The prospect of photographing grizzlies
Steve out in a small boat into the
waters of Southcentral
Alaska where a
sudden fall storm made for one of the
harrowing tales in his quest for
Setting out in a 26 foot sail boat, Steve
and a colleague followed the Katmai
Coast, capturing dramatic
the steep, rugged shores.
Knowing fall was approaching when the
seas can be particularly
they watched the weather and thought
hour short-cut across the Shelikof
Straight seemed like a
Across the sound, the engine died.
Then the weather changed.
up – in the opposite direction
to go. 40
knot winds and
20 foot waves buffeted the small boat.
pumps struggled to keep up,
hour after hour.
the pitch black of night, they
retreated for St. Augustine
a volcanic island jutting out of the
in search of safety
on the leeward side. Just before losing
contact with the Coast Guard, they
prepared their survival
the worst. Finally reaching the island, they
awoke in daylight anchored
between two huge boulders on either
side of the boat, which would have sunk
the boat given less
A Coast Guard helicopter flew by to see
if they were
still alive. Indeed they were.
To photograph polar bears on the Arctic coast,
Steve must get close - but not too close - to the ferocious
yet sometimes playful
Hanging out on the Arctic coast,
Steve spotted spring
cubs with their
mother, who eyed him warily.
The cubs however,
playing tag with
each other like school children,
would charge at Steve then run off.
After a few days, the
mother let her
guard down. She left the cubs playing
game with Steve while she went
off to feed on
curious bear tested
Steve. The young adult bear would
how close it could get before
Steve would retreat. Watching
response, the bear altered its tactics.
Dropping to the snow,
it rolled around
playfully, pretending to ignore Steve.
safe, Steve dropped to his
belly, one eye glued to his camera.
Slowly, the bear pushed itself toward
Steve. Slyly, it did
this until Steve
realized the bear was a mere 15
Native Americans believed that when
of the ice age retreated
in the north, the Creator left some
bears white to
remind man that ice
gave life to the land.
These white black
bears are extremely
rare, lacking a gene to give their coat
its black color. Steve set out to the
last area where a small
exists – near Princess
After convincing a tour group to drop
in the remote area, Steve
set up his tent near a stream where
bears feed only catching glimpses
of the elusive spirit bear
over five days.
With time running out on his trip,
one evening from
his tent to see the spirit bear. Startled,
it charged at him over a log, its hair
up, ears back, snapping
Speaking to it calmly, Steve backed
away from the
bear and it eventually
left. Believing he lost the opportunity
to photograph a spirit bear, Steve built
a blind and patiently
waited. It paid
off - the spirit bear eventually returned
and felt more comfortable with him
and his camera.