2017 “Coastal Brown Bears of Alaska” Photo Tour

June 13- 19, 2017
Cost: $4960 for 6 days & 5 nights,  Base price $4850, $74 Tax, $36 Park fees Deposit: $1000 ( 5 spots left)

Limited to 7 participants • From Anchorage, Alaska

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See the magnificent Alaskan Brown Bears in their native environment doing what bears do naturally. With few other people in this remote area but our group and guide,  it makes for an unforgettable quality photographic experience.  This trip is timed for the arrival of the sows with their cubs.  This is the time of the highest concentration of bears in the area.  This location averages about 25 bears in the vicinity of the lodge during the period we’ll be there. The bears will be feeding in the grass (sedging) and clamming on the mud flats during the low tide.  The cubs will be playful providing us lots of interaction providing some wonderful photographic situations.  Sub-adult bears will spar learning important lessons for later in life.

Spending a week with Alaskan Coastal Brown Bears (Ursus arctos middendorfi) though they are often called Grizzlies, is one of the highlights of any wildlife photographers life. The bears are at ease with our presence and act naturally.  The excellent guides provided for us by the lodge know these bears individually from years of observation and that assures us of a safe and successful trip.

One day the bears will be grazing on the nutrient rich grass and the next they’ll be clamming on the mud flats of Cook Inlet the next chasing first salmon of the season. This all happens within walking distance of the lodge.

A special bonus is available to our group. I know bears are the primary attraction of this tour but we’ll also take boat trips out to photograph both Tufted and Horned Puffins along with other pelagic birds such as black-legged kittiwakes and common murres. This is truly a special treat, as we will be there about the only time of year that there are bears and Puffins with fish to photograph. We’ll have ample opportunity to work on both flight shots of the Puffins and “posed” shots from our tripods of them standing outside their burrows or returning with bills full of fish. Bald eagles, trumpeter swans, and harbor seals can also be seen and photographed. You’ll also be inspired by the incredible mountain scenery of the region that include volcanic Mt. Iliamna, Mt. Redoubt, and Augustine volcano, all part of Cook Inlet’s “ring of fire.”

Our accommodations and dinning is first rate. The great thing about this location is that we will have these beautiful bears (often with cubs) right out the door.  Silver Salmon Creek Lodge has developed a safe and successful program of moving into the habitat of brown bears, being careful not to disturb the free-ranging nature of their movements. No permits are needed and no viewing platforms are used.  We’ll move with the bears as they move through their habitat. I have chosen this location based on its exceptional opportunities for unique images and peaceful encounters.

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ITINERARY:

Day 1 June 13: Arrive in Anchorage Alaska. Overnight (I have a block of rooms reserved at the Microtel near the airport)

Days 2 June 14: Complimentary breakfast at the hotel.  We fly out of Anchorage today around 9:30am.  We’ll arrive at the lodge in time for lunch.  After lunch we’ll head out to photograph our primary objective Alaskan Brown Bears. Our goal is for you to take home the best photographs that conditions will allow.

Day 3-6, June 15th- June 18:  We’ll have 4 full days of exciting bear photography along with many other activities.  Sometime during this week, depending on weather and tides) we’ll visit the puffin island for some exciting photography of horned and tufted puffins, common murres, black oystercatchers, and other birds.

Day 7 June 19: We’ll have a last morning of photography and then prepare to fly to Anchorage around 10:00 am.  We should arrive in Anchorage by noon and you can depart for home anytime after that.  Most flights leave Anchorage in the late evening or early morning hours.

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WHAT TO BRING:

Equipment: We recommend a minimum of 300mm telephoto lens for this tour in addition to a wide angle lenses and a mid range zoom lens. Lenses such as 200-400mm, 100-400mm, 80-400mm are ideal.  Digital shooters will want to bring along plenty of f flash cards and a means to download images when cards get full. We always suggest you bring along 2 camera bodies if possible in case of equipment failure. A sturdy tripod and a good ballhead are strongly encouraged.

Clothing: Clothing should be comfortable and adequately cover a full range of weather conditions and temperatures. Expect everything from warm and sunny temperatures into the 60’s to very cool and rainy. Rain gear is a necessity. In the mornings temperatures will likely be in the 40’s to low 50”s so we recommend layering clothing, a warm hat and even a light pair of gloves would be advised. A sturdy yet light weight, comfortable and maybe waterproof hiking boot is suggested.

The cost of this tour includes air transportation from Anchorage Alaska 5 nights lodging, guides, boat trips and all meals.

