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  • Writer's pictureKristen Kabrin

Finding Inspiration: Lessons from Grizzly 399 and Jim Henson

I hope this blog finds you well, and I extend my sincere apologies for the delay in sharing this post. Life, as it often does, threw a few unexpected twists my way, from a prolonged absence from home (4.5 months) to welcoming two adorable furballs into my home, all while battling a stubborn bug. But amidst the chaos and couch-bound recovery, I found solace and inspiration in two captivating programs that I simply had to share with you.


First on the docket was a PBS Nature series episode that left me awe-inspired: "Grizzly 399: Queen of the Tetons." Perhaps you've heard of her, this remarkable grizzly who has captured the hearts of many, including renowned wildlife photographer Tom Mangelsen. His dedication to capturing her essence over the last seventeen years is nothing short of remarkable. As he shared his experiences on the program, two statements resonated deeply with me.

"Last year I spent 145 days out. I mean, that's half the year. Stupid amount of time. You know, out of all those days I probably photographed her 15 maybe. The payoff is great, but it's a hell of a lot of waiting."


Let those words sink in. In the pursuit of perfection, Mangelsen spent nearly half the year in the wild, patiently waiting for those elusive moments to capture Grizzly 399 through his lens. And yet, the payoff, those rare moments of connection with nature, makes it all worth it.


As I am taking in that information and trying to digest its meaning, he says, "She's such a challenge to photograph. I mean, seriously photograph. Really good images. I mean, I have probably really great images. I have to say maybe 5 or 10."


Five or ten exceptional images in seventeen years. The sheer dedication and perseverance required to achieve such mastery are truly humbling. It serves as a poignant reminder that greatness often stems from relentless dedication and patience.


As a photographer navigating my own journey, these insights offer both encouragement and a reality check. There will be days of waiting, of seemingly fruitless endeavors, but therein lies the beauty of the process. Each moment spent in nature is a gift, an opportunity to hone my craft and connect with the world around me.


The second program that left an indelible mark on me was Ron Howard's documentary, "Jim Henson: Idea Man." While seemingly unrelated to photography, the creative genius of Jim Henson speaks to the very essence of artistic expression. From the whimsical world of the Muppets to the enchanting tales of Fraggle Rock, Henson's creations have inspired generations.


His ability to infuse life into the inanimate, to weave stories that resonate with the child in all of us, is nothing short of magical. Watching the documentary reignited my appreciation for his visionary spirit and reaffirmed my belief in the power of storytelling.


So, what do Grizzly 399 and Jim Henson have in common? Everything. They remind us that greatness is not achieved overnight



but through perseverance, passion, and a steadfast commitment to one's craft.


As I reflect on the lessons gleaned from these two remarkable individuals, I am filled with renewed determination and gratitude. And so, I invite you to join me in embracing the journey, in finding inspiration in the waiting, and in celebrating the magic of creativity.


Photographer Kristen Kabrin shooting a waterfall in a canyon
Getting my creative flow going

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must go sing, "Rainbow Connection" and walk the dogs.

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