Recently I spent the most remarkable two weeks with several fellow photographers in Alaska’s Katmai National Park. Ranging everywhere on land and in river were the huge coastal brown bears and all the waterways were chock full of spawning sockeye salmon. As a result of last year’s mild winter, there were many sows and cubs feasting on the protein-rich and oily fish.
July 1 to October 1 found me photographing landscapes & wildlife near and far: caribou in Svalbard, Norway; a hummingbird nest in my own backyard in Seattle; brown bears in Alaska; Canon Beach, Oregon; Palouse wheatfields and the sleeping volcano of Mt. Rainier in Washington State; wildlife in Kenya, Uganda, and the Surma people of Ethiopia.
Alaska always refreshes me. What with the amazing opportunities to photograph wildlife, the fun people I travel with, and the hospitality of the Alaska Story, that is no surprise. This time we were able to photograph orcas (which makes my photo editor very happy) in addition to all the usual suspects.
On Saturday I leave for Svalbard. Looking forward to polar bears!
Sockeye salmon run thick in the rivers and streams of Katmai. However, these fish are smart. I was unable to capture the shots I wanted of the fish since they were very agitated by the bears hunting them. The bears work in unison, churning the water, then snagging the confused fish in their powerful jaws.
Katmai National Park is one of my go-to places for bears. It is extraordinary to say the least & the scenery isn’t too shabby either. In particular, I was able to photograph a sow & her two cubs. She looked at me, looked at her cubs, and sat down as if giving me permission.
Walking into my first Art Wolfe Workshop, I was a self-taught photographer, anxious and concerned I may not keep pace. Within minutes I was diffused. Fast forward seven seminars/workshops and I find myself standing next to Art ready to board our small plane heading towards Coastal Brown Bears. If I knew then, what I know now, I would have taken the opportunity long before my first.
He has treated me as a friend; given knowledge and support peppered by encouraging opinion. He has shared; I have tried and failed and he has tirelessly shared again. He has crept into my brain, opened my eyes and opened my world. I have grown. For that I am thankful.
Once again we experienced tremendous photographic opportunities with the bears at Alaska’s Lake Clark National Park. Here are some of the picks our fellow travelers and photographers took!
Next year the workshop will be led by Jay Goodrich & Gavriel Jecan. If you are interested in getting on their mailing list, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim Waterbury www.jimwaterbury.com
“Thanks for a terrific workshop! What a treat to see the magnificent coastal brown bears up-close, interacting with each other in a natural setting, and seemingly oblivious to the presence of humans. As usual, I found Art’s artistic vision, passion, and vast experience photographing wildlife to be both inspiring and educational … a real privilege to have been able to spend 4 days with Art and Jay, in the wilds of Alaska, yet in a very comfortable environment. Looking forward to the next opportunity! Thanks!”
“Taking pictures of the bears was an absolutely amazing and breath taking experience. With the input I got from Art and Jay I learned to enhance my skills in taking pictures.”