Great Bear Rainforest (northern BC coast), Canada. October 11, 2007.

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

The "Spirit" or "Kermode" Bear is a rare genetically-based colour variant of the common Black Bear (Ursus americana). It has been estimated that less than 200 Spirit Bears exist today. Because the Black Bear is not considered under threat as a species, the Spirit Bear suffers from having the same conservation designation (it should be acknowledged that in British Columbia - the jurisdiction of greatest Spirit Bear abundance - hunting of these white-coated bears is not permitted). For reasons that are not fully understood, the Spirit Bear occurs with greater frequency in a relatively small geographic area within The Great Bear Rainforest of the central and northern coast of British Columbia. In this area 10 to 30% of the bears possess white coats. Unfortunately, this globally unique habitat is under development pressure, especially from the forestry industry. If this unique environment is altered, we may lose the wonderful genetic anomaly known as the Spirit Bear.

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.