Behind the Scenes | Making of The Grizzly Bear Hunter

This past week I was working on my Fearless series project. The project inspiration started last year when I created the little cowboy image below. The little cowboy was a picture I took of my son about 8 or 9 years ago and added the bull last year while I was working on my Shoot the West Series. This image quickly became a favourite and I decided it would be the first in a series on children titled “Fearless”. The second in the series is The Grizzly Bear Hunter.

fine art photography, digital photography, red deer alberta and central alberta

The Grizzly Bear Hunter has been an idea in my head for a long time, sometimes when I am creating fine art portraits I have a very clear idea and sometime I let the piece of the puzzle dictate how the image will turn out. For the Grizzly Bear Hunter I had a very clear idea from the start but it actually turned out much different than I had envisioned.

I had my model come in and I styled and shot her exactly how I had originally intended but when I went to add the bear in the pieces weren’t quite fitting together like it was in my head. I wanted the bear to be massive and menacing and my hunter to be “Fearless”. The first image was take one, and I liked it a lot but it didn’t have that “fearless” feel to it, the bear’s distance made the feel of the image more curious than fearful. So the next morning I got up and reworked it to be more like the image I had in my head. Take Two has the menacing effect but something was off, my hunter would have known the bear was there but her body language says she doesn’t. I liked both images, very much but couldn’t decide which would be the image for the series.

I had Keira and her mom Jenyse come in to tell me their opinions. One liked one and one liked the other, ha, typical. After debating the images and the feelings invoked in each Jenyse suggested I add a cub to the first one, which might give that one the feeling of danger I was looking for. And I went back to the drawing board.

And this is how the final image turned out. Getting others opinions when you are attached to both images is a great way to open up the mind and see through different eyes. I love how this ended up and I probably would have settled on the number 2 version on my own. I like this final image so much more.

I put together a video of me creating the first version of the portrait in photoshop, originally about 4 hours of work, fast paced to about 30mins. It’s interesting to watch if you are curious about my process take a look.

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