Encounter with inquisitive bear ...

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GeorgianBay1939
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Encounter with inquisitive bear ...
2 months ago

I usually keep the 100-300 on the GH2 handy whenever driving.  Yesterday, as usual, I had the camera set at f/7.1, ISO640 as it was getting late in the day, overcast. AF-S, small area.  Always raw.

My German Shepherd was sleeping on the other front seat and a very active Golden cross was sleeping on the back bench seat.

Came around a corner on a traveled highway (Skerryvore), to see this guy wandering across the road.  As I stopped I rolled down the window, stuck the camera out,  extended the lens (286mm) and grabbed my usual "provisional", just as it turned to look at me coming to a stop. He continued in his original direction.

1 Bear notices truck and continues to move towards me.

2 Bear seems more interested in me now..

3  I recalled a bear death out in AB last week.

4  I was talking to the doggies in the calmest voice I had, to keep them down below the windows.

5  Bear seems purposeful.  Memories of other bear encounters whilst canoeing, surveying, farming came to mind.

6  I am realizing that I'm having a rare opportunity here.  Dogs are still quiet.

7  As bear approaches front fender it changes course and heads to the front of the truck. I stick camera long ways out and get another "provisional".

I check the quick post exposure review and notice that I am up to 1/80 sec  a little too long for this lens... and  realize that I am on Center Weighted Exposure instead of Spot (with I normally use with wildlife since I put the beast in the middle!)

Bear disappears out of sight.  I roll window part way up as it might be on my side of the truck.   No sign of bear in side mirrors.  I pull the lens back a bit a bit, knowing that I am getting close to  minimum lens focus distance.  I fiddle with the LCD panel but can't get a position which would allow me to view the close side of the truck like a periscope.  So I stick the camera out, with strap tied to door handle and take a few shots almost vertically....

8  Northern Ontario Road Pavement.

After a couple of shots like the above, I finally smartened up and brought the lens all the way in, and pointed the camera downwards, through the partially closed window, fired off of few shots  in a random pattern to get a few parts of blurred bear, but including this (lucky) one.

9 Image taken "blind" at 100 mm, .... right hand half  cropped out.

Then both doggies realized that they were missing out on some sort of adventure.

The bear made for the woods in a flash, not turning back to check on what was causing the barking ruckus.  Photog  nearly got trampled as the doggies went from window to window searching for the source of their amusement.

Photog settled down, chimped the images and realized how important it is to use Spot Exposure in these situations.  Two reasons:

1 Black bears (and moose) don't reflect much light so the metering system will always underexpose the subject at a distance.  At ISO640 this leads to lots of noise.

2 As the dark subject gets closer the metering struggles to keep up, increasing exposure to what it needs ... by increasing the shutter interval .... to the point where motion blur becomes a real issue.

Lessons learned.

Boy Scout motto "Be Prepared" is applicable

Leave camera off, but set up properly:   Stopped down a bit to help DoF; AF-S, small area; ISO to suit situations, go high to be on the safe side; 0 Exposure compensation, Spot metering;

Consider shooting video with narrative overlay.   Might be a more interesting experience for folks when sharing.

Lots of fun, once the doggies calmed down!

Tom

 GeorgianBay1939's gear list:GeorgianBay1939's gear list
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