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Liz Bickel | all galleries >> Grizzly Bears in their native wild habitat. > Surprise!
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Surprise!
29-JUL-2011 copyright Elizabeth Bickel

Surprise!

Although mainly a "Memory Shot", this is one of my favorite photos of my entire trip.
I stepped out onto the porch of my cabin (which sat at the head of a bear trail) to see if I could spot any bears in the distance. When I didn't spot anything, I was about to turn into for the night. Then, I heard growling VERY CLOSE. Looking down at my feet, there was a Mama Grizzly Bear with her two cubs. She had been nursing her yearling cubs within inches of where I was standing!!! They were almost close enough to touch. Because I wasn't expecting a bear so close, I had almost completely missed seeing them. Duh???? That's really bad.

No, she wasn't growling at me. She was growling at the cubs to get off her. As I've said before, bears are often like dogs in many ways. Unfortunately my camera was still inside the cabin; so I lost precious seconds by going for it. I also had to stop to change lenses because these bears were far too close for the telephoto. Plus before going for the camera, I also had to stop to read the mood of the bears concerning my presence. They were totally indifferent.

By the time I fired off my first shot, the family group were then starting to leave. The light was very low; so there is motion blur of the background & the cub. Still, I like this shot. It represents a wonderful memory. I also photographed this bear family several times in the distance in better lighting on other days. Although those images may be technically better, those times aren't as memorable as when I encountered the bears super close.


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Tom LeRoy05-Aug-2011 19:45
What an amazing story and photo. I am stunned about your courage and reaction!V!
CM Kwan05-Aug-2011 12:29
Wow, this is really amazing, Liz! V
Lamar Nix05-Aug-2011 09:37
Wow! Close encounter of the first kind! V
soulis05-Aug-2011 05:06
Beautiful shot. V.
sandy barbour05-Aug-2011 01:20
Wow! Amazing shot and story Liz...lucky you!
Hank Vander Velde04-Aug-2011 23:48
Terrific encounter and image Liz.
coaster04-Aug-2011 23:10
Excellent capture!
Stephanie04-Aug-2011 22:03
What a lucky shot and wonderful memory for you!!!!! :))
patou04-Aug-2011 20:51
Tres belle prise de vue !