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04-03-2013, 02:15 AM   #1
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bear photography

I will be Juneau in May/June and will taking my Pentax K-x and 2 lenses a 24-60mm 2.8f and a 18-250mm.no tripod. I am hoping to take some photos of bears while on a fly-in bear viewing trip, Would I need any other lens? We were told that most sightings are between 50-150 yards with an occassional one at 30 ft. Has anyone else gone on one of these trips and what did they take. thanks

04-03-2013, 01:45 PM   #2
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May/June should provide plenty of daylight for the 18-250. The 24-60 won't be needed unless you're shooting at night. Assuming you are limited by weight/bulk, maybe leave the 24-60 at home in exchange for something wider than 18mm; for landscapes, not bears.

P.S. I'm not a bear expert but 30 feet is too close. Will you be in an armored vehicle, or will the bears be caged in a zoo?
04-03-2013, 02:01 PM   #3
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The recommended lens for bears used to be 600mm minimum on FF, so at least 400 on APS-c. But if you can shoot out the bus window.... I've taken pictures of bears with my 60-250, with lots of people around and a clear line of retreat, but I wouldn't recommend it. I wanted to get closer than the bear guy would allow. He was enjoying a meal and there other bears around who would have poached it if he'd left it... so I had that in my favour, but he was definitely getting a little annoyed. I have an A-400 now and I never have to do this again.

04-03-2013, 02:01 PM   #4
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Bear photos? You need the Bigma + a teleconverter.

j/k the 18-250 is a solid lens, but its quality at the long end may leave you frustrated, even in good light.

Maybe just spring for a da 55-300? It's a nice jump in quality, and it can go a little longer too. The range seems perfect given the distances you listed as well.

04-03-2013, 02:26 PM   #5
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A 250mm lens will capture a bear of average shoulder height (102cm) in your frame at about 56 feet (18 years). At 50 yards, you'd be looking at a 800mm lens to fit the frame. At 150 yards, the bear will be a very small subject in your lens.

Assuming I did the calculations of FL/d = h/H, where FL is focal length, d is subject distance, h is sensor height (or projected height on sensor), and H is height of subject.
04-03-2013, 09:12 PM   #6
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I had to back up to get this with my 400mm. Grizzly's would be best with 600mm. Any closer and they are watching you instead of paying attention to whatever they do. A 500mm would work as well, depending on light and clarity you may crop to get good shots.

04-03-2013, 09:22 PM   #7
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@derekkite, great shot.
04-03-2013, 09:34 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by kempie Quote
I will be Juneau in May/June and will taking my Pentax K-x and 2 lenses a 24-60mm 2.8f and a 18-250mm.no tripod. I am hoping to take some photos of bears while on a fly-in bear viewing trip, Would I need any other lens? We were told that most sightings are between 50-150 yards with an occassional one at 30 ft. Has anyone else gone on one of these trips and what did they take. thanks
OK thanks we will be on a kayak at Pack creek on Admiralty Island and then walking to an observation platform. Great photos

04-04-2013, 12:57 AM   #9
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My guess would be lens as long as possible, to keep me well away from these guys.

Remember you could maybe just hire what you need for your trip, rather than buying a specialist lens for a one off trip.

Mind you, your LBA may have something to say about that.
04-04-2013, 02:59 AM   #10
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I prefer my Sigma 8-16 for bear photos, particularly grizzlies. Really excitng..
04-04-2013, 03:10 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
I prefer my Sigma 8-16 for bear photos, particularly grizzlies. Really excitng..
Aye, but we're not all as fit as you or as young, when it comes to the running part.
04-04-2013, 05:03 AM   #12
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/cliche: You don't have to outrun the bear. You just have to outrun someone else there with you.
04-04-2013, 05:10 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
You just have to outrun someone else there with you
Point well made, but if it's me or Heie, I could be in trouble.
04-04-2013, 06:32 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
I prefer my Sigma 8-16 for bear photos, particularly grizzlies. Really excitng..
Quit bragging! Just because you are massively fleet of foot doesn't mean the rest of us are!

NaCl(with a sigma 8-16 I could probably get some nice close ups of bear teeth)H2O
04-04-2013, 12:30 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by kempie Quote
I will be Juneau in May/June and will taking my Pentax K-x and 2 lenses a 24-60mm 2.8f and a 18-250mm.no tripod. I am hoping to take some photos of bears while on a fly-in bear viewing trip, Would I need any other lens? We were told that most sightings are between 50-150 yards with an occassional one at 30 ft. Has anyone else gone on one of these trips and what did they take. thanks
Someone once said, as a general comment on photography, if you think you are too close, move closer. Ignore this at all costs

Seriously, I would consider taking a very long lens bears can out run humans, so if you are close enough to fill the frame with a lens that only goes out to 250mm you are likely within the bears range of interest, and no, you will not be able to escape.

If you are limited to 250mm, shoot from a car.

Also, do not carry food with you, and have a bear whistle

Honestly the only time I have been close to a bear is once when hiking I was caught in a thunder storm in the mountains. There ws a lightning strike somewhere up hill followed by a bear passing 10feet in front of my path, running full speed down hill. Incan only assume the lightning hit very close to the bear as it never saw me
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