Bearly Able / by Dave Hileman

So I have decided to change the format slightly. The "journey" section is now combined with the "no itinerary" blog. The first did not have enough posts and they were not clearly distinct. This section is now on things I am learning or should be learning on photography and processing as well as camping. I am learning things - though it seems like very slowly learning, often with the help of friends or a web site but occasionally, like today's post, by my mistakes. 

I was shooting in the morning at Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains. It was quite foggy and on my last shot I was facing the rising sun. I stopped and went back to the truck. There I put my camera in the back seat, still on the tripod, as I expected to shoot another tree in the fog a short distance away. On the main loop road I slowed to look at the tree and as began to pull to the side of the road noticed a bear coming out of the woods 200 feet away. I quickly pulled to the side by the fence and could not get out of the truck because I parked too close. Restarted and moved five feet up and two more out. Got out grabbed the camera - remember it is on the tripod and needs to be removed. The bear is actually coming straight to me and is about 100 feet away and closing fast. I get the camera free, raise it to my eye. Black. Remove lens cap, back to my eye, still black. Terrible settings for shooting a running bear in bright light at now 30 feet. Try to remember what I needed to change in my settings and simply could not, Just a mild panic. Not really a significant panic is more realistic. Finally I moved the ISO dial way up, not the best choice but I could see the bear, took a shot, actually four, and the second one is OK, only because it is a bear not a very good photograph. The second shot is from 8 feet and really bad. 

So what is the lesson. When I finish shooting set all the dials back to a known setting and do so consistently. The next time a bear attacks me I can get a good photo. My friend Dennis used my misfortune to post a better explanation than mine at

I am sure this blog site will fill up soon with everything I do wrong. But it is a learning curve. 

Still I did get a bear and Dennis did not!

Still I did get a bear and Dennis did not!