With 2013 coming to a close, it's time to dig back and revisit some of the best photos and experiences from this year.
To kick off this rewind, let's go back to the end of June and let me tell you about the time I was surprised by a wild bear.
I have travelled extensively through "bear country" - whether in Alaska, Yellowstone, or the Grand Tetons, and have never had an encounter with a wild bear that was good enough to make a decent photograph. This has obviously frustrated me, but not to the point that bears had become a "quest" subject to photograph.
While exploring Blackwater Falls State Park in Davis, West Virginia, bears were the last thing on my mind. After all, this wasn't "bear country"!
I was driving through the park and came around a tight curve when I was SHOCKED to see a wild black bear sitting 10 feet off the road. Through what I can only assume was divine intervention, I happened to have my camera in the passenger seat, which happened to be the same side of the car as the bear. Unfortunately, my divine intervention fell short in that I only had a mid-range zoom lens - not the one I'd ideally want to photograph the only bear I've ever had a decent shot of!
Despite being in total shock with my good fortunes to find this bear, I managed to pull the car to the side of the road, roll down the window, and leaned into the passenger seat, where I took a few shots before the bear decided he'd lost interest in me and scampered back into the woods.
The entire encounter lasted only 10-15 seconds, and I probably could have gotten a better shot with a different lens, but at least I got a shot!
Needless to say, I now carry the camera with the mega zoom lens in the passenger seat, but that must be a repellant because I've had no other vehicle encounters since!
It's not my best photograph from 2013, but it's certainly one of the more memorable ones. Stay tuned to see some other highlights from 2013.....