Mike pulled into the Crane Flat campground, just off of highway 120, in the early afternoon. He put all of his food into the bear boxes, set up his tent, then puttered around the empty (at that time) campground.
In fact, he was checking the bear box when he looked up to see three bears—a mother and two cubs—wandering around directly in front of him. OK. First, make sure everything’s in the box. OK. Second, where’s the camera? Ah, over on the table. OK!
He took a series of photos. (The best one is at the top.) Unfortunately, the lighting conditions were not that great: very contrasty light coming though the trees creating areas of light and dark extremes. The ranger finally ended up chasing them away, asking Mike to do the same if the bears show up again. (Yeah, right.)
In fact, they did show up again. This time Mike set the camera to overexpose, trying to lighten up the dark areas. Unfortunately, this created a very slow shutter speed situation, thus blurring the picture due to camera movement. Mike should have set the camera to a higher ISO as well. Of course the pix would have come out better if he had used a Nikon.
The Three Bears were pretty skittish: just the act of Mike’s walking over spooked them and they took off, one of the young ones climbing a tree to get away from the dreaded photographer.
Photos: Bears in Forest—Sierra Nevada, 2009; Bear in Tree—Sierra Nevada, 2009