Here’s an image taken this past summer at Hallo Bay, in Katmai National Park. The sow has 2 cubs, and this one was just finishing nursing from her when I made this photo. The other sibling, a male, had taken his fill already and wandered over to a nearby wood pile to explore and climb around on. There’s always plenty of action at Hallo Bay.
Brown bears will nurse for as long as 2 years, and some even longer. It’s an amazing experience to be so close to, and hear the growling and purring and moaning and all the little noises they make. I once watched 4 cubs nurse at once from their mother, and it was a symphony of different sounds coming from a tangled mess of fur. Pretty cute.
I can’t think of an animal I enjoy photographing as much as bears, be they brown, black, white or other. The grizzlies of interior Alaska, the polar bears of the arctic, the black bears of the forest and lush coastal areas, are just an amazing animal to photograph. They’re often super tolerant of us, and all our frenetic clicking and gasps of excitement over what to them is, I’m sure, often very benign daily behaviors.
Next year I’ll be at Hallo Bay in early August, running the Alaska Brown Bears and Coastal Wildlife Tour in conjunction with Greg Downing and his awesome photography instruction company, Naturescapes. Greg’s an incredible photographer, and I’m really looking forward to working with him once again.
In case you didn’t see it, here’s a video of some incredible action from the year’s tour.
If you’re interested in coming out next summer, hit me or Greg up and have a chat. Katmai’s always a blast and you’re never quite sure what surprises it holds.