Alaska is the one state within the nation that’s dwelling to a few kinds of bears: the polar bear, the black bear, and the brown bear. It’s why photographers converge yearly on the Final Frontier, hoping to doc ursine exercise within the bears’ pure habitats, in such areas because the Anan Wildlife Observatory, Katmai Nationwide Park, and Admiralty Island, dwelling to one of many world’s highest density of brown bears. Learn on for recommendations on photographing bears in Alaska whereas these magnificent creatures eat, play, and work together.



1. Pack gentle

To realize entry into sections of sure viewing areas that provide entry to bear viewing, you’ll typically should take a seaplane. Meaning there could also be weight restrictions, so restrict your gear to 1 or two DSLRs or Mirrorless our bodies with a few compact lenses. Add further batteries, reminiscence playing cards, any filters you want to make use of, and rain covers in case of inclement climate.

2. Ensure no less than a kind of lenses is a flexible zoom

You clearly need to keep a secure distance from the animals you’re photographing. The Tamron SP 150-600mm VC G2 lens is one such lens that gives such flexibility, with an extra-long attain. Should you use that lens on a crop sensor digital camera, you’ll obtain much more efficient magnification. Fowl photographers typically use an identical mixture for that very motive.

11 Tips for Photographing Bears in Alaska

11 Tips for Photographing Bears in Alaska

3. Plan your journey for optimum bear-watching alternatives

The very best occasions of the 12 months for bear watching in Alaska are June by means of September. If you need the possibility to {photograph} them catching salmon within the rivers, July and August are your greatest bets. That’s the height of the salmon runs (when the salmon is sparse, bears will eat issues like clams and grass as an alternative).

4. Head out early, keep out a little bit later

Though you’ll possible be capable of spot bears at any time of day, they are typically out foraging for meals early within the day and later within the night. These occasions of day additionally occur to coincide with the perfect pure lighting.

That mentioned, Alaska, throughout the summer season months, enjoys almost 24-hour daylight. Between Might and July, for instance, some areas by no means get utterly darkish, even between sundown and dawn. So, don’t count on conventional lighting situations.

11 Tips for Photographing Bears in Alaska

11 Tips for Photographing Bears in Alaska

5. Respect the venue’s security guidelines

Each park or protect that options bears has primary tips to guard each the bears and the guests. You’ll possible be required to remain a sure variety of ft away from the bears. This implies if the bears method you and block your path, you’ll be topic to what’s referred to as a “bear jam.” You’ll successfully be caught there till the bears resolve to maneuver. That’s okay – that offers you loads of time to take extra footage.

11 Tips for Photographing Bears in Alaska

11 Tips for Photographing Bears in Alaska

6. Don’t really feel you must shoot in silence

The truth is, the other is the case. When you don’t need to make super-loud noises that startle the bears, you do need to make sufficient of it, so the bears know you’re there always. It may be extra alarming for the bears when you’re attempting to be stealthy after which abruptly emerge. Some folks will put on a bell connected to their knapsack, or simply speak very loudly.

7. Get on the bears’ eye stage

There’s one thing extra intimate a couple of portrait by which you’re feeling such as you’re wanting eye-to-eye along with your topic. Crouch or kneel on the bottom or viewing platform to get as near that angle of view as you may.

Should you’re out in a small boat, you’re virtually at water stage already, so if bears are frolicking close by, you’re set.



8. Get a deal with in your focusing

If the bears are on the transfer, shoot in AI Servo mode or AF-F (Nikon), Steady Focus (Canon), Steady AF (Sony), in order that your focus frequently adjusts as you’re monitoring shifting topics.

9. Seize the bears interacting with one another

A part of what you need to accomplish when photographing wildlife is to inform their story. Highlighting a sow cuddling along with her cubs or siblings tussling within the grass is a solution to showcase their relationships and create emotive photographs.

11 Tips for Photographing Bears in Alaska

11 Tips for Photographing Bears in Alaska

10. Be affected person

Wildlife is unpredictable, and there’s no actual solution to inform when an actual cash shot, like a bear catching a salmon within the river, will emerge. However when bears are engaged in an exercise, they’ll truly keep in the identical place for a big period of time.

So, when you stick round, hunker down, and simply preserve taking footage. You’ll be extra prone to produce a bunch of keepers.



11. Put together for the sudden

Even when you time your go to for when the bears are anticipated to be lively and the salmon flowing, it’s Mom Nature – issues don’t at all times work out as deliberate.

The exercise stage is considerably constant, but it surely does differ from 12 months to 12 months. Should you get there and the bears are a bust, it’s disappointing, however go to Plan B.

{Photograph} the superb Alaska Peninsula landscapes, or preserve a watch out for the area’s various hen inhabitants. Look to the handfuls of different mammals within the space, together with pink foxes, porcupines, beavers, and otters as an alternative.


I hope you discover these 11 ideas for photographing bears in Alaska ideas useful. In case you have every other ideas or bear photographs you’d prefer to share, please achieve this within the feedback part!

Disclaimer: Tamron is a paid dPS companion.


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