a portrait style shot of a polar bear in churchill manitoba

Shot Settings – Polar Bear in Churchill

Here at The Natural Photographer, due to popular demand, we have a new category of article.  Shot Settings will be a new way for you to browse through photos quickly and see the detailed “metadata”, aka shot settings, for each.

In addition to a select photo, I’ll put a quick few sentences on any special circumstances that allowed me to get such a shot, as well as brief notes on what post processing techniques (i.e., photoshop and similar) I used to get the photo portfolio-ready.

a portrait style shot of a polar bear in churchill manitoba

Shot Settings: f/7.1, 1/320, ISO 100. @255mm (full frame) on 100-400mm lens

Post Processing: increased brightness slightly; increased contrast; lightened shadows slightly, color temp 4600k

This is the venerable King of the North–the Polar Bear.  In Churchill, Manitoba, you can get amazingly close if you join specially designed polar bear photography trips, while being safe, and sustainable to then environment and wildlife. You are but just another thing in their landscape…they are mostly indifferent.  As a result, you can often get these “fill the frame” shots, which are truly magnificent.

The key consideration I made here is that I wanted a depth of field (DoF) large enough to make sure the entire face was in focus, but I still wanted to get a little of the background blurred.  Thus, I went with a moderate depth of field, f/7.1.  Not a shallow DoF at all, but not super wide such that the tangled, semi-distracting background is also in sharp focus.

Because this was a very bright day, and the bear was sitting relatively still, I could capture this, and freeze motion, with 1/320th of a second shutter.  Thus, I could get a VERY low ISO of 100.  This gives me the best photo possible, and allows me to crop, enlarge, you name it.

The result?  A crisp, impactful, BIG photo of an even bigger bear.


Court Whelan Signature