Brown bears are North America’s largest predators and the undisputed king of any ecosystem in which they live in. Alaska holds more of these bears than anyplace else in the Western Hemisphere, and contains 95% of the US population. And Lake Clark National Park, where this workshop will be based out of, has densities of over 200 bears per 50 square miles – one of the densest populations on the planet! This August I will be leading an action packed brown bear photography workshop to Lake Clark National Park that will put you face to face with these undisputed kings of the ecosystem.
Lake Clark National Park and Cook Inlet are a wildlife photographers dream. Towering snow capped mountains. Lush primeval forests. Sea birds galore. And of course, bears – EVERYWHERE. If you are looking for adventure, for big wilderness, for massive predators up close and personal, then this workshop is for you.
In addition to the bears, we will also spend time photographing a puffin colony as well as the incredible numbers of bald eagles that make this place their home.
Deposit: $3050 (this can be broken into two payments if needs be)
Dates: August 10 – 17
Included: 5 nights lodging at Silver Salmon Lodge, all meals while at lodge, and local flights.
Skill Level: Beginner to Advanced
Difficulty: Moderate due to some mud and water
Lodging: Silver Salmon Lodge
Airport: Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC)
What to Expect
- 6 days and 5 nights at Silver Salmon Lodge in Lake Clark National Park
- A small group limited to 6 participants
- hands on in the field instruction throughout the duration of the workshop
- opportunities for one on one instruction
- reviews and critiques of images in both formal and informal situations
- brown bears galore
- bald eagles
- and let’s not forget that this will be a first class experience and one heck of a good time!
- Day 1: Fly into Anchorage, Alaska and check into hotels. We will meet for dinner that night and discuss the coming week.
- Day 2: early morning flight from Anchorage to Silver Salmon Lodge. We will drop off our equipment, have breakfast, and then head out into the field to photograph bears – breaking only for lunch this day.
- Day 3 – 6: Mornings and afternoons spent finding and photographing brown bears. One of these days we will switch things up a bit and shoot puffins at one of their local offshore rookeries.
- Day 7: early morning shoot with the bears before loading up onto the plane and heading back over to Anchorage. Check in to hotels. That evening we will have a group critique and pizza party.
- Day 8: Fly home
We will be leaving Anchorage at around 9am to travel to the lodge by bush plane. For this reason, it is highly recommended that you arrive in Anchorage the. day before. Likewise, we will leave the lodge at around 10am on the last morning. However, there are times when weather delays departure from the lodge. The owners of the lodge recommend that guests do not book flights before 4pm. But, as a safety precaution, I recommend leaving out the following day – just in case.
We recommend staying at the Airport Courtyard Marriott if you come in early and / or stay a day later. These additional hotels are not included with the price of the trip.
Do I need Travel Insurance for this workshop?
Yes. For the Alaska Brown Bear workshop, we do require travel insurance. Given the use of small bush planes and boats to access our destination, both our company and the lodge company we use in Alaska require this – though you will only need to provide proof of insurance to us.
Our lodge is not accessible by automobile. The only way in and out (other than a very long boat ride) is by small planes that land and take off right from the beach. Typically these planes are Cessnas but may include slightly larger planes such as Beavers. We will travel in multiple small planes for the flights there and back.
The flight from Anchorage to the lodge will be around 1 hour as you fly along the coast of Cooks Inlet where glaciers, volcanoes, labyrinths of salt marsh, and waterfalls will all dominate the view.
Is there a weight restriction on the bush planes?
Yes there is. Typically, this restriction is 50lbs for gear. However, we have arranged for you to be able to bring 70lbs of gear total. This weight restriction is a combination of you luggage and camera gear.
As some items such as waders can be quite heavy, there will also be an opportunity for you to ship your waders to the lodge ahead of time in order to cut down on weight for planes.
Will I need waders?
Yes, you will need to bring waders for this workshop. Though many will suggest that hip waders are sufficient for photographing in this area, we highly recommend a pair of chest waders instead. Hip waders will do fine for you while walking and kneeling, however this can be a very wet place at times. You will find yourself sitting and even laying down here – for which hip waders will be of no use to you for keeping dry in those situations. Even if you do not feel comfortable with sitting or laying down on the ground for better angles with the bears, you will appreciate the added protection when simply riding around looking for bears.
Even if you have been to Silver Salmon Lodge or know someone else who has and did not need waders, you will need them for our workshop. This will be a critically important component to your gear and we conduct our workshops in Alaska accordingly. Trust us, you will thank us for this one!!!
What size lens will I need on this workshop?
We highly recommend the ability to reach out to at least 500mm. Zoom lenses are great options on this workshop given the changing situations that we will encounter. At times out distance from the bears will be measured in feet. At other times we may be 50 yards or more depending upon the situation. Jared carries a 600mm lens and a 200-400mm lens for this workshop.
Though we recommend at least 500mm, this does not necessarily mean that you need a 500mm prime lens. There are a variety of zoom lenses that will allow you to reach this focal length. Additionally, if you are shooting with a crop sensor camera, this should be taken into account as well.
As always, please do not feel the need to rush out and purchase a lens just for this workshop. It is OK to use us an excuse to do so, but this is not necessary as we suggest renting equipment you do not have for workshops. We can help you with a discount through both www.lensrentals.com as well as www.borrowlenses.com
What about tripods?
Yes you will! Tripods are crucially important in wildlife photography and on this workshop you will need one. Though there may be times that we hand hold our lenses, in most instances we will want to properly stabilize our equipment.
For wildlife photographers, as a general rule of thumb, you want a tripod with a load capacity that is twice the amount of weight that you will put on it. So, you were to estimate that the tripod head weights 5lbs, your camera body weighs 5lbs, you biggest lens weighs 12 lbs, this is 22 lbs total. And therefore, we recommend you have a tripod that can hold a minimum of 44lbs. Most likely you will need to round up to 50lbs for this.
Another rule of thumb for wildlife photographers is to work with a tripod that DOES NOT come with a center column. There are thousands of reasons you will want to get lower with your gear. But, there is rarely any reason you want to get taller. Thus, a tripod without a center column will allow you to get your camera all the way down to the ground – which is critically important in many situations.
For more information about Jared’s suggestion for tripods, click this link: TRIPOD PRIMER
For more information about Jared’s suggestion for heads, click this link: TRIPOD HEAD PRIMER
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding this or any other workshop that we offer. To the left, you will find a simple contact form in place to make this process as simple as possible for you. We realize however that sometimes these sorts of onsite forms are difficult to work with when more lengthy questions and comments are necessary. Therefore, below you will also find the appropriate email, phone number, and even a direct link to message me on Facebook if you would prefer.
e: jared at jaredlloydphoto dot com
Fact: flights get canceled, airlines overbook, snow storms shut down airports, family members get sick, doctors occasionally deliver unexpected news. Life is what happens as we are busy making plans. John Lennon said that, and it’s about as true of a statement that can be made when it comes to travel.
The recent loss of power to Delta’s systems that led to the grounding and cancellation of thousands of flights drives home this point. With so many variables and possibilities out there that cannot be foreseen or planned for, we highly recommend purchasing trip insurance for this workshop. The costs are surprisingly low and well worth the small expense. Trip insurance gives you peace of mind and allows you to know that if one of those little inevitabilities in life happens to pop up, you will not lose your money spent on your workshop and flights.
CSA and Travel Guard are the two big ones out there. But you can get instant comparative quotes through www.insuremytrip.com
For our Alaska Brown Bear Workshop, we require proof of travel insurance.