BearHead Photography New Photos
BearHead Photography has many images to showcase his expansive portfolio on mammals of North America, and these are his newest images.
Ready to Pounce
I had seen this lynx just briefly as it crossed an opening and then disappeared. I wanted to find it again, but finding lynx is a very difficult task even if you know exactly where they are. After searching a while, I decided to try one more area, and as I walked around a tree our eyes met. It was an incredible feeling! Thankfully the lynx just sat there and looked at me and didn’t run away. Seeing a lynx’s eyes looking at you in the forest is just incredible!
I watched as this lynx went into the woods, and I hoped it would stop and give me a chance for more photos. I could just see its ears in the woods, and I wanted it to come back out so badly. I waited, and slowly it came out more and more and sat down and watched from the edge of the woods. The light slowly moved down and when it lit the lynx up, I had a shot I never thought I would get.
Seeing any baby animal is exciting. They are often very playful and also very cute. Finding a new lynx kitten, and getting a photo of it, surpassed all my other animal baby encounters. It had such large feet for its small body, and was so curious and small. When it stopped for a moment and looked my way, it took everything in me to keep my camera steady.
Lynx are one of those animals that I am just happy to get to photograph in any situation. They are so hard to find, and any moment with a lynx is a great moment. Photographing this lynx in the different colors of fall had me pinching myself to make sure it was actually happening.
On our first day with the pups we only heard the adults and didn’t get to see them. We knew they were around, but they didn’t show themselves. The next day the alpha female wolf went onto a riverbed and the pups followed. Comparing the pups size with their mother for the first time really showed us how young they were.
Wolf pups are like any other young dog, and like to play. After the one pup on the left had played with the stick a while, the other pup decided it wanted to play with the same stick and came over and tried to take it.
These wolf pups all had different personalities. Being able to observe them up close was so cool, because it allowed us to really see their individual personalities. One wanted a large stick, and another wanted anyone else’s stick. Once they got what they wanted they laid down and played with their sticks.
Wolf pups depend on the adults for food. They are too young to go out and hunt for themselves. The pups have to lick the adults face to get them to regurgitate food. The two pups closest to the adult most have been the hungriest because they were so excited and jumping over each other to lick the adults face.
When we first encountered the wolf pups they were a ways away, but I was still happy. Then they closed the distance in half, and then they came even closer. They were indifferent to us being there, and went about playing and being pups. They got tired after a while and laid down for a small break.
When photographing wildlife its nice to be able to get a clean background behind the animal so that it is not distracting. I really didn’t think I would get that chance with the wolf pups. To my great surprise, this pup stopped close enough to me in the right spot to allow me to get the shot I wanted!
Watching and waiting on wolf pups was truly an amazing experience! At first there was one, then there was two, and then a third one popped its head out of the woods. After a quick greeting, the wolf pups walked in our direction! It was so neat to have them move to us and not away.
Wolves are either on the move or resting. There doesn’t seem to be much in-between. We had named this pup roamer because it was always on the go and appearing in different areas. I managed to catch it walking the tree line as it went on one of its walks.
I love finding moose in the backcountry of Denali. Being out there in the quiet with a huge animal is exciting to me. This moose was nice enough to stand near the high point of the ridge to showcase the dramatic mountains behind him.
Out of the Clouds
I’ve spent many years in the backcountry of Denali searching for and photographing moose. The ultimate goal was to find a bull moose and photograph it with Denali in the background. I’ve seen the mountain and moose, but never in a good opportunity for photos. When the mountain began to come out of the clouds, I prayed the moose would stay by the pond long enough to capture it with Denali in the background.
There are shots you dream of and say,”If only a moose would be right here".” I’ve lost count on how many times and in how many places I have said that for a shot I wanted. This was one of those moments when I had said this for a few years, and when I saw this large bull moose walking in the fall tundra in front of Denali I captured a shot I had been dreaming about.
