Posts from the ‘Coastal Brown Bears’ Category

Tunnel Vision

Focal Length: 800, ISO 400, F/Stop: 5.6, Exposure Time: 1/250

In this image…. This is what I’m seeing…… Sometime when I’m photographing bears in Alaska ……… This is all I see through the view finder…… Then I have to slap myself and get back into the game of photography the way it should be …….. SAFETY FIRST…….

I’ll be leaving Montana in 7 days to move permanently back home to Alaska, where I will be photographing my bears again…. But this time I’m not only going to photograph bears …… I will be photographing “Alaska” in all her beauty.

Jumping in

Focal Length: 400, ISO 640, F/Stop: 2.8, Exposure Time: 1/500

Sorry for not keeping up with my blog but I have a good reason …. just like the image shows,I’m jumping back into Alaska….. that’s right, I’m moving back to Alaska for good, and I have a lot that I’m doing to get ready for the move.. but for any one that has moved before there is a lot that goes into it, and it’s even bigger when your moving from Montana back to Alaska. But more than that I am getting excited more and more everyday, so that I can get back photographing bears…… As everyone knows, my forte is Bears…… So I have 9 days till I’m on the road again to Alaska…… I am also going to stop off in Banff, Canada for a photo-shoot. So by the time I get to Alaska…. it will be the first of June. I will try to keep up this blog as I move.

The Kenai River

Focal Length: 800, F/Stop: 5.6, Exposure Time: 1/200

Focal Length: 800, F/Stop: 5.6, Exposure Time: 1/1,250

Focal Length: 800, F/Stop: 5.6, Exposure Time: 1/200

Focal Length: 800, F/Stop: 5.6, Exposure Time: 1/250

Focal Length: 400, F/Stop: 2.8, Exposure Time: 1/200

The Kenai is Alaska’s most famous river and is best known for its runs of giant King Salmon or(Chinook).The world record King was taken here in 1985 and weighed over 97 pounds. Many consider Silvers to be the best of the salmon species to target with a fly.Joining the Upper Kenai at river mile seven is the world-renowned Russian River. This is the most famous salmon fishing location in the world. To get to the Kenai/Russian River Confluence can be through the Russian River Campground or by taking the Russian River Ferry across the Kenai. When the sockeye are running strong in mid summer, expect to see hundreds of anglers trying to land these tasty salmon at the Kenai/Russian confluence or combat fishing as Alaskans call it. Along with Kenai’s fish, the Kenai River is home to other wildlife, including moose, bears, and different species of birds. In the spring,Beluga Whales have been seen as far as six miles upstream from the mouth of the river to feed on schools of spawning Hooligan fish. I think what I’m really trying to say is that along with being able to fish the most famous river in the world, so do the bears ….. As you can see from these 5 images, it is quite possible that you will be fishing along side these bears …. if you decide to go and fish this famous river …. The Kenai.

Kodiak Bears, Kamchatka Dreams

Focal Length: 800, F/Stop: 5.6, Exposure Time: 1/500

I have had the pleasure to be able to photograph bears from all over the U.S, including all over Alaska …… and I have been able to take some award winning Bear images from these travels ….. but I think that the Coastal Browns of Kodiak Island are among some of the best bear images that I have taken ….. so far. They are also some of the biggest bears that I have encountered. I have seen some that can be measured around 10 to 13 feet tall (when standing up) and the weight in the neighborhood of around 1200 pounds.

Focal Length: 800, F/Stop: 6.3, Exposure Time: 1/640

As a photographer I get to be able to have that freedom to be able to see them do what bears do ….. and I will tell you, as for me I think the bigger they are the funnier they get …… I mean ……c’mon …..bears are totally funny anyway doing nothing but laying down playing with there feet trying to get some sleep ….. just like a child …..know what I mean. When they get together sometimes and play with each other is the best …… then when the Salmon season is over and the smell of winter is in the air, thats when the fun stops ….. and bears just seem to be able to change their demeanor on a dime and be able to let the bear they just got through playing with 5 minutes back, have it with one sweep of that large paw of theirs.

Focal Length: 800, F/Stop: 9, Exposure Time: 1/500

The desire that I have to photograph bears is something that I have had ever since I became a photographer 25 years ago ….. and theres a place that is on my 2011 photography planner for me to go this year to photograph bears and that place is Kamchatka, Russia …….. I want to see the biggest Coastal Brown bears in the world and all the live volcanoes one would ever want to see. I also want to see some of the most beautiful, untouched wilderness in the world ….. But the bears are what I’m really wanting to see and photograph …. I will keep you posted on this adventure  ………..


Focal Length: 800, F/Stop: 5.6, Exposure Time: 1/500

I have found that photographing bears is the most challenging endeavor I have ever done with photography. Challenging in several ways. I’m not talking about photographing them from places like Katmai N.P., Halo bay, or Silver Salmon Creek Lodge, in the safety of others …… Nope …. I’m talking about photographing Bears, where there is only you and the bear ….. I know that to most people this sounds like committing suicide ……. I mean who in their right mind would do such a thing …..Right? I mean go out in the bush all a lone and go looking for a grizzly or coastal brown bear, just to get as close as one can to get photographs …….. absurd right? ….. Well I do and I do it every year when the bears start coming out in the spring ….. when the bears are just milling around having fun in the summer sun and I’m there when they are in the rivers chowing down on the salmon for that winter fat they need so much.

