Grizzly Aggression

Alan Goldberg

Grizzly bears will stand on their hind legs to see greater distances, but they can also exhibit aggressive behavior by doing this just before an attack. Sometimes young bears will do a false charge in which they run at you and then stop. This is designed to intimate and strike fear in an opponent. Jim has been the recipient of both types of behavior, and trust him, these intimidation techniques work! Scared to death was he! He photographed this bear in the Alaskan panhandle in the 90’s when he was still shooting film with the Mamiya RZ 67. Unfortunately Jim had to manually advance the film with a cocking mechanism, and therefore he was only able to get one frame of this action. Today Jim would have fired off 14 frames per second and captured a range of motion. His settings were unrecorded, but he remembered using a 350 mm fixed focal length lens. He can tell that his shutter speed was 1/400th of a second because the water dripping from the bear’s claws is sharp, and this was the fastest speed possible on this camera body. The lens aperture was undoubtedly f/5.6, the largest opening available on that lens, because that allowed him to use a fast shutter. Jim always used a tripod with this camera. After he took the shot, he moved away from the river very fast.  Imagine that!

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