This is an area in North Carolina that I go to often. The bears are definitely a draw but it’s also a peaceful place where it’s easy to enjoy a day by yourself surrounded by nature. This image is meaningful to me because it captures the essence of why I love this place; you can almost “see” the quiet in this photo. Although this is a shot I had envisioned long before this day, it was quite accidental when it actually happened. I kicked myself for not being ready for the moment and for having too short of a lens but once I got home and downloaded the photos, I saw them in a different light. I’m thankful that it happened the way it did and my lens was too short. It allowed me to capture the mystical surroundings that made for a storytelling photo that I would not otherwise have achieved.
How I got the shot
It was starting to get dark and I still had a ways to walk before getting to my car. I was photographing a couple of bears close to me when I spotted something out of the corner of my eye in the far distance. I spun around and there they were, two young bears on the path in the tunnel area of the trees, reared up on their hind legs for a moment of playtime. There was no time to adjust the settings, so I snapped a couple of photos and they were gone.
What I used
This was shot with a Nikon D850 and a Nikon 400mm lens. My settings were: F/6.3, 1/500 second, ISO 3200. Because this happened so fast and in a completely different direction from where I was shooting, I would definitely have changed my settings but there was no time. I just had to go with what I had and try to get a couple shots.