There are moments when photographing when everything comes together, and it makes you forget all the other moments. Even though the other moments make up 95% of the time, it is that 5% that keeps me going. Ever since I came to Denali in 2008, I have been trying to get a bull moose in a pond with Denali in the background. I didn’t think it was going to happen on this night, but the clouds opened enough and all those years of waiting paid off!
Black bear cubs are such amazing climbers. Not only that but they are completely comfortable in a tree and act as if they aren’t even off the ground and could fall. After walking pretty far out onto this branch, this cub found a good spot for it to lay down and rest.
Going All Out
When this bear made up its mind on a fish it saw and thought it could catch, it went all out. It would completely lay out and go horizontal with the river. Here it is a split second away from going in the river and catching its fish.
I’ve seen so many bears shake off from being wet that I’ve lost count. Is it begun to shake a saw a little color, and as it fully shook off a full rainbow appeared. It was incredible seeing a rainbow in this bears water that it was shaking off!
Sometimes I wish I could be a cub and just hang out. I know being a bear cub is not easy and living in nature is difficult. But when you see a cub in a tree hanging over limbs without a care in the world for that moment, it would be nice to also not have a care in the world.
As mother bear was off fishing, this cub was sitting near the waters edge on a rock. It seemed uncomfortable and not sure if to sit there or run for a tree. As it looked around it had a very soft look to it.
Black bear cubs make climbing trees look easy. They go up and down and from branch to branch with little effort and little fear. This cub was completely comfortable hanging out in the tree and waiting for its mother to return.
It was awesome seeing this bear go for these salmon. As it was coming down the hill it noticed the salmon close to the shore. Once it saw this it sprinted down the hill and didn’t stop until it dove into the water. The salmon had no idea it was coming and it easily caught a fish.
When this bear showed up where it did, it surprised me. I didn’t think a bear could get to this rock without swimming to it. But this bear knew a way to it and was able to also surprise some fish by where it was hunting them from.
A downed tree can make it much easier for bears and other animals to get places. When a larger tree falls over the river, it is particularly nice for the animals because they don’t have to swim to get across. I saw numerous bears cross the log and even saw some jump from it going after salmon.
I’m sure the salmon run is an exciting time for bears, but also a frustrating one. The river can be full of fish, but they can be very hard to catch. This bear was looking the salmon over carefully and waiting for its chance for an easy meal.
Believe it or not, bear cubs do eventually tun out of energy. They re so fun to watch run around and be rambunctious. But eventually that gives way to being tired and nap time. This cub found a really good spot on a branch under the moss.
Salmon run in hundreds of rivers across Alaska and through many different terrains. Black and brown bears head to the rivers while they are running to fatten up for the winter. Black bears are more shy than brown bears and typically avoid other bears. But when the run is so good and so many fish around, they will tolerate other bears presence for a little while.
Bald eagles take advantage of any opportunity to eat fish. Many of the fish are to large for the eagles to carry away, so they must wait on bears or other animals to eat some of the fish first. This eagle saw its opportunity and swooped in snag some fish.
Watching a bald eagle catch a fish is amazing. The skill and speed needed to catch a salmon out of the water is impressive. This bald eagle decided to land on a large rock in front of a waterfall to eat its catch.
Great horned owls are a very large owl. If you get to see them fly they can make you feel very small. I was fortunate to find one owl in this fall tree, when another owl came and landed beside it. It was incredible getting to photograph these two great horned owls resting in this fall aspen tree!
A bald eagles wingspan can be greater than 7 feet. They are a beautiful bird and a very graceful soarer. When a fish below caught this eagles attention, it made a sharp turn to head to the river.
As a wildlife photographer, it is always great to start off the day early with a good photo. There are many days I get no photos, or have to wait way longer into the day before I even have an opportunity to take a photo. It was nice to have this bald eagle on a beautiful perch close to me on this morning.
I always enjoy seeing bald eagles. It is hard to imagine that they were once endangered, because is places in Alaska now they are abundant. But I’m grateful that I get to see these birds because it would be very sad and a very different Alaska if they weren’t around.
