Sleeping bruin

Christopher RobinArts 865

Waiting for hours for a critter to crawl out of a hole does not fit my agenda. I simply do not have the patience to be a wildlife photographer. However, if an animal will pose for me, I will take full advantage of the opportunity.

Armed with a new 600mm zoom lens, in early January a couple of years ago, I was looking for anything in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that might cross my path. Though the weather was unusually warm, I certainly was not expecting to come across any bears. Apparently southern black bears will come out of hibernation during periods of warm weather.

This gal was digging for grubs high in a broken tree, not very alert and groggy as if just up from a deep sleep. While I was watching and photographing from a distance, the warm weather finally got the best of her and she settled in for a short nap.

A renowned Smoky Mountain bear photographer, Bill Lea, later identified her as “Hazel,” a long time Cades Cove resident. You may have seen a news video of her later that spring as she introduced her four young cubs to the human visitors to the park. My encounter with her was exciting and, in my mind, immediately justified my new lens.

Photographer Chris and painter Robin Rohwer each week strive to share a painting or photograph that captured their interest in hopes that it will also capture yours. They have a small studio and gallery in the Emporium Center in downtown Knoxville where you can stop and see their work. Check ahead to see when they will be there, as they may be off looking for more inspiration. Their website is Email them at If a particular piece interests you for your home or office, please contact them. All works are copyright protected.

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