Friday, September 11, 2009
This summer, our berry crop has been excellent. Every day, on my photo jaunts into the Superior National Forest, I stop and eat wild raspberries and thimbleberries. I never carry water or snacks with me; mostly because of camera and lenses weighing me down.
One particularly beautiful day, I stopped in a clearing that had a dozen or so wild raspberry plants. I indulged in handfuls of the luscious wild fruit... also popping in my mouth a few tart thimbleberries that mingle among the raspberry plants. Thimbleberries are a unique wild fruit, they remind me of the "Sweet Tarts" I enjoyed as a kid. They are quite large and when you pick the over ripe ones, the juice runs and stains your fingers. The following photo shows the relative size of the thimbleberry in relationship to my model.
As I quietly "browsed" in my patch, I made my way around a large spruce deadfall. I noticed the tops of the hazelnut bushes moving back and forth. Now this was nothing new to me, since the red squirrels and chipmunks were in the height of their nut collection. The movement produced a black furry ear... then a large black, furry face. It seems I was lunching with one of my resident bears that roam our ridge.
The wind was in my favor, which at the moment wasn't much at all. He walked quietly out of the berry patch to my little trail. I thought for sure that he would go the opposite direction, into the wind. Wrong... he turned and walked in my direction about 30 feet from me. I had my 400 lens on my camera, so all that showed up in the view finder was this very large furry face. Plus it was dark for my f/5.6 lens, so I was shooting at 1/60th of a second; which hand held is not conducive to clear photos. (The shot below the title is what I ended up with)
I have my camera set for high speed bursts, so when I was snapping photos it makes a fairly loud, machine gun sound. He stopped and looked at me and couldn't figure out the sound.... he stood there for a few minutes and decided this was not the direction he should be taking. So he turned and disappeared into the forest. Normally, when I see or am around a bear and he sees me or gets my scent, he ends up crashing through the forest like a runaway train. But this bruin seemed to be enjoying the day and his berry lunch and left for reasons unknown.
It was an enjoyable respite for me, good berries, company, but poor conversation.
Some other bear friends of the past.....
"Bears are made of the same dust as we, and breathe the same winds and drink of the same waters. A bear's days are warmed by the same sun, his dwellings are overdomed by the same blue sky, and his life turns and ebbs with heart-pulsings like ours and was poured from the same fountain..." - John Muir