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Interview with Daniel Hurtubise about his trip to photograph bears in the Alaskan Wild

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In this interview, Ellie and Jenna, age 7, asked Daniel all the “tough questions” about his trip to photograph Alaskan Brown Bears. I thought rather than a formal interview, it might be more fun to have questions asked from the perspective and eyes of a child.  And I think I made a good decision. Enjoy learning more about Daniel Hurtubise’s experience.

How close did you get to the bears?

The closest I got as 10’ when one of them walked by from the top of the hill to go down to the stream. Here’s a good example of how close we were.

dsc_0363 Interview with Daniel Hurtubise about his trip to photograph bears in the Alaskan Wild Guest Bloggers Interviews

The guy happened to be … me.

How did you get so close to the bears?

We were walking. Our guide (Jeff Duck which I thank soooo much) was with us. He was carrying a gun with rubber bullets and if that didn’t do it he had a pistol with real bullets. Fortunately he never had to use it. The key is to make sure that the bears always have enough space. You can tell if you get too close to them because they will start to stare at you. Now is the time to pull back.

What kind of bears did you see? How many types?

The only ones that live where we were are Brown Alaskan Bear. They are not Grizzly since those live at least 30 miles from the shore.

Were you ever scared?

The only time I got nervous was when that bear walked by me. He kind of surprised me. But you get so focus on your shots that you barely remember that they are wild animals.

What kind of other kinds of animals did you see?

We saw some Bald Eagles and a lot of Seagulls. They hang around the bears to eat of their left over.
dhb_8741 Interview with Daniel Hurtubise about his trip to photograph bears in the Alaskan Wild Guest Bloggers Interviews

Where did you sleep?

We slept in a tent… that got destroyed the first night by 80 mph wind.

dhb_0786 Interview with Daniel Hurtubise about his trip to photograph bears in the Alaskan Wild Guest Bloggers Interviews

dscn1245 Interview with Daniel Hurtubise about his trip to photograph bears in the Alaskan Wild Guest Bloggers Interviews

What did you eat since there were no restaurants or kitchens?

We brought some dried food from Mountain House. My favorite one was Chicken Polynesian but on that one I’m having a mac & cheese (I’m on the right)

dscn1217 Interview with Daniel Hurtubise about his trip to photograph bears in the Alaskan Wild Guest Bloggers Interviews

Did you make s’mores?

No we brought along some snacks like Craisins (Raisins & Cranberries) along with some nuts. But I wish I had some!

Where did you wash up, shower, etc? Or was it like our camp overnights where we just stay dirty?

We did not. We spent 4 days at Mirror Lake(with the bears) so we didn’t bother showering. And to be honest with you the water of the lake was wayyyy too cold.  We used bottled water to brush our teeth.

What was the temperature like in Summer in Alaska?

Mirror Lake was very windy and it rained. The temperature was in the high 40’s. The rest of the trip was more enjoyable weather. Sunny and in the 60’s-70s. The last 2 days in Anchorage went all the way to the 80’s.

How many hours did it stay light out?

At this time of the year the sun shows about around 5:30 am and goes down at around 10:30 pm. So you have plenty of good light for photography.

What else did you do besides take pictures?

Honestly, not much. I did some sightseeing back in Anchorage probably because I was sick of my camera by then J. But don’t get me wrong I always carry a Point & Shoot.

Would 7 year old girls have fun in the Alaskan wild?

Oh I’m sure you would, but I would suggest places like Brooks (a tourist type place). You could also see a lot more animals in those places.

What was your favorite picture you took from your whole trip?

It has to be that head shot of the bear. The minute I looked at it on my camera I decided that it was a “she” and that I was in love.
dhb_8627 Interview with Daniel Hurtubise about his trip to photograph bears in the Alaskan Wild Guest Bloggers Interviews

My girls and I love that close up the most too.  Here are a few more incredible shots!

fisherbear Interview with Daniel Hurtubise about his trip to photograph bears in the Alaskan Wild Guest Bloggers Interviews

What was your favorite story from the trip?

Meeting with Jonathan, the captain of the Time Bandit from the “Deadliest Catch” TV show on Discovery. He is very funny and was very nice to me.

dan-and-johnathan_ Interview with Daniel Hurtubise about his trip to photograph bears in the Alaskan Wild Guest Bloggers Interviews

Would you like to do it again?

I’m actually looking to organize a group for next summer. There is only a window of about 2 weeks where you can get so close to the bear because they are not starving or reproducing. I’m looking into bringing 5 other photographers with me.

If you went again, what would you do differently?

Definitely stay longer. I would also bring some serious rain gear to keep shooting under harsh conditions. And I would also bring some more serious climbing gear to get up those glacier. I only had my boots crampons to help.

What lenses did you use the most? The least?

By far my 70-200 (sometimes with a TC 1.4) but I almost didn’t used my 24-70. I used my 10-24 a lot too.

