Bears of the McNeil River

by Mark Hardgrave

This sow's coat was in the process of changing for winter.  She was about 600 to 800 lbs., a fairly large female bear.  I shot about 8 rolls of film on this bear in the course of about several minutes.  This shot was taken on our first day at McNeil.  The weather was great and the sun had just came out to allow me to swithc to some Fuji Velvia.  Velvia really saturates blues and reds.  When you are up close to these guys you get a sense and feel how big they are!  Nikon F4s, Nikkor 300 mm 2.8 EDIF, Fuji Velvia film.

This young cub has lost him mom and is looking for her high on the banks of the McNeil.  The cub will emit a loud squeal while looking for mom.  The cub's mom found her within a few minutes.  It is at this time while mom is looking for her cub that they will become stressed and it is not a good idea to be anywhere near them.  It is really a neat site to see a bear up on it's hind legs.  I only had a few shots the whole trip of any bears in this upright stance.  The adult bears are much more impressive standing on their back legs, but I'll take what I can get.  The usual stuff, Fuji Provia film.

Page 6