You Snooze, You Lose: Bear Boat Part 1 « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

You Snooze, You Lose: Bear Boat Part 1

The group headed out for an afternoon with the bears in Geographic Harbor, Katmai National Park, AK. Guess who took this image???

Created with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens(hand held at 85mm) and the Canon EOS-5D Mark III. ISO 400. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/2500 sec. at f/6.3 in Av mode.

Extreme lower left Sensor/AI Servo Surround Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

You Snooze, You Lose: Bear Boat Part 1

They say that if God tries to teach you a lesson and you fail to get it he will keep trying to teach you that same lesson…. On my July 2011 two week Galapagos trip, I opted to stay in one afternoon–it was late in the trip and I was tired. Denise Ippolito led the group. I stayed on the boat and rested. Good friend and student Patrick Sparkman returned with the world’s best-ever image of Dark-billed Cuckoo on a lovely lichen-covered perch no less. You can see the image and read the whole (sad) story here.

Yes, that is my image that opens today’s blog post. That means that I was on the boat and not in the skiff. It was the first afternoon and I was a guest co-leader on a Robert O’Toole trip. I was going to be on the boat for almost two weeks. I would have lots of great opportunities. The sun was too bright. I had lots of work to do. And the main target was a Bald Eagle nest that I was not too fond of. So once again I opted to take the afternoon off…

Image courtesy of and copyright 2012: Robert O’Toole Photography. It was created with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR II AF lens and the Nikon D4 Digital SLR Camera. ISO 1400. Matrix metering at +1: 1/500 sec. at f/5.6 in manual mode. Rear focus AF.

Nikon folks are invited to check out Robert’s killer Nikon dSLR User’s Guide.

When the group returned just before sunset, I was anxious to learn how they had done. “It was lousy” they all said, “until the last half hour when we had a beautiful bear on a rock out in the water.” I was crestfallen; bad on me….

Image courtesy of and copyright 2012: Clemens van der Werf. This image was created with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM Autofocus Lens and the Canon EOS-5D Mark III ISO 1000. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/500 sec. at f/5.6 in manual mode. Rear focus AF.

Be sure to visit Clemens’ web site here and check out his two newest galleries: Coastal Brown Bears 2012 and Alaska Impressions 2012. Each contains some spectacular images.

Thanks to Robert and Clemens for their help in once again learning my lesson: if you snooze, you lose.

The same bear is pictured in each image; it is interesting to note the major differences in the two images. They are likely due to differences in the sensors and to individual processing preferences.

Bear Boat/Bears Catching Salmon IPT: September 2-9, 2013 from Kodiak, AK: $6699. Happy campers only! Maximum 6 + two leaders: Arthur Morris and Denise Ippolito. Openings: 3.

If you’d like to learn the details of the trip above please shoot me an e-mail with the words Bears Catching Salmon IPT cut and pasted into the Subject line.

Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear used to create the images in today’s post. Thanks a stack to all who have used the Shopper’s Guide links to purchase their gear as a thank you for all the free information that we bring you on the Blog and in the Bulletins. Before you purchase anything be sure to check out the advice in our Shopper’s Guide.

Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens Right now this is my all time favorite super telephoto lens. But my 600 II is coming soon…. It has great reach, AFs with my EOS-1D Mark IV, is relatively light, and the the four-stop IS is amazing.

Canon EOS-5D Mark III. Man, I am in love with this camera body. Both the files and the AF system are superb.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

LensCoats. I have a LensCoat on each of my big lenses to protect them from nicks and thus increase their re-sales value. All my big lens LensCoat stuff is in Hardwood Snow pattern.
LegCoat Tripod Leg Covers. I have four tripods active and each has a Hardwood Snow LegCoat on it to help prevent further damage to my tender shoulders 🙂 And you will love them in mega-cold weather….
Gizo GT3532 LS CF Tripod. This one replaces the GT3530LS Tripod and will last you a lifetime. I’ll be commenting on this new model soon. In short, I like it.
Mongoose M3.6 Tripod Head. Right now this is the best tripod head around for use with lenses that weigh less than 9 pounds. For heavier lenses, check out the Wimberley V2 head.
Double Bubble Level. You will find one in my camera’s hot shoe whenever I am not using flash.
The Lens Align Mark II. I use the Lens Align Mark II pretty much religiously to micro-adjust all of my gear an average of once a month and always before a major trip. Enjoy our free comprehensive tutorial here.
BreezeBrowser. I do not see how any digital photographer can exist without this program.

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8 comments to You Snooze, You Lose: Bear Boat Part 1

  • The difference in color and tonality between the two images has to do with the time in between the capture of each image (approx. 6 minutes: 7:27pm and 7:33pm). Robert’s image was taken with the subject in full late afternoon sunlight, and mine was taken with the subject in the shade of the nearby mountain/vegetation. Also the shooting angle is different. I was about 90 degrees to the right of Robert’s shooting position, hence the mountain/vegetation reflection in the water.

  • David Policansky

    Artie: I would have thought that you of all people would not second-guess himself; would not regret opportunities forgone that really weren’t opportunities because you were too tired, had other responsibilities, or otherwise really couldn’t have been there. Yes, the lesson is go if you can, but the lesson is NOT kill yourself in case you might miss something. You ALWAYS risk something by not going on a trip and not even you can go on every trip, that’s life. Nobody, absolutely NOBODY, would say of you that you are lazy or don’t take advantage of opportunities or so on and on, and nobody would think you don’t have your share (and then some) of killer images.

    Thanks for sharing the great images.


    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      No regrets. I snoozed, I lost :). I was being a bit lazy though but as you point out, sometimes our body’s need that.

  • I feel for you, considering those are two of the best bear images I’ve seen in 2012. We’ve all had that happen though, and will most-likely continue to have it happen from time to time…It’s unreasonable to expect to make the correct choice every minute of every day.

    I love the water color in Clemens image, but overall I gravitate toward Robert’s. The monotone-ish setting and incredible pose/body angle takes the cake!

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Matt, I made several images on the trip that I would not trade for the two above. That said Robert and Clemens would say the same thing. That said, I hate to miss anything!