Swimming Bear

I came across a large male bear early one morning while navigating through the Pungo Unit. I spotted him on the edge of a canal. I got ready, I had hopes of photographing him as he crossed the road. I placed myself on the edge of the canal and after a minute or so went by and he never crossed the road. Candace was sitting in the car waiting, I looked back at her with an unsure look on my face. Then I heard water splashing. I looked back at her and said, "He's swimming!"

I re-positioned myself so I could see him clearly and with disbelief I saw that he was swimming in my direction. I captured a few frames quickly and decided to wait until he got close before I took any more. I knew he would hear the camera shutter.



He was quietly swimming and fast! He was getting pretty close and when he got to a clear area I started to release the shutter. No sooner than the first image was captured he looked over at me, I never released off of the shutter and kept shooting. I knew that this was rare and I wanted to make sure I had every frame. After about 4 images he slowly turned to his right and swam to the edge of the canal opposite from me.



He slowly climbed the to the top of the canal and looked over at me. I never stopped taking images. He was a beautiful bear, completely black & very healthy. He was very interested in me & watched me for about a minute or so.





After watching me, he slowly walked down the edge of the canal, re-entered it, swam across and then crossed the road behind me. It was early morning and on that particular road there were a few strips of light shinning through the trees, leaving areas of shade in between. I was thinking to myself, walk in the light! walk in the light! I changed my settings to create a silhouette. Low & behold he entered the road and walked in a small narrow strip of light. I created this image and I knew it was going to be a instant favorite! I will never forget the sound of his breathing as he swam. This was the closest I had ever been to a wild bear. To give you an idea, the lens I was using was only at 250mm. The swimming images are not cropped. I was about 5-6 yards from him as he swam by.

I said this in earlier post, this place is so different each day & year I go, it never ceases to amaze me. If your interested in attending a workshop visit the link below for more info. My one days workshops are almost full! 3 day workshops are available.

www.jerniganphotojournal.com/workshops

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Until next time,

Cheers,

Neil