Black Bear Photography

As evidenced by my last few posts, I’m sure you have gathered that I like photographing birds, but another favourite subject of mine are bears.  When the weather starts to get warmer, the local Black Bears come out of hibernation, and are very hungry! Mother sows must also provide for their cubs, which can number as many as four, so momma bear has her paws full trying to get as much nutrition as possible, and also keep the little ones safe. The bears can be very skinny in March and April, so must bulk up over the summer & autumn to get ready for winter. During the spring and summer months, their primary diet is vegetarian, consisting of grasses, berries with the occasional small animal like squirrels and insect grubs.  In the autumn during the salmon run, the bears will feast on salmon to bulk up on body fat for the winter months. I have had many amazing bear encounters in the 11 years that I have been photographing them, often seeing the same individuals, and I think they do recognize me as well. Here are some examples of my encounters with the local Black Bear population.

As we all know, momma bears are very protective of their cubs, so I took this shot from a distance and cropped in. I think Black Bear cubs are somewhat cute, don’t you?

– Nikon Z 7 + Nikon 200-500mm f5.6VR
– 1/400 sec, f5.6, 64 ISO


One of a Black Bear’s favourite foods is blueberries, as well as mine!  This beautiful young bear came into the same row that I was in and casually started eating the blueberries straight off the bush.  It’s just too bad I din’t have any ice cream to share with her.

- Nikon Z 7 + Nikon 400mm f2.8G VR- 1/250 sec, f2.8, 560 ISO

– Nikon Z 7 + Nikon 400mm f2.8G VR – 1/250 sec, f2.8, 560 ISO


Black Bears are by nature very playful and will use any object as a toy or plaything.  Here, a young bear plays with a neighbour’s backyard swing.

– Nikon Z 9 + Nikon 400mm f2.8G VR
– 1/100 sec, f2.8, 250 ISO


Two Black Bear cubs try their hand at fishing for salmon.

– Nikon Z 9 + Nikon 400mm f2.8G VR
– 1/800 sec, f2.8, 64 ISO


Momma bear has caught a big Chum Salmon – her and her cubs had a big lunch!

– Nikon Z 9 + Nikon 400mm f2.8G VR
– 1/250 sec, f2.8, 2200 ISO


Junior is assisting momma bear.

– Canon 5DmkIII + Canon 70-200mm f2.8L IS II
– 1/200 sec, f2.8, 320 ISO


After eating their fill of salmon, now it is time to rest and sleep it off.

– Nikon Z 6 + Nikon 300mm f2.8G VR
– 1/160 sec, f2.8, 400 ISO


Sleeping with a belly full of salmon.

– Nikon Z 6 + Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VR II
1/60 sec, f2.8, 1000 ISO

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Beau Photo Supplies Inc.
Beau Photo Supplies Inc.