Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ten Biggest Safari Mistakes and Lessons...Number Five

One year we were on a boat on the ocean whale watching when a black bear came out of the dense bush. It was early in the morning, there was a slight fog on the water and yet the lighting was perfect. The light illuminated his fur and the images were just perfect. I snapped away for about ten minutes. I was feeling cocky as I was the only one on the ship with a 600mm lens. No one else could really get the images that I was getting and although I would never want any of my fellow photographers to have a bad photography day or experience when the opportunities presented themselves, part of me was feeling quite proud and cocky of the images that I was recording. The bear left and as the captain of the ship moved on, I figured I would scroll though my shots to find that "perfect" image that I knew must be in one of these pictures. After all, the lighting was perfect, the bear was almost posing and the reflection off the water was breathtaking. It was such a great moment that even the photographers who were out of reach of the scene were still in awe of the moment. It was such a perfect moment that the other photographers seemed to want to see my images almost as much as I did.
Black Bear Cub

Now for the lesson. When I went to check my pictures, I discovered that I forgot to put the memory card back in the camera after downloading the pictures on to my computer from the day before. OUCH! Five years later I am still pissed off at myself about that one. Note to self... When setting up the settings in your new DSLR camera, make sure your camera is set to "Shoot without card off". This setting disallows the photographer from taking pictures if no card is in the camera. Had I set up the camera that way, I would only have missed out on one shot, not ten minutes of shots!!! ARG!

The picture to the left by the way is not from that day. It is another cute little cub from another day on a different safari. This one was in Minnesota at the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary. I spent two days with the wild bears in an unfenced area. After giving me a bear safety lesson and staying with me for about 30 minutes, the guides then left me on my own to photograph the bears in their environment. It was a thrilling experience. They are habituated to people, but are still wild and would come and go as they pleased. If you enjoy photographing black bears, I would recommend checking it out.

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