And was there a particular lens or piece of camera equipment you wish you brought that you left behind?

My 500mm L. I could have got some serious head shots.

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  1. Pam L. on May 19, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Once again, Jessica, outstanding article! Recently I found myself trying to tweek my logo/website and make some marketing pieces. Fortunately I stopped myself just in time and am in the process of working with a designer who I feel really “gets” me. You are so right!

  2. Stephanie on May 19, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Sound. Very sound advice.

  3. Fauxtographer's Guild on May 19, 2010 at 10:52 am

    GREAT article – Thanks for encouraging new photographers to discover who they are and pursue their own path. We shared an overview of the article here: http://fauxtographersguild.wordpress.com/2010/05/19/how-to-be-you/

  4. Karen Taggart on May 19, 2010 at 10:55 am

    Thank you so much for this post! It’s like you were talking directly to me. 🙂 I have been so stuck trying to figure out my “image”, choose a logo & colors, designa website & blog etc etc. Maybe this will help!

  5. Jessica W. on May 19, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Very interesting article!! Love your advice through this series of posts!!

  6. Kai on May 19, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    I appreciate this advice as well as the rest that you’ve given so far. It is pretty hard to step back from researching all your competition and then not turn around and do the same thing on your own blog/website. My only question is in regards to music, which you touched on very briefly. Is there a reason why so many photog’s have auto-play music on their webpages? What is this supposed to accomplish? I must admit I’m biased against unsolicited music on any website (I’m often listening to my own and the often sudden and loud interruption is not at all welcome), but I was also completely taken aback in my research at just how very prevalent it is. Do customers connect with the website better when there’s music? Or is it another way to showcase style and taste? A combination of both? A direct reaction to published research on music and selection methods?

  7. Jessica Cudzilo on May 19, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    @Kai “Do customers connect with the website better when there’s music? Or is it another way to showcase style and taste? A combination of both?”I think that’s exactly what it is. Music helps people get to know you a bit better and also – like you said – connect with the photos. I think it’s a personal thing though and no matter which way you want to go is the right way.

  8. Lindsay on May 19, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    My only question is about showcasing only the work you want to attract. What happens when your family reunion or your friend that you did boudoir for is expecting you to post those photos because that’s what you do with all of your other clients? (OK maybe not the boudoir ones, but you catch my drift.) I almost feel obligated to post something from that session because they’re expecting that it be there.

  9. Michelle Corbo on May 19, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    I am REALLY enjoying this blog series. Thank you so much for taking the time to share… I hope I can join one of the workshops soon!

  10. Nance H on May 20, 2010 at 9:34 am

    I am a fan on FB!

  11. Jessica Cudzilo on May 21, 2010 at 11:28 am

    @Lindsay Great question and one that often gets asked. It really boils down to one word: obligated. Personally, I do not ever want to let obligation lead me in any decisions I make in my business. Obviously, this does not include taking care of clients, running a business legally – all the obvious stuff – but when it comes to feeling obligated … I never want to do something that doesn’t benefit the business I’m running out of obligation. That’s not how successful business run themselves, you know? This doesn’t mean that you can’t post them to a FB Fan page if you’d like – that’s a different story b/c clients will not be looking for your photos on FB – they’ll be looking for your site and blog. Hope this helps! 🙂

  12. Image Masking on May 22, 2010 at 2:44 am

    wow! what a nice picture!!thanks for sharing

  13. Estelle Z. on May 22, 2010 at 7:53 am

    Write 3 words that describe you? Fun, loving, determined!If you are in business already, write 3 words that describe your business/company/brand as well. Fun, simple, unique

  14. Holly on June 16, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Gosh, this is just amazing! I have read and read for hours, and even worked up enough nerve to consult with a few acquaintes about the business, and have been very surprised at the attitude in which people “already established” treat those that are just up in coming. I felt like I knew I was on the right track with starting this business, for the first time, I actually wanted to work, and cared about what I was doing. I have 2 kids and am divorced, never finished college because I was too busy taking care of my family. I got to the point where I knew what I wanted to do instead of what was expected of me to do (work a 9 – 5 or waitress..etc) I’ve done all that! I was tired of it! But now what?..I know I have the drive and for sure, and the creativity do become a great photographer…but in doing so, I realized how many unanswered questions I had, and the lack of kind people to help me answer them. I am very grateful you have taken the time you write this! After being completely torn down by so-called “professionals” (that I have to say were anything BUT!) I feel like I have been placed on the right track again. So thank you!! God Bless!! ~Holly

  15. MT on March 14, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Hello, you have some great words of wisdom. I’ve decied to jump into this year. I’m still learnign alot and I’m super glad I had chance to read our blog. What would you say about starting off on Facebook??Thanks;)

  16. Christina on April 24, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Thank you, this is great information for those of us that are just starting out and don’t have money to toss into a website. I’m using my blog as a place to build my portfolio, showcase my work and find my style.

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