Grizzlies of the Chilcotin - Image Heavy

Discussion in 'Nature' started by denniscloutier, Nov 11, 2015.

  1. denniscloutier

    denniscloutier Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 24, 2011
    I spent the last week in September at Chilko Lake in BC photographing grizzlies, and a few eagles. It was an incredible trip. It was lead by John Marriott, who is an outstanding outdoor photographer. The trip was timed to coincide with the salmon run. We were seeing 20 to 30 bears per day, including many cubs.

    I was the only one shooting M43. In fact everyone else was shooting 1Dx or 7D mk II bodies with 500mm lenses. I was using my EM-1 with a 300 mm f 2.8 lens. I think I stayed up with the big boys pretty well, but there were a couple of areas where my equipment lagged:

    A 50 shot buffer sounds great, but it fills pretty fast when you're shooting grizzly cubs play fighting at 10 fps. Once the buffer is full the slow write speed to card is infuriating. I have since bought a faster card, which helps some. I understand that the EM-5 Mk II has a much faster write speed, so hopefully this is the case with the new EM-1.

    Better CAF would be useful for birds in flight and things like running bears. The EM-1 is good, but it isn't up to 1Dx standards. Of course given the price difference that isn't really a fair comparison.

    Overall I was very happy with my gear and with the photos. I shot about 35,000 photos (really!, not a typo). I deleted about 2/3 of them right away. I was shooting at a high frame rate, so I many duplicates.

    Anyways, here are some of my favourites.

    _9270828.jpg _9290502-2.jpg _9290522-4.jpg _9300245-3.jpg _9300872-2.jpg _A010776-3.jpg _A020386-2.jpg _A030244.jpg
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  2. tradesmith45

    tradesmith45 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 13, 2012
    Wonderful shots Dennis! & by the looks, a wonderful trip.

    Where was the base for this trip?

    See lots of water. Did you use waders?
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  3. mnhoj

    mnhoj There and back again

    Dec 3, 2011
    Los Angeles
    John M
    Well done Dennis.
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  4. denniscloutier

    denniscloutier Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 24, 2011

    We stayed at the Tsylos Lodge. We went out in fly fishing boats like this:

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  5. m4/3boy

    m4/3boy Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 21, 2013
    What 300 f/2.8!

    Great shots also. Not sure I could ever do 35,000 shots in a week.
  6. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Hi, great shots!

    If you're shooting RAW+JPEG, switching to RAW ONLY will reduce buffering quite a bit.
    In one test, only buffer 34 images could be shot continuously if shooting RAW+JPEG (vs 50 images in RAW OR JPEG); see

  7. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    Great shots! Thats a lot of photos to have to sort through!
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  8. Bomber

    Bomber Mu-43 Veteran

    Great photos Dennis, nice and sharp.

    Cheers Glen
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  9. denniscloutier

    denniscloutier Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 24, 2011
    I'm using the Olympus 4/3 lens. We were out on the water for 8 hours/day for 6 1/2 days and most of the time we had bears in sight. I think I was pretty typical in terms of how many shots I fired. Of course many were complete garbage and most of the rest were more or less duplicates, so once I weeded them down I was left with just under 1,000 that I didn't delete. Of those I have about 160 that I like.

    Our tour leader was a veteran outdoor photographer who has been there many times. I noticed he was quite a bit more selective, but even he shot thousands and deleted most of them.
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  10. maritan

    maritan Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 30, 2014
    What an awesome set! Looks like such a wonderful time too. I will eventually (in a few years) go on one of these myself.
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  11. TwoWheels

    TwoWheels Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 28, 2014
    British Columbia
    Fantastic photos! I've looked at trips led by him before but have never taken one. Any comments on the trip, group size, how it's conducted, etc.? Is it educational with instruction or is it more for advanced photographers who are just looking to be in the right spot? Would you take another trip led by him?
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  12. denniscloutier

    denniscloutier Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 24, 2011
    Thanks. On this trip there were 5 photographers plus John. Three of the five were repeat customers. I'm definitely planning another trip with him. We were in two boats with three photographers plus a guide in each boat. John mixed things up so we all got to spend time with him as well as with both guides. One of the guides was fantastic and one was good. The food and accommodations were top notch.

    John does two types of trips. This was a tour, where he is shooting beside you. I think this is for "more advanced photographers who are just looking to be in the right spot". There is no formal instructional part of these trips, but I learned a fair bit from him just the same. He also runs workshops, where he is more focused on teaching. I haven't done one of those but I've heard they're very instructional.
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  13. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    Great stuff Dennis. Please post more!
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  14. Vandy

    Vandy Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 8, 2015
    Very nice images. I really like the looks on some of those buggers. They don't look too mean, no? ;)
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  15. denniscloutier

    denniscloutier Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 24, 2011
    In some of my pics they look downright cuddly.

    These guys didn't view us as a food source, or as a threat, so they pretty much ignored us. We were able to get pretty close. But we were in boats and could get away quickly if one of them started to get annoyed, and we had guides that were very familiar with working around bears, so I felt safe. But in other circumstances I'd still want to give them a wide berth.
  16. m4/3boy

    m4/3boy Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 21, 2013
    How many batteries did you use everyday? With that many clicks seems that would just suck batteries dry quickly each day.
  17. denniscloutier

    denniscloutier Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 24, 2011
    I changed my batteries at lunch. I had the grip on. Usually the battery in the grip would last most of the morning before starting to use the battery in the body.
  18. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Fantastic images. Love the fish in the bear's mouth.
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  19. tanngrisnir3

    tanngrisnir3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 18, 2011
    This is a clear case of not needing to be up to the standards of any FF beast.

    There's really no technical quality or characteristic of the shots that needs improvement or could be 'better'.

  20. denniscloutier

    denniscloutier Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 24, 2011

    Well, some of the shots were at 1600 iso, which is as high as I like to go. I would definitely like to be able to go a stop or two higher as the full frame guys can. And, as I said above, faster write speed to the card and faster CAF would be good. But aside from that I don't think I'm giving anything up in M43.

    Overall the lower cost and size/weight are well worth it. But, having said that, I got to handle one of the new Canon 300mm f2.8 lenses. It is lighter and not much bigger than mine!