I had the the honor of being able to edit some pretty amazing photographs for David Quandt, a great photographer and coworker of mine. David has captured a beautiful collection from Alaska and I’m pleased to be able to share them with you here on PhotoGuides!
He was so excited when he arrived back from his trip and had me come into his office to flip through his favorite captures. I remember him telling me, “you got two minutes?” and then we contently spent a near 20 minutes reflecting on them. He admitted he wasn’t much of an editor and he also didn’t have any proper software to really bring out the magic and true colors of these photographs. I offered him my services and he was ecstatic to see them when I was finished. I even plan on getting one or two of them printed for myself! Plus, I’m kind of a sucker for bears.
I never thought I would have the privilege of editing photographs of such a beautiful place and amazing creatures straight from someone’s camera. It was truly a great experience for me and my laptop. I kindly asked for his permission to post them right here for you and he was more than happy to share them. He does not have any type of online account or anything to follow, so this is the only place you will be able to find visible evidence of his experience in Alaska.
Here is what he had to say about his experience there,
Surprisingly I was very calm,…each bear clearly broadcast they intended us no harm and were most interested in the Salmon in the rivers. Our Guide emphasized we needed to be stimulus neutral to the bears. We can’t make them feel threatened by us and we can’t let them sense we are threatened by them.
Our instructions we to stand together to give the impression the 5 in our group were bigger than they were. In a bear’s world size wins and we looked bigger. If a bear approached us “too closely” we were to collectively move toward the bear. Too close is a term I didn’t realize was measured in feet and not miles. We had several encounters within 10 yards but never felt threaten or needed to “move” the bear!
According to our guide each bear has their own personal space and when given the option will move around other animals to keep that space. We watched as the smaller animals would give the larger more dominate bears a wide berth when passing. One of my photos captures the moment a smaller (700 lb) male circles the larger (900 lb) male. The smaller bear had been walking the shoreline but diverted into the Alders to avoid the larger bear lounging in his bed on the shoreline. We were standing in the river under 20 yards from both.
I’ve been fortunate to spend many hours hiking and hunting parts of the US, Europe, Mexico, Asia and Australia and this was by far the most profound outdoor experience of my life. I’m thrilled I was able share the experience with my wife and to capture a few photos to help firmly secure the experience into my memories.
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