BearHead Photography's Best Pictures
BearHead Photography has many images to showcase his expansive portfolio on mammals of North America, and these are his best pictures.
It's not often you come across three bull moose hanging out together. I first only saw one moose, and it was only once I hiked up and over a hill did I see that there were three moose. After spending over three hours with them and only getting mediocre pictures, that all changed in a heartbeat. I couldn't believe my good fortune when they all left the pond and went up on the ridge and stood still for just a few moments. Being all along with these moose with this setting was a moment I will never forget.
Coming at You
When brown bears are fishing they can become very excited and chase any fish they see. This brown bear was patrolling the river all afternoon when a salmon got stuck in shallow water near where I was standing. She turned immediately when she saw this and bolted like a freight train after that salmon. She had every determination to catch that fish, and she was successful.
Grand Prize Winner National Geographic Photo Contest
It is hard to understand just how vast Alaska is until you have been. Denali is over 6 million acres, and the majority of that land is all backcountry access only. Wildlife can truly live their lives and never be influenced by human activity. A large moose takes advantage of a nice evening to eat from a pond and to get away from the bugs.
Grizzly bear cubs are very playful when they are young. These cubs had been rolling around, and when they finished the one cub stood up and put its paws together.
Highly Honored Photograph Natures Best Photography Competition
It is hard to describe just how awesome a large tidewater glacier is! In Glacier Bay National Park there are a number of really large glaciers that come all the way down to the water from high in the mountains. This particular glacier has carved out a massive area that has in the last few hundred years filled in with sea water. The expansiveness of the area and the grandeur of the glacier and mountains was quite the site to see!
In the summer in Alaska, the nights just turn dusky and not all the way dark. It was nearly 11 p.m. when I spotted this mother and her 4 cubs for the first time. I was getting ready for bed, but that quickly changed and I hurried to find them again. They were moving down the lake shore looking for salmon to fish for. It was my very first time ever seeing a mother and 4 cubs, and having them all walk in a line on the lake shore sure made my night a lot better.
Observing the northern lights never gets old. Each show is very different from the last, and unpredictable. This night started off very slow, and then all of a sudden this beam appeared and started moving around! Watching it move over the mountains was a memorable experience.
The Wild Coast
In Alaska you just never know what you might encounter with wildlife. There is such great diversity, and the animals are in numerous areas. Once this bear noticed the bald eagle had a fish, it went over to investigate. The eagle had eaten all it wanted and flew over the bear as it went to rest and digest its meal.
Alaska is an incredible state to see from car, train, boat, and even plane. Seeing glaciers from above gives you a much large appreciation for their size and power. Flying directly up this glacier let me really see exactly how powerful these ice waterfalls are in carving out the mountains.
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I love getting off the road and away from everyone and finding my own shot. There are many times I spend hiking through the tundra or woods and don't come up with anything. But those moments when you do find wildlife to yourself are the moments you never forget. When I found these three bull moose together I was ecstatic. I followed them for over three hours before this special moment occurred, and I was more than happy that I waited and followed to see what photographic opportunities they would present.
Into the Mist
Not long after I spotted this bull elk, his females headed for the river. It was a foggy morning, but when I got to the river, there was more fog there than in the meadow. It was such a neat, eerie feeling seeing the elk go in the river and disappear in the fog. In the fall when the temperature drops over night, a fog can occur, and it provided a dramatic scene for this large bull elk as he entered the water.
On only the coldest of mornings can hoar frost happen. Not only does it have to be cold, but their has to be moisture in the air as well. When the sun made it over the ridge, the trees began to shine because of the hoar frost. A buffalo was underneath this tree trying to stay warm and find some food as it was -40 degrees.
Humpback whales are usually a solitary animal. The only time they will be with other whales, is during mating season and when food is at its peak. These whales dove at the same time in hopes of rounding up little herring fish.
Mother bear bent this tree down and used it to rest on. The tree made for a great jungle gym for the cubs to play on too. After they were done playing, they came next to mom and leaned over the tree branch all at once.
Great grey owls have the largest wingspan of any owls. They can have a wingspan of over 60 inches. Seeing this large bird fly directly at me was an intimidating experience.
Call of the Wild
Wolves howl to get the attention of other wolves in the area. This wolf had gotten separated from its pack members and was trying to locate where they were. At first she was calm and relaxed, but then she really started to howl. As she stood on the rock howling, it was a cold enough morning that her breath was visible as she howled.
