Photo Tour Location
The Katmai area was declared a National Monument in 1918. In 1980 the boundaries were greatly extended and the region declared a National Park and Preserve. At 4.2 million acres Katmai National Park stands as a sizable chunk of land set aside for the preservation of an amazing abundance of wildlife. Sovereign of which is the grand old Grizzly bear.
Katmai National Park and Preserve lies southwest of Anchorage on the Alaskan Peninsula and is arguably the greatest grizzly bear viewing and photography location in the world. The prodigious salmon runs attract and support a grizzly bear population density that is among the highest in the world.
It’s also among the safest places to photograph wild grizzly bears given their plentiful food sources and tolerance of human presence. The bears are generally extremely tolerant of people. This combined with the high bear population density (as many as 70-80 bears in the area) makes it possible to shoot literally thousands of photos in a few short days.
The beauty of a fall trip is that we get the place largely to ourselves. Along with dozens of bears, thousands of salmon, some bald eagles, the odd wolf, gulls, waterfowl, and assorted other wildlife.
Respect for the subject is absolute.
Your and the bears’ safety is paramount. We maintain a “safety-first” standard at all times. We have a thorough safety talk before the trip and closely adhere to the most current protocols on safe travel in bear country. Safety-first means caution. It means responsibility and it requires an excellent knowledge of the area: the terrain, wildlife, backcountry camping, etc.
Your guide is also a certified Wilderness First Responder.
We make a concerted effort to not harass and/or disturb the wildlife. A smaller group size not only ensures you the photography opportunities you need but also that our group doesn’t bother the bears. We understand the difference between nature photographers and the paparazzi. We will neither approach too closely nor stay too long.
By keeping our group size small your trip remains about you and your photographic experience with the bears. Group size is restricted to 4 or 5 people (depending on circumstances). Exceptions will only be considered on a case by case basis.
I think group size is a critical part of the experience and don’t like to see hordes of photographers bunched around a subject, crowding and pushing for photos.
Less is more.
In order that we maximize your time in the park you will meet in King Salmon, Alaska and take a charter flight from there to our camp before lunchtime. It is critical you schedule your arrival in King Salmon the day before our trip begins (accommodation not included).
We’ll get a chance to shoot the first afternoon and evening, then have 5 more full days of shooting before our final night in camp. We then have a couple hours to shoot in the morning before a midday charter flight back to King Salmon.
It’s only a little more than a one hour commercial flight from King Salmon to Anchorage so most folks can be back in Anchorage that evening if they wish.
Expeditions Alaska provide high quality, comfortable tents and we will have an electric fence around the campsite. This trip will be outfitted completely. All camping gear will be furnished for you. You need to bring your personal gear (sleeping bag, clothes, etc, of course). We take care of food and shelter and have our own camp cook.
We’ll have solid, secure gear and food caches, plus weather-protected wooden shelters for inside dining in wet weather; even in harsh weather the camping is more than comfortable. If you need assistance with any gear, please don’t hesitate to ask. We also carry a satellite phone, as well as both First Aid and Basic Life Support kits.
Guide & Tour Leader
I have over 10 years experience photographing grizzly bears and many trips to Katmai National Park, as well as guiding extended remote wilderness backpacking trips. I work impossibly hard to ensure trip participants have a safe trip and a fantastic experience.
The advantages of being a local Alaska business include knowledge of the place; the relationships of the history, the geography and ecology of the area, promising trip participants a fascinating adventure.
I offer a first rate trip because we keep it small and maintain the utmost respect for the places we visit. This translates to an unforgettable photo tour that I’m more than sure you’ll absolutely love. Read more about me and Expeditions Alaska on the About page.
I think you have raised the bar for photographing bears with your tour. The experience of being with those magnificent creatures will last a lifetime. Everyday brought new and exciting opportunities, being in the water or on the river bank made it so much better. ….
Mark was fantastic, his meals were varied and delicious with an international flavor. The fresh fruit and vegetables were an added bonus. His meals were timely and he worked very hard at keeping everybody well fed and taken care of. His backwoods knowledge added a great deal to the overall experience.
A fantastic experience that I would highly recommend.
Thanks” — Bob Schlatter, Sunny CA.