Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bear Photography in Katmai Coast 2

The 2nd day in Hallo Bay was a beautiful sunny day. After having breakfast with the other guests, we were divided into two groups. Each group had its own guide. Following our guide, we walked along the beach, and then entered the dense woods. We walked on the trail, but there are some bear trails that cross the human trail. Bears can pop out behind the trees at any moment.

The view was opened up in front of us; The scenery was breath-taking - tidal coves and snow covered mountains were the backdrop. And, there were bears down below!! Two bear families - each had 2 cubs! They were digging clams on the beach. We were looking at them from the hill at the edge of the woods for a while. One mother bear laid down on her back and began nursing! Her 2 cubs nursed on her for a while. That was a beautiful moment. We walked down to the tidal flat and enjoyed seeing those 2 bear families from a far. They were digging clams for a while, and the 2 cubs began play fighting... I still couldn't that it was a real experience out in the wilderness - it was like a being in a nature show.
Then, the mother bear walked toward us gradually - followed by her 2 cubs. Looking with my telephoto lens, they got closer and closer... Actually, they were coming close to us. They were only 20 feet away; the mother bear stopped and sniffed the air. according to our guide, bears can recognize an individual by the smells like dogs can. Oh, my goodness, she was very close! I was about to back off, but the guide told me not to move. Bears may think I'm prey if I move quickly. The bear family walked by 10 feet in front of us. One cub curiously approached within 5 feet of us. Even a cub, he is bigger than me! The guide showed him a flare and calmly told the cub, "no, no..." My heart was beating hard, fortunately, the cub turned to the mom and passed in front of us.
The mother bear stopped at a rock very close by, and licked at the little shells covering the rock. One of the cubs copied her. My finger was on the shutter button. She climbed on top of the rock, and sniffing the air for a while as she paused for the camera! It was a perfect shot!

After the bear family left, a fox showed up on the beach. He was also digging clams just like a scene in the movie: "Grizzly Man."

We already saw a lot in morning, but there were more bears at the meadow near the tidal flat. We explored the meadow at the evening.

This story will continue...