Bear Track

Last Summer I was on a cruise to Kamchatka Peninsula, where we were in search for bears. The first days we had no luck with it, but on one day we came to a bay that is known for appearances of bears. The expedition crew went ashore to check the situation and soon they told via radio that they have discovered a fresh track of a brown bear along the bank of a river that terminates in the bay.

So all guests also went ashore to check the track and to enjoy the beautiful shore. We had to be very careful because the track was fresh and the bear could be near. While others were watching out for it, I was searching for a nice scene of paw prints in the sand. Since there were a lot of people walking around it was not easy to find an area with only bear paws and no other boot prints. But I found one. First I took a photo of only one paw print from straight above. It was about the size of my hand. The soft light of the sun trying to break though an overcast sky produced nice and smooth shadows in the dark gray volcanic sand.

50mm  f/7.1  1/100sec  ISO200

Next I went down on my knees to take a shot of a longer part of the bear track. Unfortunately I could only frame 3 paws in a row without getting ugly boot prints in the picture. But I like the scene either. Here you can see the difference between a front and rear paw. The front paw, which is the hand, is smaller but deeper pressed into the sand. The arms have to carry a heavier load than the legs. The rear paw has a larger sole and due to less weight in the back the print is quite weak. All the paw prints were nearly in line, which was another interesting aspect to notice. A bear seems to walk like a fashion model on the runway. Nature is so amazing.

34mm  f/7.1  1/125sec  ISO200

With the last photo I wanted to capture all the different prints at the river bank together with the river in one scene. You can see the bear paws, a track of a sea gull and of course the rubber boot print of a cruise guest. Although we did not see any bear this time, observing all the prints in the sand was amazing. I've never seen a bear track in my life before and therefore was very excited about that.

39mm  f/8  1/160sec  ISO200

The photos were taken with my EOS 600D camera and my EF-S 18-55mm standard zoom kit lens. ISO was at a fixed value of 200 due to overcast sky. As usually for me, the camera was again set into P mode this time and calculated aperture and shutter speed automatically.