2015 Dates: August 23-28
SOLD OUT (waiting list)
Katmai National Park, Alaska
See the magnificant Alaskan Brown Bears in their native environment doing what bears do naturally. We stay at a remote tented camp with few other people in this remote area but our group and guide, it makes for an unforgettable quality photographic experince. This trip is timed for the peak of the red (sockeye) salmon run in the Hallo Bay region of Katimai National Park which provides us with great opportunities to capture the bears fishing for this important food source.
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. Unlike the bears at Brooks Lodge in Katmai National Park, which are stressed out and offer very limited viewing from crowded viewing stands, we’ll be able to see bears in their native and un-stressed environment doing what bears do naturally, with no other people but our group and guides. The bears are at ease with our presence and act naturally.
One day the bears will be grazing on the nutrient rich grass and the next they’ll be claming on the mud flats of Cook Inlet the next chasing first salmon of the season. This all happens within walking distance of the lodge. We’ll have an entire small lodge to ourselves, and the bears are right in the area, so our photographic opportunities are maximized.
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 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. I have chosen this location based on its exceptional opportunities for unique images and peaceful encounters.
Day 1, August 22: Arrive in Anchorage Alaska.
Days 2, August 23: 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: We’ll have 5 full days of exciting bear photography along with many other activities.
Day 7, August 28: We’ll have a last morning of photography and then prepare to fly to Anchorage around 11:00 am. We should arrive in Anchorage by 1:00pm and you can depart for home anytime after that.
WHAT TO BRING:
Equipment: We recommend a minimum of 300mm telephoto lens for this tour in addition to a variety of wide angle lenses and a mid range zoom lens. Digital shooters will want to bring along a couple of 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 6 nights lodging, guides, boat trips and all meals.
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 minus a $50 handling charge.
- Cancellations between 60-120 days ahead of the tour will be refunded if the spot can be filled.
- 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 Safari’s 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.