I have largely moved my focus away from wildlife over the last
few years, but I am in awe of some of the work I continue to see
from other photographers in this challenging and crowded space.
One assignment in the wild that still excites me enough to take it
on every year is the sockeye salmon run in the rivers to the south
of Iliamna, Alaska. It may be an annual summer event, but unlike
Wimbledon, the dates are never locked down and so much
depends on random variables such as the snow falls in the
preceding winter, spring temperatures and the consequent river
levels. In the summer of 2023, the salmon started to run about 12-14
days after the median date from the last 20 years; we had to adapt.
This tight portrait, on a miserable rainy evening in very low light,
offers a generous level of textural detail. I like working when there
is no sun, especially in places like Alaska, as the narrower tonal
range removes noise and elevates the subject. This picture has a
symmetry to it and the bear’s eyes are engaged. It was a lucky glimpse
of a moment and a passing testament to the camera’s capability.