Friday, September 19, 2008

Trouble Bruin

Bearing Up Remarkably Well

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


Like the advertising slogan famously said, never leave home without it. If you thought the subject of this shot was deodorant, look again at the bold label on the curved surface.

I took this photograph on my last day in Whitehorse, when I went on a memorable trip in a sturdy 4WD (SUV, to most of my readers) with the erudite Charlie McLaren, an architect and adventure enthusiast who also runs Shadow Lake Expeditions.

His vehicle was packed with all the essentials. Snacks. Water. Juice. Binoculars. Winch. Wire. Plenty of fuel. And, yup, bear spray.

I’d been so intent on shooting as we drove up Coal Road that I hadn’t looked down to the vicinity of his mid-seat console. Then, after we returned to the vehicle after making our first stop at a stunning lookout point, I noticed the can of spray.

As you know, I always shoot objects exactly as they are. I never move them to make use of better light conditions or more interesting backgrounds, nor do I illuminate them artificially. To my mind, that is the true challenge for a photographer.

In this case, the bright orange tab provided a striking contrast to the shiny silver and black tones of the canister, while the grey-blue hues of the interior worked really well in the frame.

And can you see the sky in the shot? Look carefully and you’ll see vivid blue sky with wafting white clouds reflected on the convex shape of the canister.

Finally, what do you do when confronted by a bear? Do you solemnly intone "Let us pray"? Er, that would be no. Instead, you follow the advice "Let us spray".


Visit MamaGeek and Cecily, creators of Photo Story Friday.

20 comments:

Maggie May said...

Spray first & pray later! That way you're more than covered!!!!!!
Might be a good idea to carry one in a handbag as you never know when you might need to spray something nasty!

Greyscale Territory said...

Love the quirkiness of these pics! Fascinating!

CrazyCath said...

Spray?
I would run. And pray. Let the others spray! lol
Love the shot, and the story.

Still can't get that picture out of my head of a bear charging directly at you and your group while several people clamber up onto a 4WD (yes some one else calls them that - I had no idea what SUV stood for until recently!) and still others are loading gun contraptions with these spray things and the engine is revving...

Where's our guest? Y'know, the one we invited and need to kinda take care of? Oh right. He's taking a photo.

Hmmmm.

pat houseworth said...

The fact you don't move or light up your photos for "effect" just boggles the mind....great work!

Tee aka The Diva's Thoughts said...

I never knew there was such a thing as a bear spray.

Dianne said...

I never arrange my subjects either, I just re-arrange me ;)

Your results are far better than mine!

MamaGeek said...

Spray and pray and hopefully stay! Ha. What an absolute hoot. Instinct tells me to run and run and run some more! Great shot David - love the angle.

Craver Vii said...

You have us looking right into the spray nozzle of that canister. All of the sudden, my eyes are itching...

Minkydo said...

Interesting story. Glad you mentioned the sky reflection for I was too busy trying to figure out what it was to notice.

:)

aims said...

It almost looks like the face of (a) God in the clouds! Perhaps appropriate?

Carolyn said...

Great story. We've had lots of bears around lately. My mom couldn't figure out why it smelled like 100 wet dogs at our house last week... but the mystery was explained when she disovered that a bear had been asleep in the tree in front of our house all day. It would have been an awesome photo op since the tree is only about ten feet away from our deck, but unfortunately I missed the whole thing because I was in Hungary. Grrrrr.

angie said...

I had no idea there was such a thing. Is it like pepper spray for a bear, or is it a nasty smell that makes bears go a running? The image of the sky and clouds reflected on the canister is remarkable.

ValleyGirl said...

Yep. Welcome to Canada!!!!

I love that your shots are unposed and undoctored. Shows some truly incredible talent.

Mrs. Organic said...

I thought the same thing, it does look like there's a face in the clouds of the second image. I love your clever shots.

Cecily R said...

Okay, does that stuff really work? Why would a little squirt make a giant hairy animal stop charging me?

I think I'd leave the spraying to someone else. With my luck I'd spray it the wrong way and hit myself!!!

Louise said...

Ummm, I thought when you met up with a bear, you went closer to try to get better pictures. I think I read about a crazy person doing that recently... somewhere. =)

Babzy said...

If you're going to spray a bear make sure you are up-wind or you'll be so busy trying to pull out your own eyeballs, you won't notice that your legs have just been ripped off.

You can't outrun a bear but you CAN outrun a slow uncle unless you ARE the slow uncle. If so, YOU better carry the bear spray.

Sandi McBride said...

You know David, I still find it hard to believe that Mrs. Authorblog took this as calmly as you proclaim...some friends and we were talking about your "expedition in the wilds of the back of beyond" and your interview with Jack the Bear...Mac allowed as how if the bear hadn't killed him, I would...so tell me again how calmly she took the news?
Sandi

Carrie and Troy Keiser said...

Love the reflection!
And where exactly was the spray when you had your encounter?!

Hilary said...

I see facial features in those clouds.