Kayaking With Grizzlies In british columbia
A Plan Comes Together
Last year I was looking for a wildlife photography project in my backyard of British Columbia, Canada, and I'd heard rumours of a magical lake deep in the Chilcotin Mountains where the annual salmon run brings a large number of grizzly bears to the water's edge. But how could I make a this project stand out? What could I do differently to get incredible images?
After a long drive into the mountains on unpaved roads, I pulled up to the location with a real sense of trepidation. Would we really find the bears we were looking for? I sat on the side of the lake that evening just taking in the beautiful views. I planned to put my kayak in the water the following morning for an initial search, but for the moment I was content to just sit and relax after my drive.
Then I saw it! My first grizzly of the trip.
On the opposite shore, a beautiful blonde bear walked along the beach as the blue waters of the alpine lake lapped at her feet. It was a mesmerizing scene. After a few minutes she playfully chased a blackbird, and I captured my first real grizzly photo of the trip.
Seeing the bear on the shoreline that first night was a relief. We were in the right place, and all we would need now was a little patience and some time to learn the bear's movements around the area. After a couple of relatively quiet days on the water, we began to figure out some of their patterns, and become familiar with specific bears. As our knowledge increased, so did our shot count.
The kayaks worked perfectly!
Many of the bears seemed completely oblivious to us as we slowly paddled through the shallow waters. The salmon run was in full swing and it definitely had their attention. A few of the bears were a little more skittish than others, and after a while we were able to figure out which ones would best tolerate our presence.
Trip Of A Lifetime
As you can probably imagine from the photos, this trip was very special. I'll never forget some of those peaceful evenings drifting amongst the bears, and I'll always cherish the photos from this trip. It's rare when an elaborate plan comes together so perfectly, but this was one of those occasions and I left the mountains with a deep affection for this group of incredible animals.
Blessed Are The Curious For They Shall Have Adventures
- Lovelle Drachman
(Photo: Rowan Thornton)
British-born, Canada based photographer Dan Carr is the founder and chief educator at Shutter Muse. Inspired by the mountains of British Columbia, his photography has been featured in magazines all over the world. Dan’s commercial clients include companies such as Apple, Nike, Red Bull and Oakley. His writing appears on leading creative industry websites such as DP Review, and he’s contributed to magazines that include Digital Photo, Practical Photographer and Photography Week as well as providing educational content for leading industry brands like Canon. To find more of Dan’s educational articles and products, head to ShutterMuse.com and DanCarrPhotography.com.