PATH 002 – Photos Around The House – A. G. Bear

This second in my PATH series of blog posts begins with an update to the first, PATH 001. Readers might recall the flowering succulent plant (yes, still have not looked up the name).

And then there were three.
And then there were three.

. . . more of the pink flowers opened up, and I figure I should document it.  My hope is each flower will last until they are all open.

Waiting for all of them to open

I am hoping they all open before any of them whither away . . . that should make for an impressive photo.

But this PATH is about A. G. Bear, although I sometime maintain it should be A. P. Bear.  A. G. Stands for Alaskan Grizzly, while A. P. Stands for Alaskan Polar.  Bear just stands for Bear.

The visage
The Visage

The face looks a bit like that of a Grizzly.

In August of 2000 we took a trip to Alaska.  As we often did those days, we looked for local art we could purchase as a memento of the trip; something to help us remember the good times.  We both immediately liked the bear when we saw it, and it’s now a tactile reminder of one of the better vacations we had.

Unfortunately, we took the trip a few years before I bought my first digital camera, the Nikon D100, so while I have lots of photos taken with my Nikon N8008, a great film camera that served me well and that I still have (although consumer film is likely to leaves us eventually), they are all sitting sleeved in a photo album.

I should probably scan the better ones and do a post about the trip.  We had flown into Anchorage, rented a 26ft motor home (unbeknownst to us they gave us a 29 ft motor home – I found out a few days into the trip), drove up to Denali  National Park, drove to Faibanks for repairs to the motor home’s heater, back down to Denali, then Valdez (did some salmon fishing there),  then went to Seward, then to Homer, and back to Anchorage.  We drove over 2,000 miles in less than two weeks, saw a crap-load of incredible scenery, touched a couple of glaciers (I still have some glacier water in a small jar), observed bears and moose, and it made Alaska rank high in places we would consider moving to.  

But, as I said, that story probably merits a post of its own.

Another front view
Another front view

Once again, after trying to get greater depth of field on a single photo (above), I resorted to the blended layers method using Photoshop.  

For those who do not remember from my blended layers macro photography post, you take 4 or 5 pictures of the bear, all with different focus points progressing from front to back. You then merge the photos by putting them all in layers and telling Photoshop to blend them.

It’s a way to create a much wider depth of field, and have the entire subject be in focus (compare to the last picture).

Blended layers effort
Blended layers effort

The effect is not as dramatic here . . . probably poor technique on my part.

Angle favoring the Polar Bear Hypothesis
Angle favoring the Polar Bear Hypothesis

These two pictures support the notion this is a sculpture of a polar bear . . .

Another Polar Bear pose
Another Polar Bear pose

Completing the views of the statuette, I present The Backside.

Bear got Back
Bear got Back

This next photo is my second attempt at blended layers.  A little improvement on the above picture in terms of sharpness throughout the depth of field.

Blended Layers of Back side shot
Blended Layers of Back side shot

Again, the effect is not as noticeable since the original had pretty good depth of field.  But, I can promise you on an upcoming post the Blended Layers technique produces spectacular results.

I have to say A.G. Bear does its job very well.  Whenever we notice it (we see it every day, but only sometime notice it), memories of our Alaska trip are triggered, and we choose one or two for a brief conversation.  And isn’t that what life is about?

Meanwhile, here is the information on the artist who created A.G. Bear:

The interesting thing was when I read where he lives.  Sitka, Alaska.  As a fan of the movie “The Proposal”, I now want to go there and see if they shot it on location . . . and maybe buy a companion to this bear.

. . . and ask the artist if this was meant to represent a Polar Bear or a Grizzly bear.