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About your Tour Leader

D. Robert Franz have been full time professional wildlife photographer for the past twenty five years.  With formal training and university degrees in wildlife management, geology and earth science, Robert has an extensive knowledge of the natural world. His nature and wildlife photography has been extensively published (over ten thousand published images including hundreds of front covers) worldwide with images featured in, Audubon Magazine, National Wildlife, Sierra Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, Defenders Magazine, National Geographic, Das Tier Magazine, Sports Afield, Field and Stream, and many more. Their photographic prints have hung in the Smithsonian and the United States Congress.  They are also accomplished assignment photographers specializing in nature and environmental issues. Clients have included Adolph Coors, Wildlife Conservation Society, Field and Stream Magazine, The Trust for Public Lands, Via Magazine, Greater Yellowstone Coalition and others. Their photography is represented by a number of the worlds leading stock photo agencies such as Corbis, Getty Images, Alamy, Windigo Images, Okapia and Index Stock Imagery.

Robert has won many awards for his nature photography over the years. In 1989 Robert won the Colorado Outdoors Magazine Nature Photography Contest. In 1993 he won the Wyoming Wildlife Magazines Nature Photography Contest. Also in 1993 Robert and Lorri won an award for a published calendar image from the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History. In 2001 and 2004 Robert had winning images the prestigious Nature’s Best photography contest. In 2003 Robert won Image of the Year for Nature Photographers.net. In 2006, 2008 and again in 2010 Robert finished 2nd in the Images for Conservation Pro Tour of Nature Photography contest held in different locations in Texas. This is the world’s most challenging nature photo contest.   In 2007 Digital Photography Magazine proclaimed Robert as one the worlds best wildlife photographers.

Robert has been leading photo tours since 1989 and now conducts high energy nature & wildlife photo tours through Franzfoto Instructional Tours. In the past Robert lead tours for Wildlife Images Photo Tours, Voyagers, Natural Habitat Adventures & Close Up Expeditions.  Robert, his wife Lorri and their Great Dane Shelby live in the heart of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem near Cody Wyoming.

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TERMS AND CONDITIONS

GROUP MINIMUM: Occasionally, we are able to run a tour below our group minimum which is usually 4. In such instances it may be necessary to apply a small group supplement in which case you would be contacted regarding such a situation but you would not be obligated to accept the new terms.

RESERVATIONS: Your deposit which varies by tour is required to secure your place on any tour, with the balance due 60 days prior to the departure date. Deposits are fully refundable if cancellation is received at least 91 days prior to the departure date. Upon receipt of your deposit, we will mail you our acknowledgment and tour reservation form. Details of hotels, flight arrival recommendations, and other trip tips will be mailed when the tour is full.

MEALS: Some meals and refreshments are included depending on the trip details, but not alcoholic beverages.

ADMISSIONS: Access to public buildings and national parks etc. is not included in the land price.

CANCELLATION P0LICY:  Due to the high number of cancellations we’ve received in the past several years a new refund policy has been implemented.

  • Cancellations more than 120 days ahead of the tour are refunded 50%.
  • Cancellations between 60-120 days ahead of the tour will only be refunded if the spot can be filled minus $150 handling charge.
  • Cancellations less than 60 days ahead of the tour are non-refundable.

Franzfoto Tours strongly suggest that tour participants invest in trip cancellation insurance.

CANCELED EXPEDITIONS: In the event of insufficient tour sign-ups, Franzfoto reserves the right to cancel any given tour. In that event 100% of moneys received will be returned. However, Franzfoto Instructional Tours is not responsible for expenses incurred by its customers.

LUGGAGE: Franzfoto Instructional Tours request that tour participants limit their luggage to the equivalent of one suitcase, one flight bag, one camera bag, and tripod. We do not wish to be dictatorial in this matter, but asks that group members bear in mind space and comfort in our vehicles. All personal luggage is the responsibility of the owner.

SMOKERS: Smoking is not permitted at meals or in vehicles. It can be permitted at photo stops where local ordinances permit, photography and photographers are not affected.

RESPONSIBILITY: Franzfoto Instructional Tours and its agents act only as agents for the passenger in all matters relating to travel arrangements, and as such, do not assume responsibility for injury, accident, damage, loss, delay or irregularity which may occur via defect of transportation or any other cause. Franzfoto Instructional Tours reserves the right to substitute hotels, and other previously outlined arrangements as necessary, to either improve or equal the travel experience. Franzfoto Instructional Tours reserves the right to pass on to tour members any additional and unplanned expenditures incurred during a tour, via events beyond Franzfoto Instructional Tours control. The right is reserved to accept or decline any person as a member of any tour. Payment of tour fees by trip participants constitutes their acceptance of all conditions contained herein.
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