There were only a couple of bears that fished on Brooks Falls that were fast enough to catch salmon that did not jump right to them. This bear was probably the most successful bear at catching salmon that there was. As this salmon tried to sneak by, at the last second the bear turned its head and that salmon was caught.
It is not very often that you have a crystal clear view of Denali. On my last camping trip of the summer I was fortunate to come across this scene. In Wonder Lake was a mother and calf moose taking there time eating the grass of the bottom of the lake. I could not think of a better way to end my summer.
There are too many times to count when I had a great setting with wildlife, but no light. Having both come together perfectly on this morning was a dream. As I ran to the stream, hoping they would cross in the perfect morning light, I waited only briefly before they decided to cross. The morning light, reflection, and mountains made for a dramatic backcountry Alaskan scene.
Sunsets in Yellowstone are often not that colorful due to the amount of clouds in the sky, or due to no clouds at all. Seeing that a great sunset was about to happen, I began to look for an animal to put in the picture. Finding a bison herd on a ridge added great contrast to the setting sun.
While in Denali, I love being in the backcountry exploring on my own. It is so fun to be off the beaten path and find animals by myself. Once I found these moose, I did my best to track them across the endless tundra. When they walked the ridge above this pond, I knew all the tracking I had done had more than been worth, and I could reflect back on how great the state of Alaska is!
Going for a Ride
When cubs are real young, it is somewhat common for them to latch onto mom while she is swimming. This little cub was tired of walking in the grass and decided to climb onto mom as she moved around and save its energy.
I love experiencing and seeing new things in nature. As I was driving, I faintly saw a streak in the fog. I stopped, and then noticed the faint outline of a rainbow. But there was no rain, so it had to be a fog bow. I parked and began hiking in the fog looking for something to photograph with the fog bow, and found these trees. The heavily hoar frost covered trees really made the fog bow behind them stand out and show off how great it was.
Great grey owls are a majestic owl of the forest. They perch on tops of trees to have the best vantage point to hunt from. With this view, it looked as if it was watching over the Tetons.
We found this bear taking a nap on the beach. We slowly approached, and it kept sleeping for a long time. When it began to wake up, it stretched its legs and sprawled out. For just a brief moment it brought its head down to its paws, and looked like a human relaxing on the beach. This type of look you don't see from bears very often at all!
It's not often you get to see a glacier at the sea, and see where it started from in the mountains. They often curve down the mountains and make only half or less of the glacier visible. Being able to see over 10 miles back into the mountains to where the ice I was looking at started hundreds of years ago made me realize just how amazing glaciers really are.
Going underneath a glacier into a cave that has formed underneath was very surreal. The colors and natural design of the ice cave is indescribable until you have been in one. An ice cave forms by a river that moves underneath the glacier. The natural color and design of the ice was like nothing I had ever seen before.
All at Once
There is a very small time of the year when humpback whales feed together. Some years it can last less than 2 weeks for when the whales bubble net feed. They will circle around the herring and blow bubbles and create a wall of bubbles. The herring don't know they can swim through the bubbles and become trapped. The whales then come up through the middle with their mouths open, and have a meal of herring.
Adolescent bears are at the bottom of the totem pole in a bears world. Bears don't like being chased or harassed, so when they see another younger bear they try to be dominate over that bear because they are tired of getting pushed around. Neither of these bears were giving up ground, and growled and fought back against the other.
In the mountains in the morning it is often foggy after a rain storm. The moisture in the air combined with the usually cooler temperature, can create a very heavy fog. As the fog was beginning to burn off, the larger trees began to cast a shadow across the fog and add a neat effect to the look of the forest.
After wolves have made a kill they will eat some and then go take a nap. After they move off other animals and birds move in to start eating. This wolf did not like all the ravens gathering on its food, so it ran back to the kill and jumped at the ravens to scare them off.
Hunting for ducks is not east for a bobcat. Trying to get out far enough into the river to jump for a duck can be a difficult task, since they don't like to swim. After deciding not to jump for a duck, the bobcat jumped between logs to avoid getting wet and swimming in the cold water.
Most owls are nocturnal. As the day wore one, I could see more and more short-eared owls beginning to hunt. This owl was hunting as the last light of the day was shining.
Tigers are an impressive and intimidating cat. This tiger wasn't overly happy that we had found her. After a few minutes she got up and left, but she let us know who was queen of the jungle as she was leaving.
Being able to watch a large polar bear close up in it natural environment is a great experience. Once he determined we were a little to close, it let us know by showing us his teeth.