Sunday, December 06, 2009

A Black Bear Encounter

Aug 3: On the way to the Chapleau Game Preserve, we had another bear encounter on the side of the road. This bear saw us and came right up to the car, making us think that people on the road construction crew or other automobiles had been feeding him. He came so close that I could hear him panting just like a dog. I don't think I had known before that bears pant. Naturally I was taking pictures up until he was really close to the car (I think I did close the window briefly and then opened it when he turned around.)

When I looked at the photos afterward, I realized that nature isn't always kind to its critters. Notice the flies and other insects buzzing this bear's face!

This bear hung around us for several minutes giving me some good opportunities for portraits.

I also realized that I wasn't getting shots of the bear with good backgrounds. So after the bear had retreated back into the woods, I shot some photos of the underbrush with the thought of doing some DA (digital art) later. One of the advantages of thinking about DA while still at the site: you have lighting at the same angle and intensity as your animal and your vegetation or surroundings are natural for the animal you are photographing. Ethically, if I submit this photo, I will label it as a composite or digital art.

I knew as I was shooting that this bear shot was likely to "work" because I got the whole bear and things looked pretty sharp in the camera. but this background is not that interesting.

I found this underbrush near where we saw the bear.

And then I combined the two images to get this:

I've added some artistic filters to make the background look better and so that it is obvious that this is "art" rather than straight photography. I don't know yet if I will do much more with this composite or whether I will submit it anywhere. But sometimes it is good to practice techniques like this because I learn things by playing.


Michael Ziegler said...

Hi Mary Ann,
I like what you did with the bear photo. I guess it's kinda like "green screen" photography. It looks pretty good!
Best regards,
Mike Z

Mary Ann Melton said...

Thanks, Mike! Glad you like it!

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