Does a Bear Shoot in the Woods?

Bear breaks out the long lens for the wooden berm shoot
Bears are rarely found in the open. Here the specimen displays its ability to survey its surroundings while standing upright on two legs.

Pro mountain bikers like Mike Kinrade and Graham Agassiz deserve a lot of credit. They’re regularly hucking themselves huge and putting themselves out there for our entertainment. Yet, there’d be nothing to be entertained by if it weren’t for the photographers and videographers who, in a lot of cases, are riding the same trails as the pros, but with 40 pounds of camera gear on their back.

Recently MTBVT explored the amazing bike trails of East Hereford and Coaticook in Southern Quebec, just over the border from Beecher Falls. (Watch for the upcoming story about that area.) Along for the ride was Burlington-based photographer Bear Cieri and this blog is dedicated to him.

Bears can often be found rooting in underbrush looking for morsels of eye candy.

Over the course of two days we rode about 40 miles of singletrack through every conceivable terrain from man-made wooden berms to fern-laden ravines. We definitely could have ridden more but at every picturesque spot, Bear would have us pull over and ride back and forth in front of him until he was satisfied he got the shot. Occasionally members of our group would grumble about the delays or the mosquitoes or the monotony of riding one piece of trail 10 times but all was forgotten when we’d get a glimpse of Bear’s work – he’d hold out the back of the camera with an image on the display and we’d see ourselves looking like professionals riding through surreal settings. This served to not only get us excited about the shoot, but it also gave us “Kodak courage.” We’d go higher and faster and push through the fear knowing it would look that much better on camera. (Of course, this could work to our detriment as evidenced when I went too high on a wooden berm and fell off the other side denting my helmet in the process.)

When threatened, bears will often avoid confrontation by climbing trees.

Bear’s pack weighed about 40 pounds more than any of ours but he kept up with us and never complained. He’d do anything to get the shot – climb trees, wade through mud, hunker down beside the trail in a cloud of black flies. In short, he is a consummate professional and it was a pleasure working/riding with him.

Never approach a resting bear, they don't take kindly to being disturbed.

Cheers to you, Bear and to all the photographers and videographers who work hard while we play – all in the name of entertainment.

To see another shoot we recently worked with Bear on (from his perspective) check out “Taking Advantage of the Rain” on his blog.

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