Alaska – Bears of Katmai and more – Photography Workshop 2019

July 1 to July 7, 2019

Coastal Grizzly Bears and Walrus will be our primary subjects but we may also see Wolf, Lynx, Moose, Beaver, Caribou, Dall sheep, Seals, Fox, Sea Otters, Tundra Swan, Puffins, and Bald Eagles. This is the best location on Planet Earth to observe and photograph the giant coastal grizzlies (brown bears). In this perfect wilderness, you will watch bears fishing for salmon, digging for clams, eating sedge grasses or grazing on blueberries on the alpine tundra. Visit one of the world’s only photographable walrus pods on a remote Baring Sea beach.

The lodge provides a true wilderness experience.  Iliamna and Redoubt are two active volcanoes in Lake Clark National Park. Iliamna has not erupted recently but is frequently seen steaming from its summit fumaroles. Redoubt erupted in the spring of 2009.   Both these volcanoes provide an excellent backdrop for coastal brown bear photography.  


We will have the opportunity to photograph the coastal brown bears, boars, and sows (many with cubs) in their natural environment but at close up ranges.  This location does not have the typical viewing platforms and limited viewing areas.  You will photograph from the ground as well as low trailers pulled by ATVs. 

To give the best experience, our days will be based on a very flexible schedule allowing us to respond to the opportunities dependent on wildlife, weather, and light conditions, so you can have the best experience each day. We start each day early to capture images in the best light. We photograph throughout the morning, breaking at midday for lunch and open discussion sessions. After lunch, we head out for more photography.  Dinner will be at the lodge followed by a meeting to download and review images, instructional and feedback sessions.

The other big thing to remember is that no single location consistently offers an abundance of bears. The timing of when the bears are there is variable and dependent on when the salmon decide to return each year. The salmon always return but sometimes the run can be 10 or even 15 days late or even early.

Bears follow the food with salmon being their favorite. Salmon runs peak in different locations at different times. As the salmon begin to dwindle at one location, the bears move to new areas where the runs are peaking. The bears often move 20 miles in a single day. Simply put, using private planes and boats we will follow the migration of the bears that are following their food source. You are guaranteed to see bears and other wildlife.

Instructional Sessions

You will gain a better understanding of both the technical side of wildlife photography and most importantly the subject.

In the field, you will be provided instruction based upon your needs. 

We will cover: Light Quality and Quantity; Temperature; Direction, side,  and backlighting; Exposure; Metering for the best exposure; Flash and fill flash techniques

How to obtain tack sharp images: Auto vs Manual Focus Modes

ITNERARY

Day 1 

Arrival and reception. We will meet at the Holiday Inn Express Lobby at 6:30 PM  and go to the downtown area for a dinner, socialize, and get to know each other.  We will go over our workshop schedule. (D)

Day 2

Mid-morning departure to the lodge by charter plane. The floatplane flight is approximately one hour with a beach landing during low tide or on a lake. We’ll be greeted by the lodge staff on ATV’s with trailers who will take us to our lodge  After we get settled at the lodge and have lunch, we’ll venture out for our first photo session with the bears. (B, L, D)

Day 3-6

We will be at a custom lodge where every day you decide what kind of adventure you want. The options are only limited by your imagination. After a hearty breakfast, we’ll travel to locate the bears. Katmai, Brooks Falls, Katmai Coastal areas, remote lakes and streams where we will photograph the bears.  This region is unique, providing you the opportunity to photograph the coastal brown bears, boars, and sows (many with cubs) in their natural environment but at a close-up range. This location does not have the typical viewing platforms and limited viewing areas. You will photograph from the ground as well as low trailers pulled by ATVs 

Photographing the bears usually revolves around the tides, light, and weather conditions. July and August are perfect times of the year to photograph these magnificent bears clamming on the beach and chasing salmon through the rivers.

If you are interested in doing some fishing, this can be arranged at convenient times between photo excursions. The lodge provides cleaning and packaging services for you to take your catch home. (B, L, D)

Day 7

After some early morning photography, we will have breakfast and head back to Anchorage around 10:00 AM. for your return flights home.  As a precaution please book return flights with a late departure as occasional weather problems may cause delays. You may choose to spend another night in Anchorage if you prefer.  This night is not included in the package price. (B)

Registration 

Registration is limited to a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 8 photographers and the cost is $7,450 per photographer. Your airfare to and from Anchorage, travel insurance and incidentals are not included.  Please complete the registration and release forms. A $1,000 deposit by January 15, 2019, is required to confirm your reservation that is 100% refundable if the minimum of 5 is not reached by January 15, 2019. After January 15, 2019 there is no refund of the reservation deposit. $3,500 is due by April 30, 2019, with the final balance of $2,950 due by June 1, 2019. With the exception of the deposit, our standard cancellation policies apply. Please make your payments to Shiv Verma and mail them to 652 Dedham Street, Wrentham, MA 02093-1149. Credit cards are accepted with a 3% processing surcharge.

Accommodation & Travel

Our first night will be at the Ramada Inn in downtown Anchorage.  All rooms are double occupancy and included in the price.  Call the hotel when you arrive and the hotel shuttle will pick you up from the airport.

Holiday Inn Express Anchorage
4411 Spenard Rd,
Anchorage, AK, 99517

Phone: 907-248-8848

We will be staying at the Lodge (all rooms double occupancy) for the second through the sixth night and are included in the price. 

Plan to arrive in Anchorage by the afternoon of July 1, 2019

Information

Contact us at 617.759.0010 or email sv@shivverma.com

Additional details, enrollment forms, and release forms are available here