Sunday, July 26, 2009

My “Bear Encounter”

I took a couple of day trips in June over the Tioga Pass to take in the beautiful scenery.
On my first trip I was stumped by snow flurries at 9,000ft and since I was in my little Corolla, I decided to turn around. I did not want to be on the Eastside if they closed the pass.
As I was coming down to where you turn onto Hwy 120 to leave the park, I came across the scene photographer Dan Mitchell had described and who had posted an image from there in early June.

A ton of cars were parked/stopped all over and a ranger did traffic control. The tourist attraction was a “bear jam” - two cinnamon colored bears - one pretty big were foraging in a meadow. So I mounted my 100-400 lens, changed ISO to 1600 and turned on IS. Did all that but NONE of my shots taken with the 100-400 turned out - all blurry. I got one good shot with the G10 that I had set to sports....but very noisy.
My second trip took me all the way to Bishop Creek Canyon and beyond (more on this trip at a later time).
Coming to the same spot on my way home the “bear jam” again. Two bears in the meadow, tons of cars, a ranger making sure some crazy people don't try to get too close. I tried to learn from my previous mistakes - had mirror lock up on......
I changed to ISO to 800, turned on IS, turned off mirror lock-up, changed to AV and AGAIN all shots were blurry. I had the autofocus on..... Once more my G10 gave me a few good shots using a preset for kids/pets.
The moral of my story at this point is that I am lousy at hand holding a camera with a 100-400 lens mounted on it.


Bear Encounter – Yosemite Tourist Attraction. June 10, 2009. © Copyright Inge Fernau .

My last trip was solely to see if I can get a decent image of the bears munching on grass in the meadow. I know, I know it was a big tourist attraction and not a wild encounter, but good for practice. I got to the meadow around 6PM and found the park service had blocked the areas on the shoulders, so cars could not park in there. I went ahead and parked at the Crane Flat gas station and walked down to the side of the road.
This time I think I had all my settings correct, ISO 400, AV, Manual Focus, no IS, mirror lock up off and the tripod.
Only a couple of people were there when I set up my tripod, but that changed quickly. Big traffic jam, a ranger told people to move on, move their cars etc. Two bears foraged on the grass for about 45 minutes, and then the show was over. I shot over 400 images and got about 5 - 10 keepers. I have to admit that the 100-400mm lens is just not long enough to get real good close-ups. All of the images had to be cropped.


Bear Encounter – Yosemite Tourist Attraction. June 23, 2009. © Copyright Inge Fernau .


Bear Encounter – Yosemite Tourist Attraction. June 23, 2009. © Copyright Inge Fernau .

These photographs are not in the public domain! They may not be used on websites, blogs, or in any other media without explicit advance written permission from Inge Fernau

Please visit my website for this and more. All images may be purchased or licensed in a range of sizes.

Also visit my images on shutterstock

No comments: