As you may have heard there has been a record salmon run in Bristol Bay this year. In Katmai there are always a lot of bears and salmon, but this year the numbers were off the charts!
Though I haven’t been in many years because of the crowds, we made the effort to go to the famous Brooks Falls and were rewarded with great light, patiently fishing bears, and leaping salmon. Elsewhere in the park we discovered some deep snow patches that were favorite play and sleep areas for the bears. It was a great place for them to cool down in T-shirt weather for humans—I can only imagine how hot they get with all that fur.
The cubs had discovered channels and tunnels in the snow and would pop up to bite their siblings only to disappear again. There was an abundance of sows with two, even three cubs. It takes a lot of salmon to fuel mothers and cubs, and the fish did not disappoint.
Overall, it was great to be back in Katmai after taking a hiatus last season, and I can’t wait to be back here next year with another group of amazing participants!
Short but sweet today, as our group arrives at the lodge up here in Katmai, Alaska. I missed out on visiting last summer, so I’m excited to see how things have changed in the past couple of years. My visits to this region have been so frequent that I’ve grown to recognize individual bears over the years – hopefully they haven’t grown up or changed too much in that time! Here are some of my favorite shots from this location over the years. Each time I go to this location, I have a new goal in mind. It’s interesting to look back and see how my shots and focus has changed from year to year. This time I definitely want to get some artistic shots of the beautiful vibrant salmon to illustrate many of the things I talk about when I speak of “changing the way you see”. I mean it! Stay tuned for new photos when I return!
This will be the first of two sold-out tours happening back to back – check out my events page to get your name on the list early for next year’s tours so you don’t miss out!
I took a hiatus from visiting Katmai last year; not necessarily as a consequence of the pandemic, but due to some other trips that I had to fit into my calendar. I’m as excited as ever to return this salmon season to check on on the bears I’ve observed on a regular basis for years now.
This year’s trips are already sold out – however you can guarantee your spot now to join me on this exclusive workshop photographing the denizens of Katmai National Park in 2022. Space is very limited, and while most workshops end up selling out as their dates approach, the Katmai tours often fill up very early on – don’t miss your opportunity!
As usual, there are two tours back to back happening next August. Not only is this a fantastic opportunity to photograph these animals and capture their very unique personalities and character traits – it’s also a chance to meet like-minded photographers who simply like to share in the knowledge and adventure of travel and wildlife photography.
I love bears! It is such a privilege to be able to see these intensely intelligent mammals every summer. A bear I photographed as a cub several years ago is now an accomplished mother of three.
This year the salmon were late to arrive, but arrive they did and in great numbers. Every year is a bit different, and though I have commented on the numbers of cubs in the past, it seemed like this year was a bumper crop. Or maybe I was just photographing the same bear over and over and over…I can’t help it if she liked the camera!
As many of you are aware, this glorious region of the planet is under threat. If the Pebble Mine goes through, the bears will lose, the fish will lose, Alaskans will lose, and Earth will lose. It’s short term gain for the few and long-term destruction for the many. Please make your thoughts known to your congresspeople.
One of the more fascinating aspects of my annual trip to Katmai has been the ability to recognize specific bear families and even individuals as they grow, not only in physical characteristics but in their personalities, demeanor, and mannerisms as well. It’s always a powerful feeling of a connection with nature when I recognize an animal I’ve previously spent time photographing. I wonder if they recognize me?!
They are probably far too busy fishing to be concerned with me, however. You’ll note the dates from when these photos are taken generally fall into the late July and early August weeks. This is when the rivers run red with spawning salmon. We come here at this time every year because the bears are active, occupied, and ripe for fantastic shots in their element. Again I will occasionally recognize individual bears in the tactics they use to fish.
This image has gotten a lot of play this year and for good reason – it’s not often you’re able to capture a bear charging at you, claws bared. I hate to dispel any legends of my fearlessness and resolve, but I wasn’t in true danger here – the bears are far too busy fishing and adjusted to human visitors to be a true threat. That being said, always take precautions! Our local contacts ensure we are taking all the appropriate measures for safety.
