Quick Shot: Friendly Bear

Last week I took a day trip to Blackwater Falls Park in West Virginia (see yesterday's Quick Shot blog with more details) . My trip was designed to photograph waterfalls, but I got a particularly special and unexpected treat.

Driving along the road between two waterfalls, I was shocked to see a black bear sitting by the side of the road. It's a bit unusual to see a black bear at high noon in the middle of the road, but I didn't pass the opportunity! 

The bear was on the passenger side of the car and very close - less than 50 feet from my car. Being in the middle of the road, it wasn't a great place to get out and take a shot and I was afraid I'd spook the bear back into the woods. I decided to use my car as a blind and shoot across the car through the passenger side window. 

I grabbed the camera from the passenger seat but cursed myself for only having the 24-70mm in place. I normally try to have the telephoto in place when driving in the event of a wildlife spotting, but hadn't made the switch as I commuted between the two falls. Thankfully, the bear being so close worked just fine at 70mm. 

I shot the bear for a few minutes while he scratched at the ground. My car side view mirror is visible in several of the shots, but with the resolution of the D800, I was able to crop that out and still have a great resolution image.  

The final image was shot with the D800, Nikon 24-70mm at 70mm and through the side of the car window. Lesson learned: ALWAYS have the telephoto lens equipped. At least I had the camera positioned to grab quickly and the lens cap was already off!