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I have to say, this last fall in Yellowstone was my best ever for bears - particularity grizzly bears. The beautiful bruin in this photo is easily my favorite of the trip.

It all started when I decided to take a different route the morning this was captured. As I drove along, I was scanning the countless golden fields and ancient forests when I spotted something “dark” in the meadow just beyond a row of lodgepole pines.

I didn’t get a good look at it, but the half-second glimpse was enough to get my curiosity stirred. When you catch just a fleeting glimpse like that, often it’s the color that lingers in your mind more than anything else. I wasn’t sure what was there, initially thinking that it might be a moose calf – at least the coloration seemed accurate in my mind.

As I swung around and parked I immediately recognized my mistake – that’s no moose, it’s a big male griz!

I stepped out of my truck just as another photographer pulled up (Tom) and we joined forces to photograph this magnificent animal. We walked a parallel course to the big silvertip, keeping an ample distance between the front elements of our lenses and his extraordinary bulk. For a solid 90% of the time, his head was decidedly down and we had no shot. When he would raise his head, it was only occasionally that it would be in a position that favored a photograph.

As we maintained a relative position to him, it started raining, and then snowing. Despite the large hoods hanging off the front of our lenses, the wind was surprisingly efficient at scattering rain and snow onto our glass, so it was a constant battle to keep the lens dry.

Fortunately, the bear was becoming more generous about looking epic as the weather came in, so we snapped away and each ended up with a card full of grizzly images, this being one of my favorites.

Soon after this photo he headed off towards the woods and we packed it in.

The most amazing part? The thin layer of trees between the roadway and the meadow was enough to obscure what was going on and we had this bear to ourselves for about an hour and a half. A virtual miracle in Yellowstone, and why I think this was my favorite bear.
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