In Postcards From..., Travel, Wilderness by David31 Comments

Just off the float plane from a week in British Columbia’s Khutzeymateen. I’ll write more later, and put up another photograph or two, but wanted to drop a postcard your way. I’ve pulled these straight out of Lightroom on the 11″ MacBook Air, so they’re rough images yet, but man was this a mind-blowing week. One of the most intimate encounters I’ve had with the wilderness. Felt like I was on sacred ground and holy waters the whole time. Good to be back, but I miss the bears already. My new friends on the Ocean Light 2 as well. I’m back with them photographing the Gwaii Haanas (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands) in July and it’ll feel like a long time between now and then.

While I was gone, if you missed it, we published Vision Is Better 3, the third in the series. If you like this blog, you can get the best of its content, plus some new material, and much better images, all curated in a beautiful package for $5, but there’s a bundle of all three books, for only $10. More information on this post about it.


  1. Dave, these are some of your best images. Gorgeous and very moody.

  2. There truly is nothing more majestic and inspiring than bears in the wild. Great images, they feel as if there was a kinship with them, the camera and their natural surroundings.

  3. Well captured… Fits of jealous rage. I always feel a sense of awe when encountering grizzlies.

  4. I brought a 300/2.8 and a 2x converter but hands down the best photographs were made with my 16-35 and 70-200. These were very intimate encounters and never once did I feel anything more than acceptance and curiosity from the bears. Longer lenses don’t create the intimate look or feel I strive for, but more than that they force you to keep distant. You know what Capa said: if your photographs aren’t good enough you aren’t close enough. I feel strongly this way about my own work, but I also think to get close you need more than physical proximity and for that there’s no substitute for putting in the time. We sat long hours, for a week with these bears. When I left I felt I’d only got a hint of what’s possible.

    1. Thank you so much David, your comments are always… enlighting. It’s always a pleasure to follow your adventure on the other side of the world 😉

    2. Re: Focal lengths – That’s what I thought. They’re great images, and I’ve always thought that too long of a lens removes your own ability to relate and fully understand what you’re photographing. I was being facetious regarding a billion millimeters of glass… Capa, Nachtwey, McCurry… they’re not great photographers because they shot from a hotel room window.

  5. I love the third image from the top. I’m heading to Québec this morning for 5 days, and hoping to get the same light and feeling.

    And those images of the bears… yeah, what lens were you using? Because I don’t see that much compression of background and foreground, so it looks like a 50 or maybe an 85.

    I’m wrong, right? You were using a 1,000,000,000mm lens, yeah? ‘Cuz I would. Just sayin’.

  6. Hi David,

    Wow, I get a little bit the feeling (or at least think I have) as you did during your trip.
    Did you need a real long lens, seen the sizes of those big boys and girls?
    Cheers Stefan

  7. David, thanks for posting this teaser. I miss so very much living up in that part of BC, and your photos made me tear up with nostalgia.
    Stunning work as usual, and I look forward to seeing the rest from this trip.
    Someday maybe I’ll get the opportunity to take you to see the Kermodes and lava fields of my home in the Nass Valley!

  8. David,

    Great images.

    I am in the process of booking a trip there myself. Can I ask a few quick questions?

    What was the longest and/or most used lens you had? Your mix of animal and environment looks perfect for my style of Photography and I would prefer not to bring huge lenses if necessary.

    I assume that Ocean Light 2 has no issues with photographers disturbing other quieter passengers 🙂 (Shutter noise etc)

    Thanks so much.

    (I would send this privately, but other might be curious as well)



    1. Author

      Hi Keith – I brought a 16-35, 70-200, and 300mm, as well as a 2x convertor. The images I like best came from the wide angle and the 70-200. When I do it again I’ll bring a monopod for shooting in the boat. Best piece of gear was 2 Think Tank Photo Hydrophobia raincovers. The Ocean Light 2 crew were amazing and very used to, and accomodating of, photographers. Everyone brings a camera. You’ll love your time with them.

  9. These are amazing. My favourite is the last one of bears. Animal photos normally don’t do a lot for me, but that one just has me wanting to look at it all day long. For me there is such a feeling of peacefulness and serenity about it. And having the rock at the bottom of the image helps draw me in closer to the whole scene and makes me feel closer to the scene, and the bears. Yet at the same time I also remain separate from them, and hence don’t feel like I’m intruding on their family.

  10. I love #4. For some reason it reminds me of one of my favorite children’s stories, “Ferdinand,” where the namesake bull likes to sit and sniff the flowers. Except Ferdinand was a pacifist, and I’m sure this guy would love to rip my head off.

  11. EPIC! I feel like I should probably head there someday soon.
    I love the tones in the leaf.

  12. David, I wish I knew what was in your bag for this Holy trip 🙂 Did you get the bears with a 300mm?

  13. Holy shit, these are great. Mr. duChemin, you continue to inspire me. Thank you for all you do!

    1. Author

      Thank you. And you’re welcome. But I think we can go to a first-name basis. Mr duChemin is my father. 🙂

  14. These photos just made me smile! I love the feel of them, and the dark misty colors. I always enjoy your photography, but these have really struck a chord with me. Lovely and wonderful 🙂

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.