It was a grey morning and a slow start. With Daisy’s encouragement (‘bad shots are better than none’), the whole group started out for a morning shoot. Kent reluctantly brought up the rear and I took point as per usual. 20 minutes into the hike I stopped for a brief break and to let the group catch up. Kent had returned to camp to ‘find a new battery’ and never returned. I was mad. Here I was again responsible for this large group. No one is in a good mood hiking in drizzle and bad light, and it would be a challenge to make this morning a positive one.
We found a new mom with her cubs out on the flats and managed a few decent shots. The sun began to appear and the clouds cleared off, so we headed inland to see who we could find at Middle River. Kent reappeared and we made our way to the bend where Melissa likes to fish. The light was now spectacular and she and her cub provided us with one of our best shoots of the trip. We stood up to our knees in the river for an hour photographing them on the bank with the beautiful mountains as background. Everyone is happy again.
The afternoon excursion began at 5pm, again with Kent choosing to remain at camp. We found Daisy and her cubs lazing by the river, but the bears were quite inactive and uninteresting. Kent caught up to us an hour later, but with no activity to speak of, our shoot was not productive. The group tension is mounting with regard to Kent’s lack of participation. They had paid for a professional photo-guide and he was not doing the work. I explained to the group that I had done my best to get him involved and they would have to approach him directly.
Daisy, her partner Dave, and I chose to stay out late on the flats to catch sunset reflections, the rest of the group, frustrated, headed back to camp. Our dedication was rewarded when a beautiful sunset gave us the landscape shots we were hoping for. Just as we were about to head in, a female bear came out from the meadow. She must have thought we had found fish because she made her way directly towards us. I handed Dave my flair and positioned us to have the bear walk through the reflecting pools in front of us. I had my big lens and tripod balanced on my backpack behind me, and decided to shot with my wide angle landscape lens.
Daisy said “are you sure this is ok” I feigned confidence and said “we’re fine, just keep shooting!” No matter how much time I spent around these great creatures, when one comes that close, it is the thrill of a lifetime. Hearts pounding we watched her walk within a few feet of us. When she realized we had no fish she returned to the meadow. It was a moment I will never forget.