Friday, August 3, 2012

Skywatch Friday - Season 6, Episode 4 and BEARS

My skywatch post is going to stray from the subject of skies just a little, before getting back on track.   I'm thinking quite a few of you will understand my huge excitement yesterday, when I finally saw my first EVER bears in the wild.  This, even though I have lived in British Columbia for about 14 years, and one of those years was in Fraser Lake, where bears wandered fairly regularly through the village.  So, the Mama bear you see below was a BIG deal yesterday.  Here, she is fishing the lazy way, from a net that she has found by a log.
 Obviously, her method worked. We saw not only one, 
 but TWO of her offspring, 
and we also encountered this very large bear that I am going to call a "fellow" by virtue of "his" size alone. I had my 500 mm lens, so wasn't as close as these pictures seem.  We were very respectful, and after talking with locals, knew we were not in any likely danger.  This bear turned and disappeared into the long grass to his left right after the photo.  
I have to express my enormous gratitude to Bill.  It was his idea to return to Deboville Slough, after seeing otters but no bears on a previous trip there.  We had met a self-confessed "Bear Nut" on that first visit who told us there were many bears in the area.  Here is Bill, after our sighting, happy that he has seen bears for the first time in years, but even happier for me.  I'm not sure if the poor focus in most of the pictures is a camera problem, or if it is because of my great excitement, but I do know that I hope to return and do a little bit better with the photographs.  There are more bear pictures waiting in the wings, so this week's "My World" and "ABC Wednesday" posts will include more of this story, but for now,  
back to a skywatch theme.  Here are the skies I've seen lately.  First, mallards flying over the osprey nest in Port Moody..
 and a King Fisher at Deboville Slough, flying very high in cloudless skies shortly before we saw the bears.
In the morning, I enjoyed the puffy clouds over False Creek. (Cambie Bridge to the right.)
Here are more fireworks seen that evening during Vancouver's Celebration of Light. The presenting country was Vietnam. (I showed other photos from this event in a previous post.)
I've been trying to improve my firework captures, and read that one must be careful not to be downwind of the smoke, as it spoils many pictures.  However, in this one..
and in this one, I thought the smoke had a charm of its own.
This moon appeared in the daytime sky.
 On the way, we saw this mural in Burnaby at the corner of Hastings Street and Carleton Avenue. I like the way the people are looking up at the sky with their binoculars. 
I showed the mural below in my last post, but this time, am featuring the sky.   A fellow blogger, Leslie, had asked where this mural is located.  I checked on our most recent trip, and can now tell her that it was just a block away from the mural shown above.  It was near the corner of Hastings Street and Gilmore Avenue in Burnaby. 
 Although we didn't see bears on this first trip, the skies..
and scenery were amazing!
I know it is common knowledge that photographers must move around their subject to find the best angle and vantage point.  However, i am still learning this, and on Tuesday, I was really struck by the difference even a step in one direction or the other can make.  I felt rather powerful, as I moved the moon around at my whim, by shifting my position ever so slightly.  Here, I placed it between the lines connected to the mast of this boat.
Here, I put it behind the crane..
 and then shifted it so it could sit on top.
I placed it at the top of a tree, and then..
between two tree tops.
 I allowed it to peek over a lamp standard,
and between the railings of a structure near the bridge.
 I think I finally "get" it that a step one way or the other can completely change a picture.
We watched our second evening of fireworks put on by the Vancouver Festival of Lights series. Brazil was the host Country, and again, we stood on the Burrard Bridge, although this time, from a position that showed more of the water.  I took a few shots before darkness..  
to show some of the boats and people gathered for the show.
 We found Brazil's show to have a bit more variety..
 and I really liked some of the dramatic colours.
The water caught..
 some of the colours quite beautifully.
One might think I love fireworks, but actually, I worry about the stress they cause to wildlife and pets.  The eagle nest in Vanier Park probably has the best view of the show, and I always wonder if the parent eagles are able to prepare the chicks each year.  However, since fireworks are a fact of life in Vancouver, at least taking pictures of them gives me a reason to make the best of the situation, and this past show may have been my favourite of those I've seen. 
I took this photo around 4:30 a.m. when I woke to see the moon shining brightly outside my bedroom window.  It isn't that successful as a photograph (we could blame my sleepiness), but does record the event. 
Those are the skies (and bears!) in my life this past week.  It is always fun to share them, so thank you for taking the time to stop by the blog. For other skies around the world, I hope you will check out some of the amazing posts at the Friday Skywatch meme


  1. HI there - OK, so this post is rather bare of skies - but it is not bare of bears!

    Nice post - Stewart M

  2. Wonderful photos. I can see that you had a wonderful week. Happy sky watching.

    The Cotton Tree

  3. Wonderful series of photos. I love the Black bears and I enjoy seeing them in the "wild". Your sky photos are awesome. The fireworks and moon shots are wonderful. Great post, have a happy weekend.

  4. You have captured the Burnaby mural at Hastings and Gilmore in a very interesting way.

    The perspective of your short lens has somewhat distorted the angles of the building and made the street appear steeper than it really is.

    All in all, your photographer's eye has improved upon real life!

  5. And it is a truly beautiful collection!

  6. Although I see bears quite frequently, I still get a thrill every single time. How wonderful that you were able to get a shot of the two cubs with their mama.

    I also tried to photograph the full moon, but by the time I got the camera set up, figured out how to change the f-stop to what I wanted and adjust the other manual settings, it had slipped behind Maple Mountain and re-emerged an hour later small and far away. Maybe next time.

  7. Great blog!! Iam jealous of the bear sighting - I took three trips in Europe to see bears and failed everytime. Loved your moon shots too - great fun! Thanks for visiting my blog.

  8. Oh, I absolutely adore the second shot of the moon sliding down the crane as if it were a seesaw. Wonderful pictures as always, Carol, especially of the moon and fireworks. Also, nice to know you have a long lens and that you weren’t getting as close to the bears as it seemed. :)

  9. I love the bear pictures and those of the moon! You will have to ask Glenys about the environmental issues around fireworks. Phyllis

  10. fabulous collection of nature photos and how exciting to be able to photograph the bears on the prowl

  11. The bear shots are spectacular. I've never seen one in the wild, so I can only imagine how exciting it must have been.

  12. Fabulous series, loved the seeing the bears at a distance. The series of the moon was really good, especially balanced on the arm of the crane.

  13. Wow - amazing shots of the moon - and oh, those bears!

  14. Fantastic fireworks shots over the city. Wonderful full moon - taken with your 500mm lens, I assume. I love the moon sitting on top of the crane. And the bears are just wonderful. How wonderful that they have learned to fish using a net!

  15. I love all your magnificent pics !
    They are all amazing!

  16. Wonderful photos! I would be excited if I saw a wild bear too. ;) I worry about fireworks too but you photos are GREAT!

  17. i am laughing now. you really are a PHOTO HOG! ha ha! :)