Puffins are one of my favorite birds. They have such a neat look and they are really hard to photograph because they fly so fast. These puffins had picked out a great home on the side of the cliff.
Finding an owl of any type is exciting. Northern hawk owls are difficult to find because they aren’t very big. I loved the dead tree it was sitting on in the fading light of the day. It created a nice mood to the scene that was different than any owl shot I had.
Most of the time whale watching humpback whales is seeing their tail before they dive. Just seeing that is neat because of how large they are. Every once in a while they jump and show just how large they are. Capturing this is hard because it is often unexpected and over in just a few seconds, but it so impressive seeing just how large these whales are.
Humpback whales do a very neat feeding behavior called bubble feeding. The whales will get in a group and circle small fish and confuse them and then come up from below with their mouths open. These were the two largest whales in the group and always the first to come above the surface.
Sea otters are a very playful animal. This otter had just finished playing hard with another otter and was ready for a rest. It looked as if it went to give the other otter a high-five to say it was fun playing with him.
A Mom's Embrace
When we spotted this mother and baby sea otter, we made sure we didn’t scare them. This was a very young otter, and spent most of its time we were with them on its mother. Mother sea otters will hold their baby on their stomach as they rest to make sure the baby is safe and to protect it.
Being on the ocean and looking for whales is always exciting. You never know where they are going to come up and how long they will stay near the surface. This whale gave us one more tail before diving into the shadows.
Alaska has some of the best waters in the world to watch humpback whales. Humpback whales flock to Alaska to feed all summer, because they don’t feed at all during the winter. It never gets old seeing these huge tails with the backdrop of the Alaskan mountains.
Sea Otter Family
Baby sea otters are very small when born. A mother sea otter is very protective of their baby and don't let them get out of sight. These otters were riding the waves and enjoying a relaxing morning in the first light of the day.
The waters of Alaska are a beautiful space for whales to live in during the summer. If I was a whale, Alaska would be on the top of my list to spend feeding all day long. This whale shows its tail before diving in front of a glacier.
For years I have wanted to photograph bull elk in the snow. During the rut it had been really cold, but never any snow where I had been. Finally, during a heavy snow storm I found this bull elk still in rut. When he bugled in front of the snow covered forest, all that waiting for snow was worth the wait.
Bull elk are so focused in the fall on trying to mate that they hardly notice their surroundings. It was funny to see the look in this elks eyes when he seemed to notice that it had snowed.
In Canada, the pine tree larch will change from green to yellow in the fall. There are some well known valleys that will be completely yellow when the larch trees change. It was a thrill finding this bull elk and tracking him as he walked in front of the snow covered larch trees.
It was hard to track this elk at times as the forest was thick and the snow was falling very hard. When I caught up to him and found this opening between the trees, it was neat to see his antlers covered in snow.
As the earth begins to warm, glaciers begin to melt faster and retreat further. It is neat to see the glaciers calve and fall into the ocean, but also sad at the same time because that means it is melting. This glacier is melting at a very fast rate and leaving hundreds of icebergs where the glacier use to be.
Ice bergs come from glaciers when they become detached from the glacier. I loved the perspective I was able to get to show this ice berg up close with where it came from many hundreds of years ago.
I will stay up and look for northern lights, and they won’t come out. However, when I don’t expect them is when I see them the best. I was driving across Alaska in the night when all of a sudden the sky lit up. I had to pull over and capture the dancing northern lights.
Mountains and fog go hand in hand. When the fog is thick and you can’t see, the fog is annoying. However, when that fog begins to clear it can create a dramatic scene. I love how the angle of the light makes it appear as if this is a black and white photo, but this was the natural light of the shot. The fog created a dramatic effect that really showed how many different ridges there were.
The coast of Alaska is very beautiful. There are many different looks and awe inspiring areas. Not that the coast needs it, but throw in an ice berg that has a beautiful design and the coast becomes even more beautiful.
This ice berg was around the size of a football field. I can only imagine the wave that was caused when this huge ice berg became detached from the glacier. As this huge ice berg heads out to sea, it made all other ice bergs look small.