Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Black Bear Diaries 2012 is just around the corner

I'll begin this blog post by bringing you all up to date with the goings on in my life since I last posted back in January. Life has been pretty busy over the last few months and I want to share a few highlights in this blog post before we dive into Black Bear Diaries 2012.

As I write this post I am prepared for my wife to go into labour at any moment. Our son is now one day overdue so like I said, anytime now things could start getting exciting. So far though he doesn't seem to be in any hurry to come out but wife and child are well so that's what matters most. He must want to enjoy a few more days of the easy life before coming into the world. Wish us luck.

Just to add to the excitement and stress of becoming parents we also bought a house and will be getting the keys and taking possession this Sunday. Talk about careful planning and combing two of life’s most stressful things into one month. But hey how hard can this be??

Besides all that and back to the topic of photography, I was able to spend two days shooting the local snowy owls back in late February and early March with renowned wildlife photographer Steve Kaluski who is a two time gold medal winner of the Royal Photographic Society Nature Competition. Steve is also the Wildlife Moderator on Bird Photographers Net which is a website forum dedicated to helping photographers improve their images through gentle critique. I have been a member since late 2009 and you can visit the site for yourself at

To see some of Steve's award winning photography please visit his website:

On a less happier note, on the last day of shooting we also enjoyed the company of accomplished wildlife photographer Todd Frost from Oregon not knowing that the Sunday would be his last day with us. Todd unfortunately passed away later that evening from a heart attack which came as a huge shock to Steve and I when his wife shared the news the next day. I didn't know Todd very well but he was someone who leaves a lasting impression on you after only spending one day with him. It was a privilege meeting Todd and the three of us shared many stories that day and had some good laughs.

Life has a funny way of giving us a reality check once in a while.

On a more positive note though, I was honoured to find out in the middle of March that I was going to be featured in an article which would appear in the local regional newspaper from the area in which I grew up. The Hexham Courant is a newspaper which circulates the Tyne Valley Region of Northumberland in the United Kingdom. My parents still live in the town so I kept the news quiet and it was a nice surprise for them. My mum worries about me working with bears but she will be visiting in May and I hope to take her out to see them and hopefully remove some of that fear she has.

This is a screen shot of the published article...

I should be launching Black Bear Diaries 2012 in the next couple of weeks so stay tuned for regular updates and images. I was out earlier this evening on the lookout for bears ended up coming home empty handed and soaked through from the heavy rain.

Be sure to check back again soon and in the meantime please visit my website @

Thank you for the continued support and remember your bear smarts this spring. Keep that garbage locked and sealed or in the garage until the morning of pick up day and help reduce the unnecessary slaughter of bears in our communities.


Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Encouraging Bear Awareness: Last front page of 2011

Happy New Year folk and welcome to 2012.

This year is going to be an exciting year. My wife and I are due to have our first child in April and found out last month that it is going to be a little boy. This means I am going to have a little partner joining me on photography trips in the future which is very exciting news. For the moments when I am not changing baby nappies or catching up on sleep, I have a few ideas for this year and I am hoping to spend some time photographing the local Orca pods. Come on... who hasn't wanted to do this ever since they watched BBC's Frozen Planet???? I am just amazed with myself that I haven't seen one in the wild yet. Come to think about it, I haven't seen one full stop in the flesh and pods are often sighted just off our local beaches. I think it is safe to say that Orca's are high on the agenda for this year along with my continued efforts to get to photograph the local bear community and to one day see the local Cougar that pops up now and again. I am looking to buy a trail cam soon so I can set one up on local well worn critter trails in a bid to hopefully catch sight of it and photograph it.

However, before we plunge into 2012 I want to share my last published image from 2011. I was very pleasantly surprised to see that my bear beside the caution sign image featured for the 2nd time this year on the front page of the local Tri City region newspaper. The image took centre place for the review of events in 2011.

I am very proud that my images can be used to promote bear awareness in the local communities. This image was used to draw people's attention to the sad fact that a number of bears were shot this year due to too many human and bear encounters. If we are going to continue destroying their habitat with the urban sprawl of housing developments and strip malls then we must learn to co exist with these amazing creatures and take some very simple straight forward measures such as containing your garbage and only putting it out the morning of pick up. Such simple and very small steps would have an almost instant positive impact on bears.

For more information on Black Bears and steps you can take to improve the relationship between bear and humans please visit

My buddy Peter Sulzle contributes a number of images to the website. To see more of Peter's images please visit his website: Peter is a very talented photographer from the Okanagan Valley region of Brtish Columbia.

Remember you can view my work on my current portfolio which is being used until I get around to updating my website.:

People often ask what are my New Years Resolutions. I usually reply by saying that I always just hope to achieve more than I did the year before and that people in my life stay healthy and safe.

Thank you again everyone for all your visits and comments in 2011. This year is going to be an intersting year. I also have a few product reviews lined up so stay tuned.

Before I go...
Do you often have to work at high ISO settings and have trouble dealing with the noise when you are working in Photoshop? If so, please check out Professional photographers' guide to noise reduction for EOS Cameras by Arash Hazeghi:

Many of my Black Bear images are taken in low light using ISO settings beyond ISO800 therefore, being able to deal with the image noise in post processing is crucial for maximising the image quality.

Best wishes for 2012.