Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Coastal Brown Bears of Alaska

Coastal Brown Bear with a Salmon
I am working on a program about the Coastal Brown Bears of Alaska.  This program will be available after 1 April for presentation to camera clubs, libraries, or any other organization that would be interested.  Now there are some locations to see coastal brown bears in Alaska.  My presentation will do with Lake Clark National Park and Silver Salmon Creek Lodge.  Silver Salmon Creek Lodge is the location;  I spent photographing the bears.  There are a large number of tour operators that offer photographic trips to this Silver Salmon Creek Lodge.  When my group was there, three other photography groups were photographing.
Our Group at Breakfast
The usual itinerary has you arriving the day before and to Anchorage, Alaska, and then the next morning you will assemble for a plane ride to the Lodge. The planes land on the beach by the lodge and need to arrive there at low tide. From the beach, you and your luggage a picked up, and the people from the lodge drive you up to the lodge.
On the Beach
We were greeted, assigned your rooms and given a lecture about the bears. Depending on the tides, you usually can get a chance to be out photographing the bears that day.  The lodge supplies you with waders.  With your camera gear, the group is driven out to where you can then walk to where the bears are located. Each group has their guide, who is there to keep you safe.  The guides know the habits of the bear and do have to listen to what they tell you.
Groups Photographing
The reason you must observe the tides because of the change in the heights of the tide.  In fact, when I was there we had the highest tides of the year, and there was a 25-foot difference between low tide and high tide.  At full high tide, the water came  almost right up to the lodge.

There are three delicious meals a day.  If you cannot be out photographing you can even photograph from the lodge since the bears will come right up and walk around the grounds.

The weather can be warm and sunny, cold and windy and heavy rain, so be prepared bring appropriate clothing and rain gear, both for you and your equipment.

Usually part of one day you take a boat trip up to the puffin island where you can photograph horned puffins, gulls, double-crested cormorants and possibly even a peregrine falcon.
Horned Puffin in flight
It is fun to watch the habits of the bears running in the water after salmon, Cubs playing with each other.  Glaucous-winged gulls are hovering around waiting for scraps and Eagles also feeding.
Sow and Cub
Cubs play fighting
Taking a Rest
Glaucous-winged Gull

 Landscapes are also nice to photograph.
Looking out at the Cook Inlet
Johnson River



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