All of these photos are available as prints in my online store; click a title above to add some wildlife to your home or office! Better yet, join me on one of two workshops happening this summer at the end of July and in early August and capture your own images to frame and share! These workshops will sell out, so don’t hesitate to get on the list to join me on the ground in Katmai and make your own connection with these awesome animals!
It’s almost time for the annual Katmai, Alaska workshops series! The trip at the end of July is sold out, however a few spaces are still available for the second workshop I’ll be leading from August 1st through the 7th.
This is a Katmai experience like no other due to the exclusivity of the location, my decades of experience visiting this region, and of course our close working relationship with local experts and accommodations. We know these bears well, and most importantly where to get the best access to capture unique shots safely. This time of year, the rivers and streams are full of salmon and the bears are so occupied with the fish that they hardly give our groups a second glance.
Along with the expertise of the location and the philosophy behind it’s significance, we will also discuss all aspects of photographing in the field including techniques for composition unique to Katmai. Sign up now online, or give my office a call at 1-206-332-0993 and secure your spot. This trip WILL sell out so don’t hesitate!
Another fantastic trip to the vast wilderness of Alaska in the books! I’m grateful for everyone who came along to join me in Katmai this year – we were treated to some phenomenal opportunities! In my fourth decade of visiting Alaska, and I still come away with new shots. The salmon were packed in so tight that you could walk across the water on their backs, and the bears were especially active and playful. Over the past few years I’ve come to recognize certain individual bears here based on the techniques they employ to capture salmon as well as their personalities, and in some cases even their unique faces.
Enjoy the images, and tune in next week for more details on this location in the new episode of “Where’s Art?”!
These trips are so popular that we’re already taking sign-ups for three trips here next year – sign up now to reserve your spot, these ones will fill up!
The Summer Olympics open this evening in Rio, and as a world traveler fortunate enough to have been to so many incredible places all over the globe, it’s always incredible to see nations set aside differences and come together to compete.
As the week comes to a close and the Games begin, I’m grateful to bring you some wonderful images captured on our recent workshop in Katmai National Park, Alaska. 2016 has been an incredible year for shooting, with locations I’ve visited in the past providing me with unprecedented opportunities to capture them. The denizens Katmai must have felt the competitive vibe in the air, as the wildlife in the area was at it’s best.
The bears in the park were active, expressive, and down-right ready for the spotlight as our group captured them going about their business – their every day tasks mundane to them, but a spectacle to us. Enjoy the photos as we celebrate the opening of the Olympic Games and 100 years of the National Parks Service!
The 2016 Art Wolfe Next-Generation Photographers Grant is now taking applicants from professional nature photographers in the early stages of their careers. Recipients will be selected on the basis of skill, artistic excellence and by demonstrating the promise of future achievement.
From July 31 to August 6, 2016, seven successful applicants will attend a six-day workshop at a remote Lodge in Katmai, Alaska, photographing the spectacular wildlife and rugged landscape.
Sponsored by The Luminous Endowment for Photographers and Art Wolfe, Inc., and made possible with the generous support of Rebecca Jones and the Seneca Sawmill Co.
It is the last frontier, a place where wild dominates humankind. A place known as the land of the midnight sun, here alpenglow lasts for hours, not minutes. Imagine venturing into this wilderness where the brown bears do not fear humans, where the minimal human population has learned and adapted to live in harmony with them. The bears rule, not only because they are strong, large, and on the top of their food chains, but because the humans believe that they should. Now imagine being able to capture photos of these magnificent creatures from 15 feet away. This is Alaska!
All aspects of outdoor photography will be covered, including composition, field techniques, technology, and the unique philosophy of this highly specialized profession. There will be informative lectures, rigorous critiques and portfolio reviews. Instead of concentrating only on f-stops and equipment, we will work on composition, imagination, and the control of every element in the image. We do more than just take you to the location; we help you to maximize your creative and technological skills as a photographer.