Alaska Coastal Wildlife & Brown Bear Photo Tour
A superb brown bear and coastal Alaska wildlife photo tour. I guide this tour supported by the best charter boat in the bear viewing business, Coastal Explorer, with renowned Alaskan captain Chuck Keim at the helm. Nobody does it better.
- - 6 nights on the boat
- - 5 full days shooting, + 2 half days
- - Countless brown bears & cubs
- - Harbor seals, bald eagles and sea otter
- - Food and accommodations
- - Small, customized photo only group
- - Hallo Bay, Kanak Bay, Geographic Harbor
- - Fantastic Alaska scenery
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Photo Tour Info and Overview
This trip is fantastic. With the charter of Coastal Explorer, we'll have the mobility to go up and down the coast of Katmai National Park, exploring Geographic Harbor, Hallo Bay, Kukak Bay and more. Or, if we find one particular spot that's really ideal, we can stay and shoot there. This provides us with unsurpassed opportunities to photograph brown bears in a myriad different environments. The mountains of the magnificent Alaska Range provide a backdrop for this photo tour that you simply can't find anywhere else. Towering snow-capped peaks, jagged rugged crags, a sea of rich green sedge grass, and the beauty of the Katmai coast make this a fantastic place for those 'bears in the landscape' type shots that unequivocally declare "Alaska".
This tour departs from Kodiak Island, via private charter flight, to our home for the next week; a 70' boat. We'll use this boat, along with Chuck's small skiff, to move up and down the coast of the Alaska peninsula, and the incomparable Katmai National Park. You'll get to explore world famous Hallo Bay, Kukak bay, or over at Kanak Bay and Geographic Harbor; Katmai National Park and the Alaska Peninsula simply offers the world's greatest brown bear photography.
This mobility has 2 benefits to our photography.
1) Variety. We'll even have the freedom to look for nesting eagles, different backgrounds and locations, behaviors, and different bears.
2) Flexibility; we can move with tides, weather patterns, etc, to give ourselves the best opportunities at some great photography.
Mother nature doesn't work on my, your, or anyone else's schedule. So the flexibility to move, travel up and down the coast to various locations is important to a successful photo tour. We can move where we need to with tides, winds, weather. We can rest during the day, or do some sight-seeing, looking for seals, sea otters, eagles; this year we even saw 2 orcas.
Brown bears, bears and more bears
What this photo tour offers is an incredible diversity of photography opportunities. there's simply no other way you might spend a week and be able to shoot in so many different locations, with so many different bears. nothing beats being mobile for photography.
Another advantage over many of the other bear tours offered is the sheer number of bears here. Instead of heading to a comfortable lodge for the week, with maybe 5-10 bears around, we'll see countless bears; possibly as many as 30 or 40! Early in the season means bears are hungry, they're active, and they'll concentrate on the first available food sources; coastal sedge grasses and protein rich clams on the shoreline. There's a good possibility of catching bears mating, as well as playing and fighting, etc. The bears gather here in incredible numbers, and the shooting will be absolutely fantastic.
Other wildlife species
Any wildlife photo tour leader who guarantees a subject is probably not doing the right thing by his/her clients. That said, this tour we will aim to photograph a variety of other species as well as the great brown bears. Typically, we're able to get great photography opportunities with sea otter, Harbor seal and bald eagles, a variety of gulls and other coastal birds and, frequently (but not always) wolves. On some trips we've spotted orca and moose, as well. In 2015, we'll schedule this tour to afford us some opportunities to photograph puffin, as well. Should be awesome!
In 2015 my intention is to run this trip much more as a "general wildlife" photo tour than a straightforward brown bear tour. We'll plan our time to maximize our opportunities with all those species available to us. I think that's a better option than spending all the time with the bears. Weather and countless other factors will, of course, play into those decisions as we go.
Group size is limited to a maximum of 6 people. Preferably a group of 5, but this allows for a spouse, partner, etc. The small group size is fundamental to the 'you' in 'your photo tour'.
Both your own and the bears' safety is paramount. We take the extra step to make sure your photo tour is a safe one. We pay close attention to the bears and their behavior and follow their lead on what's OK and what's not OK for us to do. No exceptions.
We'll bring for you
First rate food and accommodations, in the field photo advice, and first class local guiding experience. Sat phone, emergency equipment. We also provide hip boots if you don't have a pair of chest waders, though I'd recommend waders. I'll provide you with a detailed information packet upon booking.
Food will often include fresh seafood, such as Halibut, or Tanner crab, caught and prepared while we are on shore photographing.
The terms of the tour are simple.
50% deposit = $2900.00. The balance is due 60 days prior to the trip departure.
This trip requires a minimum of 4 people to go.
If you have to cancel after you've paid in full, refunds will be given for the balance depending on whether the spot is filled. It's also contextual - I understand emergencies, etc, and try to be as flexible as I can about that kind of stuff. If I can't fill the spot, I can put the balance towards the trip the following year, if you'd like.
I'll stress again the benefit of heading out with an Alaskan company. You simply can't beat local experience when it comes to nature photography, and particularly wildlife photography. What you get here is 2 Alaskan guides working together to offer you the best in brown bear photography.
Chuck Keim has been running his charter business for 20 years now, and there's simply no one in the business who can come close to his experience. He's the person so many of the world's foremost wildlife photographers and filmmakers and researchers turn to when they need great brown bear photography. Chuck's absolutely "the guy".
As the photo tour leader, I bring a wealth of backcountry and photography experience to this tour. I've photographed Alaska's brown bears intensively for well over 10 years now, across much of the state, and have solid experience with bears and bear behavior.
I've also been guiding both backcountry and front country trips for over 10 years, so I'm familiar and comfortable in my role as a leader and a guide. I'm also a certified Wilderness First Responder, and experienced at dealing with backcountry situations. With any remote travel, having experienced and trained medical help around is critical.
Being a professional musician, I have also spent nearly 20 years working with people, and also teaching. Although this isn't an instructional photo "workshop", I'm an experienced instructor and offer my experience and knowledge to help you improve your own shooting as we go. If you have any questions, I'm glad to help.
You'll want to bring your enthusiasm, your love of wilderness, adventure and good times, and a sense of wonder. Your camera gear, and clothing for a week. Good raingear and warm clothing is essential in Alaska at any time of year. You'll want to be in decent shape for short day hikes and jaunts along the beach with your camera gear on your back.