Images from a Parksville wildlife photographer, who snapped photos of a pair of grizzly bears locked in a fierce battle, are garnering international media attention.
Duke, a regular contributor to Black Press Media’s Parksville-Qualicum Beach News, captured the surly bruins growling at each other with their menacing teeth bared while in the Tahumming River in Toba Inlet, north of Powell River.
He and four of his photographer friends chartered a boat from Campbell River for a day for the sole purpose of photographing grizzlies.
“I happened to come across a situation where two of them decided to do a little territorial dispute in the water,” Duke says. “I had some action shots of the two bears carrying on.”
The retired firefighter deals with a United Kingdom-based photo agency, which provides materials for publication in various newspapers, tabloids and magazines, including the Daily Mail.
“To witness the speed and sound of these two male grizzlies confronting each other over the best fishing spot for spawning salmon was incredible and breathtaking, even for a wildlife photographer,” Duke says.
Grizzly bears are just one of the many wildlife creatures that Duke focuses on. His subjects include orcas, sea lions, foxes, mandarin and female wood ducks and more.
His passion for photographing wildlife has led him around the world to locations including Africa, Mexico and Europe.
“When an opportunity presents itself and I can do it, I will try to capture any wildlife that jumps in front of my lenses,” says the self-taught photographer.
The quest is always exciting but there are also potential perils.
“You should know or have some sort of an idea of what you’re getting yourself into,” Duke says. “Always have a safe route in and out and know the animals you’re dealing with. There’s nothing that says their habits can’t change instantly. You have to be aware especially when the bears are feeding in the fall. A lot of times they’re more concerned about filling their bellies than they are with people. But things can happen if you’re in the wrong spot.”
Photographing wildlife is not as simple as lining subjects up for the desired shot.
“Wildlife just does what it wants to do,” Duke says. “If you’re lucky enough to catch a moment, then consider yourself fortunate.”
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