Back in the Khutzeymateen

In News & Stuff, Postcards From..., Travel by David19 Comments

20150615-duChemin-Khutzeymateen-1014Three days is not enough for these adventures, even less so when Air Canada loses your luggage en route to Prince Rupert and you’re socked in by fog the first morning, but when we finally flew into the Khutzeymateen Inlet in British Columbia’s wild west coast, and began sitting with the grizzlies from our inflatable zodiac, it’s like time just stopped. Words can’t describe what I feel for these bears and the experience of being among them, in their home, but I hope the photographs can. Four of us chartered the Ocean Light II, giving us more room in the Zodiac (there are usually 8 passengers), and the ability to work with our guide, Tom, in a much more focused way. What a time we had. The golden bear you see in most of these images was amazing. We named her Bella and sat with her for hours watching her do her thing. She was patient with us, went about her day without giving any sense she minded us there, and seemed to welcome us when we returned looking for her the next day. In between there were crab dinners and long conversations, early morning kayaking, and the indescribable peace of a 6am coffee on the deck of the boat when others have not yet pulled themselves from their bunks.

See images and articles about my last trip to the Khutzeymateen here, and also here.

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I’m putting together a YouTube channel, hoping to release it later this month or in early July. It’ll be called Vision Is Better and is really just a way for me to engage with you in a different way without always having to write things down. The first couple episodes will be about this trip – if you’ve got guestions about gear, process, or Lightroom work, or something else related to this particular set of images – feel free to leave them below. I’d love to include some of them in the podcast. *Update – You can find the Vision Is Better Show here on YouTube.

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  1. Bella is so cute 🙂

    I have a couple of questions:

    1. Which lenses were you using to get this close to Bella?

    2. This one is actually about your post on Maptia about the Ganges – very curious how you did your black and white conversions there.

  2. Love the post process you do do also. It is a relief from so many over saturated photos by others. I would like to know lens choices, fx tops/shutter/ISO. Distance from boat. Shoot from boat? Shooting underexposed? No tri pod in boat? Are you taking a tripod along in zodiac. Best time of year at this location for the Bears, best time to make reservations. Where you ever cold? Assuming you were pretty wet. Was it hard to leave? ( emotionally)

  3. Was curious if your yourtube channel will allow for CC or subtitles? Being hearing impaired, it helps more than the average hearing person will ever know. However, I know the cost to add CC or subtitles is not cheap…on another note, awesome frames and I like how you process for what it felt like-totally brings out what you were talking about with the “magic” feel. Never realized how thin bears actually got after hibernating

  4. I would like to know how you post processed that picture with plane taking off. Can that be used as a desktop background?

  5. Thanks for sharing. I especially like images 4, 11 and 12 and it’s wonderful to be able to see these. I’m wondering what company you go with and do you land in Prince Rupert or Bella Bella?

  6. I found your website via a scrapbooker who I follow. I was impressed and moved by your perspective on taking better pictures. I am an amateur photographer. I love film. We have a wet darkroom. I appreciate digital. I struggle with technique/equipment v. good images. I have gone back to those posts several times and am now finding I think more critically about an image I see that I like. Case in point, the first image of this post, the airplanes really appealed and I paused to think about why. Thank you for that. You have inspired me to take up the equipment I have and go make some meaningful pictures.

  7. What a beautiful part of our world! Thanks always for sharing…I left comments on your FB page for ideas on your upcoming channel. Thanks! Robin aka gotham girl

  8. These pictrues are great. I like especially the four pictrues of the bear coming after the guide in the boat. But what happened to the colors? All pictures look de-saturated and yellowish. The grass is more grey than green…. These de-saturared colors have strong negative impact on me, which is much stronger than the great motif they show.

    1. Thanks Robert – the treatment in post-processing was purely an artistic one, I guess it’s not for everyone. The problem with green is that it is extremely bright and saturated and pulls the eye heavily. I experience this place in a very magical-feeling way and so warming it up and pulling some of the brightness out of the greens has been the way that works for me. I’m less interested in what a place looks like than in what it feels like.

      1. David, I actually quite like the look of the treatment you have given your images. In relation to your upcoming You Tube channel. I’d be grateful if you would show hoe you post process your images to obtain this particular look.

        Many thanks,

        1. If there is one thing I love about these images, it would be the de-saturated, warm feel….and everything else too. As you said David D, it is your experience and you’ve told it as you felt it. I believe this was transmitted well. Loved the article on Maptia about the story behind these too.

  9. Wonderful images and thanks for sharing this experience – always amazing to see these wild animals close up (especially when one is unable to travel).

  10. Great post David – really makes me miss living in Alaska. Looking forward to your YouTube channel. I would love to hear your thoughts on how you integrate black and white images along with color images into the same body of work. I’m trying, but can’t seem to make them flow well together. Thanks a bunch!!

  11. These photos make my heart sing. Looking forward to your YouTube posts.

  12. Beautiful photos. Never seen a bear look so skinny, must have been one hungry wake up after the winter for her.

  13. Just wonderful images David, the one with the bear on the log and the image of your guide at the wheel are just outstanding, in my book.

    The one of her at water’s edge is great, she still look a little gaunt from her winter rest, however.

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