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Photos Added: Great Bear Rainforest 2009

It’s hard enough trying to stay up-to-date when it comes to processing new photos. Finding time to reprocess old collections for the archive is even more challenging. If you haven’t noticed, the archive mostly houses galleries of photos from 2015 or so, to present. That’s just because I haven’t had time to process all the older stuff again (many of those images were initially saved at 400-500 pixels for my old website).

With my recent trip cancellations (no San Juan Island, and two Yellowstone spring trips halted), I’ve managed to find a little more time for the computer. I recently cranked out my Patagonia and Yellowstone Winter photos from this year. Next, I chose to pick out one of the older trips to work on, and I settled on my very first Great Bear Rainforest adventure.

This trip took place in 2009, before I became a full time professional photographer. This part of coastal British Columbia had only recently begun making headlines, as efforts to set it aside for conversation were being publicized more frequently in attempts to drum up support for the region. It was my first time hearing about the spirit bear, the rare white-phase black bear only found in this part of the world. Unlike so many of the other exotic wildlife locales I had started to and still wanted to visit, this one was a lot closer to home. So I joined an excursion slated for late September. The company I chose, Ocean Adventures Charter Company, was run by a husband and wife team, Trish and Eric, who specialized in taking small groups into the area aboard their ship, the Great Bear II. It was a perfect setup for me: small group, not too intense on the photography side (my other choice was a guide who ended each day with slide shows and lectures), while still allowing me to get my shooting in.

The trip was magical. Wet, but memorable. I did get to see my first spirit bears, as well as black and grizzly bears. I got my first decent marten (technically, Pacific marten, a separate species from the American martens I see in Yellowstone) photo. The humpback whales provided the surprise highlight of the trip with a great breaching show in the rain. And of course, the scenery was fantastic. As a bonus, I came away with new friends… a few years later I was partnering with Trish and Eric for my Great Bear Rainforest photo tours.

I’ve reprocessed and uploaded a small collection of images from this trip to the archive. The photos were taken using older camera equipment, so print and licensing sizes may be more limited than more recent images. You can view the full gallery here, or get a quick preview below first:

Spirit Bear

During my first visit to what are now overcrowded viewing platforms (we no longer visit this area for my tours), we saw two spirit bears.

Spirit Bear

This is one of my favorite spirit bear photos, showing the ghostly bear in its lovely forest environment.

Spirit Bear

Despite the rainy conditions, we we afforded some nice glimpses of the white bears.

Bonaparte's Gulls

A blur of Bonaparte’s Gulls circles over an inlet in British Columbia.

Grizzly Bear Family

We spent some time watching this grizzly bear family in a peaceful inlet.

Grizzly Bear Cub

This was quite the adorable cub!

Pacific Marten

A Pacific marten scours the shoreline for salmon carcasses.

Humpback Whale Breach

Humpback whales provided the some of the top highlights of this trip. We witnessed a lot of fin slapping and breaching.

Humpback Whale

One of my favorite whale shots to this day. I love how the low fog is shaped like a whale fluke.


Nobody can ever complain that the Great Bear Rainforest lacks pretty landscapes.


View the full Great Bear Rainforest 2009 gallery (54 photos)

Interested in joining a Great Bear Rainforest tour? Learn more here, and get on the waiting list for 2024.


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