A Sad Day in the Rockies

I had the chance of meeting Brutus many years ago and I still remember that sunny January day when he came out for a photoshoot. All he wanted to do was go back to sleep, as you can see, he made a nice little hole to curl up in. Brutus has been a part of the Montana Grizzly Encounter for the last 19 years but sadly passed away last week. He was a joy to work with and be around and he will be missed by all that met him.

Grizzlies in Snow

Grizzlies have always been a species of interest to me and while I have spent many a year in Montana, I have only had a few encounters photographing them but each time has been memorable. Grizzlies come out in the Spring from hibernation, fatten up over summer and then go back to sleep in the winter time. At least in a normal year that’s what happens. If they don’t fatten up enough or if it gets to warm out then they wake back up to forage. This usually isn’t good. They tend to be the most dangerous when they are in forage mode.


A number of years back I had the chance to photograph a Grizzly outside of Bozeman in the winter named Brutus. He was orphaned as a cub and rescued. He has since grown up to be a rather famous male grizzly bear. Of course the whole time he was being photographed all he wanted to do was dig a hole and go right back to sleep. Now in this instance I was using the 70-300 VR which I wouldn’t normally recommend for working with Grizzlies in the winter because that would mean the bear is too close. A 600 f/4 or 800 f/5.6 with a teleconverter is the best option allowing you to keep a safe distance while also making it possible to get the shots you want.

New to the Blog!

For the past couple of weeks i have been working on remodeling and updating my site. Much of this was due to my good friend RC Concepcion who not only helped with the remodeling process but has taught me a number of things about wordpress. Well with Photoshop world done, which was one great event, i went back to tweaky things. Yesterday I put up a number of galleries showing off some more of my work. I ended working on so many that i actually ran out of space on my site in the ftp page and there’s still more to come! Give them a look see they are all up top, well worth your time.

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[swf]http://www.jakepeterson.org/swf_imgs/mlcgbe0862.swf, 585, 435[/swf]

My One Hundreth post!


This is my one hundreth post! I thought since this is a special post I’d use an image of one of my favorite creatures, the Grizzly Bear. This is Brutus, a really awesome bear that i had the privilege to work with. I of course have to thank Jeff Cable, my Dad and my Mom for making it possible. I can’t say much more so you will just have to catch the rest in the Lexar add that this guy will be featured in.

Image captured with D2HS, 70-300 AF-S VR on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Endings of an awesome vacation


The trip was a blast. Dad, Mom and me came back with probably close to 50,000 images amongst the three of us. Amazing how well the wildlife and weather cooperated for us during these past 16 days. Even all the flights were on time. Of course all trips have to end at some point, including ours. We didn’t fly out on a turbo 207 like the one above, but since i didn’t take any shoots of the jets we were on, i figured that this would be appropriate to end on.


Part of our trip was out on Kodiak Island. Some of the largest bears in Alaska can be found there, and we wanted to see them. This one particular bear, a sow probably around 4 or 5, was a complete butterball. When she stood you could see nothing but a round ball of fluff. Very good looking bear but a little heavy for the age. Considering how cautious she was fishing when other bears around, she would run a good distance whenever a male was in the river, we concluded that the weight must have been from grasses.


The salmon run really hadn’t come in on the river in the days before we arrived, but when we got out there the salmon were in the thousands. Lucky break again for us. First, great weather the whole trip and now fish for the bears. Unfortunately due to the lateness of fish arriving, which is common all over the state right now, most of the larger bears weren’t around fishing. However some of the younger bears, mostly around 3 yrs old and up, were out entertaining us.


Of course bears aren’t the only creatures at the river that we are photographing. Gold Crown Sparrows are busy flying around grabbing the insects off the Cow Parsnip or Angelica, that accumulate on the top of the white flowers.


Another visitor to the fish frenzy is the Bald Eagle. You can always count on at least one around when the bears are fishing.


When the bears go fishing, everyone is invited. There are always Glacous Gulls around to pick up those scraps they leave. When the salmon run is slow they eat the whole fish not leaving much, but when the run is going well they tend to eat just the skin and roe, leaving most of the fish for others to cleanup, and it always is.


Bears were not the only thing that we were photographing. There was a Red Fox den at the site where we were staying. The den had 6 pups that we saw for sure, probably a few weeks old. Here are 2 of them trying to get mom to feed them. They are difficult to shoot, they keep making me laugh.

It just keeps getting better


Wow how amazing its been here. So many bears, the highest we saw were 40 bears. They were all so great looking, their fur coats hadn’t shed for the most part. Some of them were beginning to lose their winters coats while others were not. These amazing creatures spend so much of their time wading out in the rivers and either standing or sitting, watch the fish go by. During the Salmon run they spend much of their time fishing, instead of eating grasses, which is what they eat half the time. Truly remarkable animals.


The bears get tired, who wouldn’t after standing all day in the river in fast currents. When they do they move over to a vacant rockor patch of grass and sleep for a while to recover. They also do this to watch fish and just not waste any of those precious calories that they spend so much timing getting.


This is one of the bears chumping down on a salmon he had just caught from the river behind him.

What a start!!!


Well if u have been to my dad’s blog then you probably have already read that we( Dad, Mom, and myself) are up in Alaska photographing bears. We just got in from being out in the wilderness for 5 days, so we’re getting batteries charged, clothes cleaned, and of course images edited. Between the 3 of us we took over 30,000 images and we have just begun to edit them. We’re getting ready to head out again for more bear photography and won’t be able to blog for another week or so. There is much more to come.

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