For those of you that know me, you know I have a small obsession with bears. It may be even mores than my love of waterfalls, if only for the danger factor. As a kid, I remember going to the local library every Friday in the summer, when Bear Country, USA, would bring in baby animals. Some, we could pet. Others, like baby bears, we could only look at. They were freaking adorable! Sometime during college, I got the chance to visit Bear Country again. It was shortly after I got my first SLR and I really didn't know what I was doing, but the pictures came out ok. Of course I totally broke the rules and rolled down my window to get a few shots.
There was also the baby area, cute baby bears and wolves that are perfectly irresistible! This, of course, was in a controlled environment.
My next encounter was at Glacier National Park, shortly after moving to the Pacific Northwest. It was early our first morning in town. I was with my parents and we had just stopped right before the gates to see a moose feeding in a marsh.
After a good long while of shooting, we moved on. Right on the other side of the gate, was a park ranger and several cars parked at the side of the road. A crowd had gathered. I wasn't a novice to national parks, so I knew there was an animal afoot. As soon as we stopped, I jumped out of the car (this fact will be important later) and ran over with my new Canon 40D DSLR. I saw nothing, so I asked the guy next to me what we were looking at. He said it was a bear and pointed me in the right vicinity. Low and behold, I see a young black bear about 2 years old. He stands up on his hind feet, waves at me, and then runs off into the forest. I was so excited about seeing a bear in the wild, my fingers refused to work the camera. I don't even know what they were doing, but by the time I had the camera on and the lens cover off, all I got was trees. So disappointing!
Fast forward a few more months and my parents are visiting for my birthday. Instead of a present, I want a beautiful experience, so we spend a long weekend on Vancouver Island. Now most people would want to see Victoria. Not me. I have waterfalls picked out in parks that I must see! So we drive hours and hours to get my waterfall hikes in. As we were leaving (about dusk at at least 3 hours from our hotel), I scream bear as a black bear darts across the highway in Strathcona Provincial Park. Dad slams on the breaks and I jump out of the car, with Mom yelling from the back seat. Completely unprepared, once again, I miss my shot as the bear rushes up the hill.
Two years later, I get the chance to fly to Calgary and meet my parents as they drive over to visit me. We drive up through Banff and Jasper and then over and down to Washington. Somewhere before Wells Gray Provincial Park, once again on the highway I scream "bear!" Dad, again, slams on the breaks and this time reverses back up the highway. The noise of us driving on the shoulder was enough for the poor bear to run. Not having my camera ready yet again, I jump out of the car (are you seeing a pattern?) and get a picture of his fuzzy butt running away with my iPhone (cropped of course).
Finally getting a picture only frustrated me more. I was so close, yet couldn't get that one little picture!
To be continued...