Focal Length: 400, F/Stop: 5.6, Exposure Time: 1/200

The one emotion one has to get over or learn to control is “FEAR”. That is why there is not that many that are willing to do what I do, is because of the FEAR factor. Most people go to our National parks like  Katmai N.P., Halo bay, or Silver Salmon Creek Lodge, because for them they need that sense of safety. Learn the “REAL” difference between truth and myths of bears and you’ll find the fear you thought you once had is gone.

Focal Length: 400, F/Stop: 2.8, Exposure Time: 1/800

The other things you have to learn is where are the bears and at what seasons you’ll see them. Bears have a very large territorial range, but for me I always find out where the food is. That is the best way to find bears, is to follow the food.In the spring, find winter kill, winter mush berries, dandelions and grasses. They eat all these things in the spring because they are easy on their stomachs and they are full of protein and they are sweet tasting. In the summers they eat grasses, different types of berries, dead kill, mice, voles and such. In land grizzlies will eat the same summer foods in the fall but the coastal grizzlies, coastal browns and coastal black bears will add salmon and lots of salmon to their diets and that is where you will find these bears.

Focal Length: 400, F/Stop: 2.8, Exposure Time: 1/800

If you ever try to photograph the bears alone with just you there …. you will find their characters totally different than if there is a group of people. When there is a group of people the bear is always on the look out, always on guard ….. not being what a bear is suppose to be …. but if you can get alone with a bear you will find him doing the natural thing a bear does. It’s hard for me to write about what I’m talking about ….. but if you ever get that chance of being a lone with a bear …. you’ll understand what I’m saying. You’ll be able to get down low to his/her level and get that photograph that makes him/her look so big …. you’ll be able to get closer that you ever thought so that you don’t have to use that 4,5 or 600mm lens. I do want you to know that you “MUST” always be aware of your surroundings when out by yourself photographing bears, because from my own experience, as I’m photographing one bear, low and be hold, there’s another bear that is closer to me than the one that I’m photographing …… for I have found that when I’m alone photographing some bears, I get this awesome feeling that they are excepting me just being there and this has happened to me more than a couple of times …..

Focal Length: 400, F/Stop: 2.8, Exposure Time: 1/640

Photographing bears at their level give’s one a different perspective of what they are all about which comes out in my images ….. I think it gives me a better and different story to tell everyone, through my images. Isn’t that what all photographers are trying to do through photography ….. to tell a story and give their audience a different way of looking at something …. if I have done that through my images …. then you be the judge. ………. But if you hear about or see a photographer out photographing bears by him/her self …. don’t think to harsh about the way they are doing it…….as many do ……. after all, they are just trying to tell their story the best way they can ….. through their images.


Focal Length: 400, F/Stop: 5, Exposure Time: 1/120

This image was taken of this young 2 year old male coastal brown bear cub, as he was out fishing with his female sibling and his mother …. who by the way did not like being down on the river with all the humans fishing there too ….Fact is she was very angry with this male cub because, as you can see he was having the time of his life getting this whole fishing thing down pat and being able to catch them all on his own …… Not paying any attention to his mother or to the human factor all around him …………

Focal Length: 400, F/Stop: 5, Exposure Time: 1/160

Sometimes cubs can be that way ….  for in their world they are the main players in this scene …. but trust me as soon as they learn to fish, there is going to be a lot of life’s lessons to learn and some of those life’s lessons they are going to have to learn …. sooner rather than later. But for now as you can see this is the lesson that he’s learning right now and having a blast with


Focal Length: 200, F/Stop: 2.8, Exposure Time: 1/100

This image is of one of the bears along the Russian River that empties into the Kenai River ….. I have photographed him for about 5 years ….. his name is “Bully”  … he had been the King of the lower part of the Russian River for about a year ….. and then this last fall he decided to widen he territory ……… There’s a place up river that is called the lower Russian River Falls and there is also another bear at the falls that is called “Gerty” and ….. the lower falls is her’s and her’s alone ……. Gerty is a Costal Brown Bear that is about 800 pounds …. 1/2 again the size and weight of Bully …. and Gerty protects her fishing hole with everything she has………

Focal Length: 200, F/Stop: 2.8, Exposure Time: 1/100

Anyway, like I said before, Bully decides to extend his territory up river and as he goes up and explore’s as he goes ….. he’s finding new small fishing holes until he finds the jack-pot……Gerty’s fishing hole …..and as he is fishing with his head under water……. Gerty comes down to her fishing hole and see’s Bully …. as you can see on Bully’s back the lesson that he had to learn ….. and he learned it very well…… for I never seen him go back up to Gerty’s fishing hole the rest of the summer and fall ….. I’m now wondering what to expect when I see Bully next year …… I really can’t wait to see him