American black bear, Ursus americanus, Hope Valley (10/14/18) Clayton Peoples
Red Lake Creek Cabin, Hope Valley (10/14/18) Clayton Peoples
Red Lake Creek, Hope Valley (10/14/18) Clayton Peoples
The High Sierra is “unbearably beautiful right now,” color spotter Clayton Peoples reported.
He was in the Hope Valley over the weekend, photographing along CA-88 and CA-89.
“While taking in fall colors, I was lucky enough to spot what is probably the largest black bear I have ever seen. It was feasting along a creek that passes under Highway 89,” he wrote.
What Clayton did to get this shot was to be as unobtrusive as possible, not approaching the animal and letting it act naturally.
Should you encounter wildlife and wish to photograph it, stop and don’t move. If you run to get closer, the animal will run away. But, if you stop, wait and watch, the animal may not notice you or will become used to you and not perceive you as a threat.
As long as the animal is not bothered by your presence, he will go about his business, which makes for great fall photography.
A long lens (200mm or greater) and sturdy tripod are useful for close up, sharp images. My favorite working lens is a 28 – 300 mm, f3.5-5.6. It provides enough length and range to capture either closeups or environmental shots of mammals.
Animals are creatures of routine. They tend to return to the same locations (watering spots, food sources) at similar times of day, and forage during he first couple and last two hours of daylight.
Aspen, Hope Valley (10/14/18) Clayton Peoples
American black bears are not generally a threat to people, unless they are protecting young or sense that you have food. They usually can be intimidated from approaching by raising arms above one’s head, shouting or making loud sounds (banging a pot), but if they do not, walk away.
In addition to the bear, Clayton found more “bare” branches among the Hope Valley’s aspen, though said the trees surrounding Red Lake Creek Cabin are “still stunning, and the highway (and nearby hillsides) are still sporting a patchwork of gorgeous color. I’m not sure how long it will last, but it is still very pretty right now.”