“The sun was setting on my first day in Katmai National Park when we set out for the shores of Hallo Bay to catch that golden-hour light,” photographer Sara Stein remembers. “We were staying on a small boat, so unlike the traveling seaplanes that frequent the area, we could stay until the sun had set.
“We rounded a small hill between the shore and the vast grasslands that the bears liked to frequent, and, to our joy, we were greeted with multiple sows and their cubs. Sitting in the long grass, I focused my lens on this pair, a couple of 2-year-olds, roughly playing while their mother chomped on the fresh grass, always keeping an eye on them.
“In a moment between tackles, the two cubs paused upright and looked as if they were dancing. I only had a few frames before one tackled the other to the ground and held him there until their mother called them both back to her side. This is the only photo where their paws were completely separated. Play fighting is great practice for the day when the growing bears may need to really show their claws. It was a magical afternoon, with a playful image to remember it by.”
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM. Exposure: 1/2000 sec., ƒ/5.6, ISO 1600.
See more of Sara Stein’s work at sarasteinphoto.com.