Grizzly Bear After a Snow Bath

Square crop

Full size with a bit of trimming from the right hand side

One of my all time moments while visiting Yellowstone National Park was getting the oppurtunity to track this impressive male Grizzly as he meandered along the road going towards the park’s eastern entrance. That morning a snow shower had painted the previously autumn colored park a fresh white and that made tracking this bear a bit easier as you could see his impressive footprints zigzagging across the road and into the surrounding forest only to reappear a 100 meters down the road. At times it was a game of cat and mouse for he would sometimes disappear for a whole hour before showing up 1km down the road and so it took a bit of anticipating where he would show up again. He was actually following a pack of wolves and you can actually see (if very faintly) some footprints to his right between the OOF branches.

Specific Feedback Requested

I obviously wish I had a clear shot without the foreground vegetation and frozen pond. I shared a few different views. The first a less egregious crop, the second a big square crop and the last photo is the original with a bit of trimming from the right hand side. While I know I won’t get a clean view here (even with some creative brightening of the foreground to try and get it to the same exposure values as the snow but that feels like doing too much manipulation) so I would like some feedback in regards to which crop (or perhaps another crop) works best for you.

Technical Details

Canon 1Dx
Canon 200-400 f/4L IS with internal x1.4TC engaged
560mm at f/6.3


Very cool experience, Dvir. Awesome pose of the bear. I like the first two crops with the square being my favorite. On the square, I would heal/clone out the one branch near the bear’s head.

I was in Yellowstone during winter several years ago and had lots of snow but no bears. Great experience.


A very impressive image of this well fed grizzly. I will second @David_Bostock crop selection with the square one and also his idea on the cleanup of the branch. Regardless of choice on crop & cleanup it’s a fine image overall, Dvir… :+1:

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I believe that the best times to see the Grizzly Bears in the park, at least from my personal experience, is in the early spring when they just come out of hibernation and in the latter stages of autumn in October. I have always managed to see at least two different grizzlies on my autumn visits though I set out too look for them so that means scouting out the Eastern Entrance road up to Tower Junction near Lamar and sort of going back and forth hoping to get lucky. I will play with the luminosity of the oof branch and repost it. Thank you for your suggestions.

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Thank you for your reply Paul. I will play with the luminosity of the oof branches and repost. The bear was very large indeed and certainly well feed. This was perhaps the largest grizzly I have seen on my visits to the park and seeing him track a wolf pack like that was truly an amazing experience.

A very nice capture of this snowy Grizzly, Dvir! I prefer the 3rd image as it has a closer view of the bear yet stilll retains the environment. I think I would prefer less of a high key image because it looses all the environment (snow) textures and details except on the bear. It’s a personal choice as those things are important to me. Others may prefer the high key artistic look.

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This is a beautiful capture, Dvir. All three images are striking, and I think any one of them would be impressive to post or enlarge and print. But I like the third image of the full photo showing his surroundings. I love the high key processing, but that is a very personal decision depending on what type of look you are going for. Thanks for sharing all three!

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A magical scene (something I’ve witnessed few times despite dozens of visits to the GYE over the years). I’m partial to the last version, but I think it can be cropped tighter just a bit. First, on the right side—getting rid of the dark branches, which break up an otherwise mostly-pristine background—and perhaps a little off the bottom (still keeping some of that textured vegetation).

This will move the bear over a bit in the frame, which I think works well if you think of the bear and the two trees/bushes spiking up as three cohesive elements. Three shapes spread evenly across the frame, with the bear being the third, gives it some nice balance and symmetry, while having the obvious bonus of a “one of these things is not like the others” vibe.


I like the 3rd image also. Like others have said, it retains more of the environment. I agree with @Max_Waugh suggestion of the crop. I do like the high key processing. It really brings out the bear and still shows the environment around him. Very nicely done.


Thank you @Gary_Minish @robertakayne @Max_Waugh @Donna_Callais for your comments and suggestions! I went ahead and cropped the third image based on your suggestions. I am not sure if I took off more from the bottom than you were thinking @Max_Waugh?


Great specimen and wonderful capture !
It gives so many different options for composition !
I believe instead of clear view of the bear, the vegetation is giving nice framing to the subject.
Cheers :heavy_heart_exclamation:

I saw this earlier and didn’t get back to comment – so I’ll add a congratulations on the EP – very well deserved! I love the OOF vegetation in contrast to the detail of the snow on the bear’s coat. I like your last crop – it feels very well balanced. Wonderful story of the tracking – I had to get up and grab a sweater…

I just returned (from a bear trip, coincidentally), so I’m just seeing this now. Love the balance in the repost, Dvir. Congrats on the EP!

Love this! to be honest, I like the first shot. I differ from lots of other wildlife photographers in always having to have a clean shot. This one is clean enough for me…it shows him in his habitat and it looks more authentic to me than it might were he to just be out in the open. the scrubby bush gives me a sense of place and adds dynamic range in telling the whole story. My .02 cents. What I wouldn’t like is if he was behind the bush.

I have to agree with @Julie_Steelman. The first crop for me is the best. Granted, I am not a wildlife photographer by any stretch of the imagination, and you will never catch this South Florida native in anything below 60 degrees so please take my comments for what they are worth. Having said all that, I love the way he is captured in the first image you posted because the bushes in the foreground make him look more in his natural habitat. For me its well balanced and just an epic shot. Congrats!