I saw my first black bear of the year a couple of days ago. He ran across the road in front of my car as I was driving down a logging road.
The above photograph was taken several years ago. Despite his size, I almost walked right by him but I had that spooky feeling that somebody was looking at me and spotted him to my left. I had my dogs with me but they couldn't see him because the grass was so high and the bear couldn't see the dogs either. The bear froze with his mouthful of grass and we stared at each for a long moment. So what could I do besides take his picture? I had a problem with the autofocus though because it was focussing on some vegetation in front of the bear and not on his face. So I took a couple of steps to my right, tried again, and got the shot shown above.
All this happened a year to the day after I first met this bear. The two sightings were a couple of kilometers apart and the notch in his right ear makes him pretty distinctive so I recognized him. He's also the only bear I've come across that doesn't run away when he sees me. Apparently he likes to have his picture taken.
The first time I saw him (and by the way, he's also the biggest bear I've ever seen), I was walking the dogs with my husband in a field bordered by forest very close to where we live. We'd just taken the dogs off their leashes when one of them started barking like crazy. I took some rather boring shots of the bear running away through the long grass. But suddenly the bear stopped running, turned around, stood up and looked straight at us. I couldn't help myself...I started merrily clicking away until I noticed that his mouth had opened slightly. My husband said, "I think we should get out of here." That was probably the understatement of the day. So we slowly backed away and the bear did the same. He calmly strolled into the forest.
Here's one of the photographs from my first meeting with Big Ben (as I've come to think of him).
The first time I ever saw a bear I was scared practically senseless and made quite a wide detour to get back to my car. But you get used to seeing them after awhile and now it's second nature. One year I saw a bear or two every day for weeks whenever I went on my morning walk with the dogs. Lately they seem a little more scarce but I'm sure they're out there.