Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wildlife Photos

I have a new appreciation for wildlife photographers.  I have always admired their work and I had read the stories about how they often endure a lot of physical hardship to get the really great photos - standing about for hours, often in extreme conditions, in a swamp or under the hot desert sun, waiting for the perfect shot. 

I sat in a car for about 20 minutes this past weekend, only about 20 yards away from a momma bear and her 3 cubs, trying to get a good photo.  It didn't happen. 

It was a cloudy afternoon and they were in the woods, so there were a lot of shadows and not very much natural light.  Momma bear didn't seem to care at all that we humans were watching her, she was only interested in snacking on the contents of the garbage bags she had carried into the trees from the garbage can across the road, left behind by the renters in the cottage next door to us who drove off without a thought (or, apparently, any instruction from the people who rented the cottage to them, who should know better!) about the proper way to lock up garbage in an area where bears are cohabiting with humans.  The cubs, on the other hand, were quite skittish and took turns running off at the slightest sound, cautiously returning a few minutes later when they saw that their mom hadn't budged.  Bear cubs, like kittens, are also hard to capture clearly in a photo, because they're always on the move. Or in this case, too busy eating to pose for the camera!

Shots that looked clear enough on the camera's display screen and even on my computer, turned out to be fuzzy when enlarged.  And/or there is a tree in front of the bear's face.

Some of the photos look quite impressionistic, either because the bear moved or my hand shook as I depressed the shutter, or both.  Sure, it doesn't have the beautiful colours of a Monet but I think I could paint this!

Sometimes the camera decided a leaf branch was the focal point, rather than the bear.

Then I thought, maybe if I turned on the flash, seeing how it was such dim lighting...nope, that was actually worse!

As I already know from living with a black cat, it's hard to get a good photo of a dark-furred subject.  The camera struggles with the darkness.  But in some cases, I just didn't have the right angle.  I know there is a bear in this photo, would you if I hadn't told you?

I had a little bit better luck photographing the spectators.

In the end, I had to accept that I was just too far away from my subjects (and I sure as heck wasn't going to try to get any closer!) to get a clear shot with the lens I had.  Still, I really like some of the photos, in spite of the imperfections.  Like this one which I call "Noses".

And this one of one of the cubs on the move.

I gotta say, those little bear cubs were awfully cute!

Of the 66 shots I took, this one is my favourite.  I love that momma and baby are identically posed, having heard...something, while baby bear #2 keeps snacking.

Hopefully I'll get another chance to take more photos of this cute little family (from a safe distance, of course) some day!


Jane Davenport | Artomologist said...

Are you their goldilocks? Don't eat ll the porridge and break the chairs Cynthia!!!!
Lucky you seeing cute bears!

Anonymous said...

Wow, the mama looks to be about the size of your car!!

Jane said...

I sense a new activity for Camp Indian Point, Cynthia! Bear-photo-hunting! Prizes to the best! Well done! I have seen this mama on the lake side - recognizable due to the fact that she has three. The other mama bear spotted only has 2 cubs.