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.


Photo Equipment: What’s In The Bag?

Photo Equipment: What’s In The Bag?

Gear Reviews

It’s the most frequently-asked question and perhaps the least important. “What’s in the bag?”

I say it’s the least important since it’s usually the first (and easiest) avenue beginning photographers take to try and improve their photography work. They believe that better and more expensive gear will create a better photographer but more often than not, it only leads to disappointment. A better investment would be in time – time spent practicing their technique and honing their personal vision. Still, photo equipment is not unimportant either. if you’re not convinced, just try doing photography without it!

So with that said, let’s have a look into my photo bag (all links to Amazon):

Photo Equipment

Camera Bag: One of several MindShift Gear bags, depending on the trip or assignment. Moose Peterson MP-1 V2.0, FirstLight 40L, or BackLight 36L.

Currently, my favorite photo backpack is the MindShift Backlight Elite 45L Camera Backpack. Just Superb!

In addition to the actual bag that I choose for a particular trip, the contents in the bag also depend on where I am going, what I will be shooting, how remote the area, and how much hiking there will be. Here is some of my basic photo equipment:

Canon 1DX Mark II
Canon 5D Mark IV

I’ll carry (2) 5D Mark IV bodies on my landscape or travel photography trips and (1) 1DX Mark II and (1) 5D Mark IV for wildlife excursions.

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM (when weight is an issue or for bird-in-flight images)
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM
Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM
Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM
Irix 11mm f/4 Blackstone (when I want to travel light and the Canon 11-24 is too heavy and bulky).
Canon Extender EF 1.4X III
Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite Flash (2)
MagMod 2 Basic Flash Modifier Kit
Canon TC-80N3 Timer Remote
Lee Filter Holder with polarizing filter
Breakthrough Photography’s ND Filters (no color cast)
Really Right Stuff TVC-24L Tripod
Really Right Stuff TQC-14 Tripod
Really Right Stuff BH40 ball head (2)
Really Right Stuff BH35 ball head

Wimberley WH-200 Gimbal Head II
Lexar digital media
Mac Book Pro 15.4″ Computer with Retina Display, Touch Bar, 2.9GHz Intel Core i7 Quad Core…
LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt USB-C 4TB Portable Hard Drive

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 in 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.


The Desolate Beauty of Greenland

The Desolate Beauty of Greenland

Bucket List

A Place Like No Other may be an overused bit of hyperbole found on every other Trip Advisor or Lonely Planet article you read (I mean, how many places like no other can there be?), but when describing a country and experience like Greenland, it’s actually true.

Greenland, the largest island in the world not considered its own continent, is a place of raw natural beauty and desolation. Steep, craggy mountains, titanic icebergs of sparking blue adrift on the sea and in the fjords, some of the largest glaciers in the world, tidy and colorful Inuit fishing villages, the aurora borealis, and the list goes on.

Eastern Greenland is one of the loneliest places on the planet. Along its 13,000-mile coastline of sparse, rocky mountains and hulking glaciers, there are only two small towns and five settlements in total. There are no roads connecting these remote outposts (all travel is via helicopter, boat, or dog sled in winter) and life for the residents has remained relatively unchanged over the past hundred years. Hunting and fishing are the main source of the culture’s food and sustenance.

The primary natural element in Greenland is ice. It’s everywhere. Aside from rock – there are no trees and very little soil along the coastline – ice is what you see in almost nearly direction. In the area near Tasiilaq, the town where I stayed while on the eastern coastline, there are dozens of giant outlet glaciers from the immense Greenland ice field creeping their way down rocky canyons to the fjords, sounds, and sea. Thousands of icebergs, some the size of office buildings, litter the water’s surface in varying hues of blue and silver, scattering sunlight in a dazzling display.

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.