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.
I live in Raleigh, NC with my husband, two kids, four dogs and six cats. I left my corporate career in mid 2021 to pursue wildlife photography full time. I started seriously photographing about three years ago and have only grown to love it more and more. I photograph all wildlife, but my favorite are big cats, bears, and wolves. I’ve traveled all over the world to capture animals in their natural habitat, but Africa and Alaska are my favorite and most frequented areas.
I’ve always loved wildlife but never spent a ton of time in nature. Once I picked up a camera though and started taking photos, I was hooked. I’m self-taught although I have a number of friends who have been instrumental in my learning and understanding of photography and wildlife. For me, I don’t ever see a day when I would not be interested in photography. It’s just how I see the world now. Every day and every situation in nature is different and unique and you never know what’s going to happen or what magical moment you might capture.
My good friends that spend time with me get some chuckles at my expense about my seemingly boundless energy. I think it’s inherited from my mother who by all accounts is the only person in the world who seems to be able to keep up with me. I still get so excited about seeing wildlife even if it’s an animal I’ve seen dozens of times. I’ve been known to hop out of moving vehicles in my excitement and a guide friend of mine once said to our driver that perhaps one day I’ll act like I’ve seen a wild animal before.
NANPA and me
I’ve been a NANPA member for less than a year. I’m so glad I joined because there is a world of interesting and informative information on the website. This contest is actually the first one I’ve ever entered and I’m so excited that I placed in the top 24 with this photo. I’ll definitely be a member for life and hope to participate more in the events and all the offerings available to members.