Jul 072014

Ok Ok

I’m posting!

It is pretty easy to find Bears in Yellowstone.  About half of my time this June was spent with these incredible critters.  At some point I will share one of the most dramatic captures I have ever been involved with.

There are several colors of Black Bears.  One of my favorites is the Cinnamon Black Bear.

The cinnamon bear (Ursus americanus cinnamomum) is a color phase of the American black bear, native to Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Washington, Wyoming, Alberta, and British Columbia.  The most striking difference between a cinnamon bear and any other black bear is its brown or red-brown fur, reminiscent of cinnamon, from which the name is derived.  The subspecies was given the designation because the lighter color phase is more common here than in other areas.

Like other black bear subspecies, Cinnamon bears are omnivorous. Their diet includes fruit, vegetation, nuts, honey, and occasionally insects, and meat, differing from other subspecies because of regional habitat differences. Cubs weigh approximately 230 grams (8 oz) at birth, with adults weighing between 92.1 and 270 kilograms (203 and 595 lb). The life span for this bear is a maximum of 30 years.

Cinnamon bears are excellent climbers, good runners, and powerful swimmers. They are mostly nocturnal, though sometimes active during daylight hours. The cinnamon and brown bears of this country are simply color phases of the black bear, the blondes and brunettes of the family. The various colors are frequently intermixed in the same family; hence it is a common occurrence to see a black bear female with brown cubs, a brown and a black cub, or even all three colors. The bears hibernate during the winter months, usually from late October or November to March or April depending upon the weather conditions.  Their scat resembles that of domestic dogs.


Over the years I have photographed many cinnamon black bears.  Most notably a mature that killed a sow and 2 cubs.  An experience I will never forget.  This 2 year old cinnamon is a blend of color due to it’s immaturity.  She was not very accepting of us two legged creatures.  If this photo of her  is not enough incentive to keep a safe distance….well I’m not sure what would be.

 Posted by at 9:30 PM
Jun 192013

Not to brag…

It’s not hard to find bears in Yellowstone.  This year daily showings between Tower Junction and Floating Island Lake.  The challenge is that there are few places to pull over.  And believe me the Park Rangers are all over that!  Only minutes after finding the Bears everyone is shoo’d away.  To add misery to the pain it’s been raining at the peak Bear sighting times of day.  It’s all good. Just have to stay away from the crowds and anticipate the best light/composition.

A mom and two cubs.  The cubs are in their second year.  Mom is a black bear.  The kids are cinnamon black bears.  Guess dad was a cinnamon.

When shooting the black bear in sunlight it’s always advisable to push the exposure slightly.


This is one of the two Cinnamon cubs.  Cute as ever.  They spend a lot of time in the dry fall.  Not a lot of opportunities to shoot.  I however really enjoyed watching them all afternoon.


 Posted by at 9:50 PM
Oct 102010

Almost daily my travels in Yellowstone include a BEAR traffic jam!

This particular day was no exception.  A cinnamon  black bear was walking near the road.  People stop their cars to see the bear.  It’s kinda what Yellowstone is famous for.  Nowadays the park is overcrowded.  When a bear is sighted the cars back waaaaaay up.

I had an idea.  Park where the traffic was stopped.  About a quarter mile from the bear.  Possibly… and I mean possibly I could anticipate where the bear was headed and cut him off.  At least 100 yards away.  It’s the rule in Yellowstone – 100 yards minimum from a bear!

Looking up the road through my long lens there was a ton of rule breakers.  No ranger in site (yet).  One man looked as close as 15 or 20 feet from the bear.

Can you say C R A Z Y?

Before long the bear was headed in the opposite direction of the road.  Then he was out of site.  About as fast as the traffic jamb appeared it disappeared.  I was alone….hopefully with the bear (at 100 yards minimum).  Guessed on his route.  Checked the bear maze, camera gear and headed out.  About the time the road was out of view I was following a trail.  It had a lot of elk prints.  With the dry fall and new growth this trail was probably used by all the wild.

There he was. About 150 yards ahead on the same trail.

Camera, lens and tripod UP!  Beautiful animal.  Looked to be quit young.  Still a wild bear.  Fired a lot of shots of him…..heading at me.  What’s the minimum focusing distance of  Nikon 600mm f/4 VR II lens?    To be exact….15.7′   About the distance the bear was from me as he passed.  Only one glance at me.  Me?  I was protected by my tripod and a can of maze!   Kinda like a one iron for protection from a lightning bolt.  Way to close.  It happened fast.  He was incredible.  Obviously not threatened by me.    I wish it was the same for me about him.

Can you say C R A Z Y ?

Ok so my wife will read this.  I will be grounded again.

Cineman black bear

 Posted by at 9:40 PM
Mar 022010

Upclose bear

A couple of years ago my travels took me on the back loop from Teton National Park to Jackson.  A narrow road with vegetation to both edges.  The last place that I expected to run into a black bear.  There she was eating berries like there was no tomorrow.  Very little traffic made it possible for me to get out and shoot from the hood of my car.  (please note that the car was between me and the car.  And a window shot was not possible) I had one of my longer lenses on the camera.  Other than when I was charged by a Grizzly I have never been so close to a bear in the wild.   Not a good thing to see how close I can get to a bear.  That’s why I pay the big bucks for extra long lenses, i.e. 600mm, and 200-400mm.  To keep a lot of air and grass between me and those teeth.

 Posted by at 8:42 PM
Sep 112009

A whole day with this mother.  The Black Bear had two new cubs the year of this photo.  A very long lens made it possible to watch and photograph from a safe distance.  With her several nursing’ and multiple naps made for an interesting day as a photographer/admirer.  Here attention never left me for long periods.  This nap on the rock was a true expression of how tiring it may be raising and protecting two new cubs.

 Posted by at 9:53 PM