5 Photo Tips for Shooting Grizzly Bears (that don’t involve cameras)

Peter Davis Krahenbuhl October 12, 2015 0
Image credit: Erick Rock, Natural Habitat Adventures

Image credit: Erick Rock, Natural Habitat Adventures

 The opportunity to experience and photograph a giant Brown Bear in its natural habitat is in a word – awesome! And photos don’t lie. In fact, we would go so far as to suggest that images of Alaska’s enormous brown bears are among the most iconic wildlife photos on Earth.

If you are so fortunate enough to go on a brown bear viewing and photography tour, we highly recommend our Alaska Coastal Grizzlies Photo Tour – a private ship-based adventure to see the largest coastal grizzlies in the world as they gorge on spawning wild salmon in the Alaskan wild. It’s truly a sight to behold. If you go, here are a few key tips to keep in mind in order to capture the best, most awe-inspiring images possible.

Matt-Goddard_0420 (1)

Photo (c) Matt Goddard

1. Know your window.

Salmon run season is short, and it fluctuates year on year so there is never a guarantee. As such, check with your tour operator regarding the timing of peak runs (unfortunately, nature doesn’t work around our holiday schedules!). In general though salmon runs begin in the last week of July through August.

2. Sit on it.

As great wildlife images often occur when you are at their level, this often means getting down below standing level, which means sitting on the ground or having a small camping chair is in order.

© WWF-US/Heather Brandon

© WWF-US/Heather Brandon

3. Read up!

Read up on grizzly bear habits, mannerisms and characteristics so that you can anticipate in advance, keeping in mind that – as with humans – all grizzly bears have individual personality traits.

4. Take 2, or 3 or 4.

In addition to reading up on mannerisms, watch your bear for repeat behavior, which you can then anticipate, visualize your image and better capture can take advantage of in your quest to capture the moment.

Image credit: Erick Rock, Natural Habitat Adventures

Image credit: Erick Rock, Natural Habitat Adventures

5. Dress to impress.

Yourself that is, by being fully prepared for the wildly varying and extreme Alaska weather. You may be wearing shorts one day (mmm, mosquito heaven), or you may need a down jacket – even in summer. Check with your tour guide or company if you are on one and make sure you follow their packing list to the tee.

Check out these great Alaska wildlife viewing and photography tours and put your photography skills to the test!

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