As photographers, we don’t always relish heavy overcast days for shooting. But with a trail camera, that is exactly what you want. Since the trail cameras are not of the highest quality, and are fixed at certain exposures, you get what you get. They do best in these evenly-lit, middle-toned scenes. And fortunately, that was just the setting when this Black Bear decided to saunter through my woods (the camera time stamp was 11:47am). Because of the cloudy conditions, the bear and the foliage is mostly exposed properly, though some detail in the bear’s black fur is blocked up. Unfortunately, trail camera images are jpegs and so there is little I can do to salvage the clipped blacks. I also like the composition…bear in lower left looking into the frame…though I did clip the bottom of his foot.

This image is also unique in that it is a ground-level, wide-angle portrait of a wild Black Bear. Since trail cameras have a wide angle lens, I strapped the camera only about two feet off the ground so the photo would be a more intimate wildlife portrait. Shots taken looking down on an animal are very “human-centric” and don’t convey the intimacy of an eyelevel portrait. I also knew that it would not be a good height if a deer came through as I’d probably cut off the deer’s head, but it would be perfect for another Bobcat, bear, fox, or Coyote.

This trail—only 50 yards from the house—has yielded White-tailed Deer, Porcupine, Bobcat (see recent post) and Black Bear. I never could have gotten this shot by sitting in a blind…Black Bears are just too alert to sounds and aware of smells to not detect a human in a blind this close to their trail.

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