In area, Alaska contains more than 65% – or 54.6 million acres – of America’s National Park system. No wonder Alaska is called the Last Frontier!
On this 9-day photo workshop, we’re connecting with two of the more remote, but most prolific parks for photographing bears in their natural habitat: Lake Clark and Katmai National Parks. The parks can only be accessed by small plane, landing on the beach or on floats on a lake or sheltered bay. These two parks are vastly different from one another in both their accessibility and their wildlife management.
Photographing grizzly bears is a thrill like no other. They are truly magnificent creatures, and a treat to behold. The grizzly bear, also known as the brown bear along the coastal reaches of Alaska and Western Canada, was once widespread across much of North America, but decimated by European settlers near to the point of extinction. A few grizzlies remain in isolated pockets of wilderness in the Lower 48, in places like Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. In Alaska and parts of Canada, the grizzly has prevailed and is doing well. Katmai National Park, southwest of Anchorage, in Alaska is one of the best bear viewing places anywhere in the world, with a large population of bears. The bears frequent much of the park, but are most commonly seen along the coastal areas of Hallo Bay and at Brooks River in July and September. There are many places in the region that are excellent for grizzly bear photography.
The bears are typically solitary animals, but congregate in places where there is an abundant food source. The rich salmon fisheries of the Alaskan Peninsula make for primary brown bear habitat; Katmai National Park is home to one of the densest populations of brown bears in the world, and consequently many of the grizzly bear photos we see are taken there. Though Alaskans tend to differentiate the coastal bears from the grizzlies of the interior and Lower 48 States, the 2 are actually the same species, both known as “Ursus arctos “. The rich protein of their salmon diet, for these coastal bears, makes for big bears. Males, known as “boars”, can reach weights of over 1500 pounds and stand over 10′ tall. Grizzly bears in places like Denali National Park or Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, are rarely even half that size, as much of their diet consists of berries, roots and grasses. They don’t get anywhere near the same volume of protein, which is why they don’t grow as large.
The bears forage voraciously throughout the summer months, storing as much fat as they can, before denning for the winter. They are not true hibernators, but rather sleep, much as we do, for an extended period of time. Young are born during this time, and emerge from the dens typically in April or May. The cubs stay with their mother for 2-3 years before leaving, at which time she’ll breed again. Breeding season is typically June and early July.
- 8 nights and 9 days in a sparsely visited wilderness of untouched beauty and splendour
- Encounter millions of salmons becoming feasts of brown bears.
- Stirring encounters and sensational images of bears fishing for salmon in picturesque surroundings.
- Breathtaking views and photographs of marine animals including the magnificent killer whale
- Take breathtaking images of Kamchatka’s wonders including hot springs, and active and dormant volcanoes and calderas
- Spectacular landscapes and lavish natural beauty composed of snow-capped peaks, exquisite lakes, rivers and meadows
- A wealth of photography tips and techniques, post-processing help and natural history learning under the skippers Rahul And Khushboo
What to Bring
Compiled is a common list of how to prepare and a suggested list of items to bring. Keep in mind that Kingfisher has available and provides hip boots, rain jackets, bug head nets/repellent, bear defense (spray/air horns/firearm to be used by the guide) Our guide carries a first-aid kit, satellite telephone and bottled water for the clients.
“What should I bring?”
Point & shoot cameras work fine to capture scenery, but if you want close up shots you should plan on bringing a camera with a zoom lens. The most typical and recommended is the 75-300mm zoom lens. Batteries (spare or fully charged) Extra Film / Memory Cards / Videotape
A typical Kodiak summer day the temperature tends to be in the mid 50’s. Rain & wind can make a 50-degree day feel like 35 or 40 degrees, so it is important to dress in layers. Also, the high temperatures in the summer can reach up to 75 degrees. It is best to dress in layers, so that you can be adaptable to changes in weather, and more comfortable during the hiking portion of the trip.
Hiking Shoes (Frazer Lake Trips)
-Medications / Prescriptions you might need
If you have brought a firearm or bear (pepper) spray on your trip to Kodiak, we require that you leave it in Kodiak city and DO NOT take it on the bear tour. Our guides are experienced with being around Kodiak Brown Bears and the necessary precautions needed to keep everyone safe (including the bears). Our guides carry air horns, pepper spray and or a rifle on all tours.
Please note: The Tour begins and ends at Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Russia, but assistance and coordination will be provided for transfer from Moscow. For advice on flight options from your destination, please talk to us