Behind The Image: The Snow Bear

Bear Photography Tours in Finland

Welcome to a new BearPhoto blog feature, where the BearPhoto guides will share some of their iconic, and more technically challenging images. Our guides will share stories behind images, and their expertise on how to capture images in challenging weather and lighting conditions.

Behind The Image

“Close to the Russian border, in the Kuhmo region of Finland is an area of untouched wilderness, which is home to Europe’s top apex predators, including the European brown bear. The first bears of the season awaken from their winter hibernation in early April. Patiently waiting in a dedicated observation hide, I was fortunate enough to witness one of the very first bears to emerge after a long, cold winter. Without making a sound, just like a ghost, this male Brown bear appeared from the depths of the snow-carpeted forests. Winter has yet to loosen its grip on these far Northern regions, and moments before the bear's arrival a very heavy blizzard occurred, causing poor visibility.”

Equipment & Settings:

Canon EOS 1Dx  |  Canon 500mm F4 lens |  F5.6  |  ISO 800  |  1/250th.

Tips for photographing in bears in snow:

When photographing bears in the snow, always ensure the cameras exposure compensation is set to about +1 stops. The vast brightness of the snow often fools the camera into wanting to underexpose the scene. Auto-focus in these situations is almost impossible, so I was limited to manual focus. Using a fast frame rate, I took lots of images to ensure I captured the right posture and pose. During heavy snowfall the camera will often struggle to lock focus, therefore, to increase the success rate focus the lens manually, paying careful attention to focus on the eyes/face of your subject.