Dave Shaffer has lived in Northwest Wisconsin for over twenty years. There, he has the great fortune to live surrounded by nature’s beauty and to share natural habitat with black bear and many other wildlife species. Dave was raised in a family with strong hunting traditions and at an early age realized that more than anything, he loved spending time in nature. As a child, each day after school he would grab his rifle or bow and head to the woods to pursue game. This devotion to wild places allowed Dave to learn the art of patience and the ability to become one with nature. Over the years, Dave’s views on hunting gradually changed. Now, when Dave disappears into the woods of the Upper Midwest, he is armed only with his camera.
While he loves taking pictures of all wildlife species, Dave’s images of bears are especially close to his heart. Each black bear photograph is the result of countless solitary hours spent not just waiting and observing, but learning the habits of the bears: where they raise their young, what they feed on, how they move with the rhythm of the land and seasons. Dave develops a bond of trust, understanding and mutual respect with the bears. This allows him to get close enough to capture the animals in their many moods, to do justice to their individual spirits. Each image is testament to a deeply personal and magical moment between photographer and bear.
Dave’s intention is to bear witness to the natural world, to portray the magic of his most intimate encounters with these wild and nuanced animals, and to share these captivating photographs with others.
Dave’s photographs have been recognized by Smithsonian Magazine, the National Wildlife Federation, and Nature’s Best Photography (Natural History Museum). Many of his images have been published in Our Wisconsin magazine and can be found in galleries throughout Northern Wisconsin.