Behind The Lens: Brooks Falls, Alaska

Behind The Lens: Brooks Falls, Alaska

Behind The Lens

“Brooks Falls” Brown bear on Brooks Falls, Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska USA. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x Lens @ 280mm, 1/13 second @ f/14, ISO 100.

Brooks Falls are located on the Brooks River about halfway between Brooks Lake and Naknek Lake in Katmai National Park and Preserve. The falls are best known for bear watching on the Bear Cam as salmon attempt to leap up and over the six-foot cascade on their way to their spawning grounds. Brooks Falls is also quite famous for a number of bear-catching-salmon-in-jaws photos that you’ve undoubted seen in prints, books, and all over the Internet.

I wanted to attempt something different here, a contrast between the stillness of a steady bear atop the falls and the ever moving water. The result, which you see here, has been published on numerous occasions including an appearance in my latest wildlife photography book. I’ve been been asked on several occasions if this is a composite created with one slow exposure for the water and another with a faster shutter speed for the bear. The answer would be no. Bears usually don’t move very quickly and they often just stand around looking dumb and confused. The shutter speed of 1/13 second was fast enough to render the idle bear as perfectly sharp while also creating an illusion of motion with the water.

This image was captured all of this with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR and Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x Lens and processed in Adobe Lightroom.

Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer is the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. For more great information on new images, gear reviews, book projects, and photography workshops and tours, Sign Up For Our Newsletter.


Behind The Lens: The Angel Oak

Behind The Lens: The Angel Oak

Behind The Lens

“The Angel Oak” Johns Island, South Carolina USA. Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens @ 24mm, 1/15 second @ f/20, ISO 320.

On South Carolina’s Johns Island just south of Charleston, you might find one of the world’s most formidable Southern live oak trees: The Angel Oak. It truly is a sight to behold, boasting a total height of 66 feet (20 meters), a 30-foot (9 meter) trunk circumference, and a canopy diameter of more than180 feet (55 meters). It’s exact age has not been determined but it’s believed to be about 500 years old, making it the oldest living thing in the United States east of the Mississippi River.

I composed the Angel Oak by zooming in tight on the core of the tree so there was no empty space around the edges and that the branches extended all the way out to the image frame and into the corners. I was shooting directly into the sun so I positioned myself where the sun was barely peeking behind a tree limb and then stopped down to f/20 to create a diffraction star.

I captured all of this with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR and Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens. I converted this to Black and White with Nik Silver Efex Pro2 on Adobe Lightroom.

Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer is the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. For more great information on new images, gear reviews, book projects, and photography workshops and tours, Sign Up For Our Newsletter.


Behind The Lens: Wild Goose Island

Behind The Lens: Wild Goose Island

Behind The Lens

“Wild Goose Sunset” Saint Mary Lake and Wild Goose Island at sunset, Glacier National Park, Montana, USA. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens @ 30mm, 6 seconds @ f/11, ISO 100.

I recently spent a week in Glacier National Park under a dome of bright blue, cloudless skies. When there wasn’t a blue sky and scorching white-hot sun, the atmosphere was a smoky haze from a nearby forest fire when the wind blew in from the wrong direction. I tried to make the best of it and beat a few landscape scenes into submission but I just wasn’t feeling very inspired. I certainly wasn’t getting any sympathy from the tourists with whom I made contact. They would notice my camera and tripod, point upwards toward the blue sky and sun and exclaim, “Beautiful day for picture-takin’ eh?” 

“Oh, it’s awesome,” I would reply without a hint of sarcasm or irony.

When I awoke on my last full day in Glacier, the sky was one hundred percent overcast. Feast or famine it was going to be for this trip. I did a couple waterfall hikes and planned an early dinner since sunset was a certain lost cause. But by late afternoon, a few cracks opened up in the clouds so I made a run for this grand overlook of Saint Mary Lake. The scene is best known for the tiny dark speck in the lake’s center, Wild Goose Island. The sunset was pedestrian at best but 15 minutes afterward the sky exploded with various shades of crimson, pink, and magenta. I used a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR and Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens @ 30mm for this composition. No filter, as the kids like to say on Instagram.

Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer is the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. For more great information on new images, gear reviews, book projects, and photography workshops and tours, Sign Up For Our Newsletter.


Behind The Lens: Italy’s Cinque Terre

Behind The Lens: Italy’s Cinque Terre

Behind The Lens

“Cinque Terre” The charming seaside village of Manarola, Cinque Terre National Park, Italy. Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens @ 26mm, 30 seconds @ f/10, ISO 200.

Cinque Terre is a strand of five charming and colorful seaside villages along the dramatic Italian Riviera coastline. Colorfully-painted houses cling perilously to the sea cliffs while vineyards grace the steep, terraced landscape just above the town. One of Cinque Terre’s most scenic and photogenic villages is Manarola and I visited there in 2015 for some coastal photography Italian Style!.

My strategy for this image was to execute it during the twilight hour where the ambient blues would create a dramatic color temperature contrast with the warm lights of the village, once they were turned on. The house colors were decidedly muted during the day and I wanted this photo to really pop. Twilight was definitely the right time. Even though there were no clouds top help create some drama, the deep blues in the sky were colorful enough for me. Choosing twilight also allowed me to employ a long shutter speed (30 seconds) without having to add any neutral density filters. The long exposure smoothed out the waves and created a sweet yellow reflective glow on the water.

When traveling, I love taking along the Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM zoom lens, which is light, sharp, and versatile (and not to mention, relatively inexpensive) and I chose a focal length of 26mm with this lens, which was plenty wide to allow comfortable negative space along the top and the bottom. 

Even though I am happy with the result, I am already looking forward to my next visit to Manarola and Cinque Terre!

Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer is the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. For more great information on new images, gear reviews, book projects, and photography workshops and tours, Sign Up For Our Newsletter.