A hobby photographer has shared a series of beautiful images of black bears he’s encountered while out and about in Metro Vancouver.
During the past two years, Mehran Shariati has captured photos of black bears crossing roads, peeking behind trees, taking dips in lakes, and walking through forests—offering a glimpse into their daily lives.
The 28-year-old has come across a number of black bears in North Vancouver, Maple Ridge, Surrey, Pitt Meadows, and Langley, but he is always sure to keep his distance.
“Photographing black bears is quite a crazy experience, most of the time, they are much bigger than you, faster than you and stronger too,” Shariati told Vancouver Is Awesome.
“Although black bears are often just as confused about humans, as humans are confused about them, they can still be unpredictable and you want to avoid being near their cubs or near their food."
Having watched black bears for a while now, Shariati said he had noticed that “in a way, they are very similar to us [people].”
“They have kids and they teach them how to survive and they let their kids go on their own once they have acquired the skills,” he explained.
In one of his favourite photographs, taken in September 2018, a black bear cub can be seen running through the rain across the road to its mother. Shariati described the encounter as one he’d “never forget.”
“I felt very nervous but yet very excited at the same time,” he said.
“That’s the most alive I’ve felt in awhile because I felt so involved in nature.”
Originally from Iran, Shariati has lived in Canada for 15 years now and fell in love with the country’s wildlife along the way. He said he began dabbling in photography in 2015, when he started playing around with his brother’s camera that wasn’t being used much.
“I took a portrait of my nephew and it was the most incredible moment ever,” Shariati recalled.
“I captured his emotions and personality all in one frame. Photography, for me, is mostly about trying to capture the perfect moment to tell a story in exactly one frame.”
While he’s made some income from selling his photos and shooting events, he said he preferred to keep photography as a hobby rather than pursue a career in the industry.
"It will always be a hobby of mine, as I love doing it,” Shariati, who owns a heating company, said.
His main goal through his photography is to inspire others to see Canada’s incredible wildlife as he does.
“I’d like to continue to capture snapshots of nature and wildlife and help people understand how privileged we are to have so much wildlife around us and we should do our best to protect it,” Shariati said.
“If I’ve changed one person's opinion about how precious and similar wildlife is to us humans, then I know I’ve done a good job today.”
You can see more of Shariati's photos on his Instagram page @awejunkie.