Humans and bears flock to Southern Vancouver Island rivers at this time of year to watch salmon spawn, and amateur photographer Kerrie Deines Reay has captured some fantastic images of bears and salmon interacting.
Reay, a Sooke resident, retired a few years ago and decided to get back into photography, capturing images of bears hunting for salmon during the annual spawning season.
She recently started trying out video and the results are Attenborough-esque. Some of the videos have been posted to Facebook by the former District of Sooke councillor, who says she feels as if she is giving something back through them.
“Some days, you go out and get skunked. And then, on other days, you can capture some incredible moments. We’re lucky in Sooke to have the nature we do. So it’s nice, sharing these experiences is a way of sharing the beautiful nature for people who might not be able to reach it.”
She tries to spend time outside every day, sometimes staying for an hour or up to four or five hours.
Safety is important. Reay tries to keep her distance, noting that her camera lens makes it look much closer than she actually is.
“You can never be complacent with a black bear. I don’t race up and down, knocking rocks loose. If I’m going to move, I always try to back up and move slowly because you don’t want to spook a bear.”
Reay says she always tries to ensure she has the water between her and the bears and avoids taking photos when there are crowds around. She also always keeps an eye on the bear’s ears; when they are pointing backward, Reay retreats.
“It’s important to just try and be respectful of the space. I try and avoid interfering with the bears.”
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