THE FISHER KING
Over the years, I have spent many days working close to grizzlies in Alaska and this is surely my most visually arresting photograph. The intimacy is courtesy of a well-positioned camera and a 28 mm wide angle lens. The bear was big, primeval and menacing, and in this instant, just two feet from the camera.
Moraine Creek is not an easy destination to get to for first light, but that was our preferred schedule. The weather forecast was for unrelenting sunshine, unusual for Alaska, and we had little appetite to work on the river with a high summer sun above us.
We were on site just after dawn and the remote camera was positioned after studying the fishing pattern of the big male bear. I prefer to photograph against the light, but at seven am this is a risky strategy as shooting directly into the sun can jeopardise an otherwise strong image. The route of the river meant that there were no other options at this time, but at least with light behind me, I would have some depth of field.
I was begging the bear to come to the camera and he did exactly that – with a head held high and a face full of energy. I knew that if my maths was right, I had a big image. As soon as the bear was ten yards up river, I ran and grabbed the camera. It was “in the can” – the project was wrapped and we were home for breakfast.