Eye Contact - Jimmy Breitenstein

Eye Contact

Observing wildlife in their natural habitats has always been one of my favorite activities. Each animal has its own personality, habits and tendencies. They all interact with each other in different ways and it can be so fun to get to know these amazing creatures on such a personal level. Most of the animals I observe and photograph either don’t know that I am there, run when they do realize, or they just don’t care and go about their activities without paying any attention to me. In very special and rare instances one of these animals will notice me and rather than run or disregard my presence, will acknowledge me, make and hold eye contact and in a way communicate with me. This is what happened while observing this Black Bear. Usually when eye contact is made with bears, they feel threatened or challenged and can become angry or aggressive. For me in this case, just the opposite occurred. When I made eye contact with this bear I felt a very deep respect for the animal and I knew it could sense that respect and that it had a similar respect for me. No anger or aggression was demonstrated; it simply looked and seemed to be reading my thoughts. Eventually the bear moved on to continue its morning forage for food, but not before I snapped a few pictures of my new friend.

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