So, What Do You Think?

I’m currently reviewing my database of older images and I ran upon a couple of images that I’d like your honest opinion about. Both of these images are Brown Bears (Ursus arctos), taken on my first trip to Hallo Bay, Alaska in 2004. Coincidentally, this was my first trip using digital photography!

Here are the 2 images for your review:


Brown Bear looking out over Big River inlet


Brown bear watching action in the creek



Ok, so here’s the question:  Do you like this type of composition … the subject looking completely out of the frame, and with his back to us? One of the “rules” of nature photography is to place the animal so it is looking across and “into” the frame, not placing him so his head is looking out of the frame (as the first image is composed). It is also taught to show the facial details (i.e., the eyes, especially a “catch light” in the eyes). Neither of these images are composed “per rules”, but I’d like your honest opinion.

My opinion:  I tend to like this type of composition, especially when the animal is large and muscular … like the coastal brown bears shown here.  Why? To me, a composition like the above images creates an atmosphere of tension … uncertainty (what is he looking at? is there immediate danger?) … and being such a large and powerful mammal, what is out there that is commanding his full attention?  And I can seemingly place myself in that animal’s body, looking out into it’s environment.

There’s no right or wrong answers, but I tend to like this type of image (although it can be overdone, if not careful). I’m usually reluctant to shoot many images using this composition, not knowing if the market is there for such images.

Thanks for your opinion!  Oh, yes, I’m working my way through some of my old Hallo Bay brown bear images right now … fresh on my mind since I just confirmed a return photo shoot with the brown bears of Hallo Bay later this year. This will be my fifth trip to Hallo Bay and I’m just as eager now as I was before my first trip in 2004! Anyone else ready to go?

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