Photographer gets an unforgettable hello from a grizzly bear

February 5, 2015, 11:41 a.m.

It's not too often that a photographer captures a moment in a wild animal's life that looks so unbelievably human. Indeed, it's usually in these anthropomorphic moments that we find the most connection -- and the most humor -- with wildlife. But the story behind this photo goes deeper than a well-timed snap. The final frame might be human-like, but the activity that was happening when it was taken was distinctly bear. Photographer Daniel Dietrich tells us the story:

"I was in Lake Clark National Park, Alaska, for this photo. A mom and her two cubs were walking the banks of the river when we floated by. We stopped to watch them for quite some time. They were combing the beach looking for spawned out salmon to eat. Being late in the season, there was little left on the shore. I’ve seen quite a few brown bear chase and catch fish in the water, but I’ve never seen one dive for fish. Mom swam out into the river while the kids sat on the beach. She dove into a pool where the water was 15 ft deep and would be down for 20 seconds or longer. She’d break the surface with a fish in her mouth and the cubs would go wild. My guide told me they have never known any other brown bear to dive for food with the exception of her mother.

"During one of mom’s dives, I was shooting this cub on the shore when she stood up and threw her paws up over her head and began rubbing her face. It was adorable. I captured a moment during the raising of her paws which gave the impression she was giving us a wave hello. This was truly a moment in nature which I will never forget."

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Jaymi Heimbuch is a writer and photographer at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

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