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Cindy Wheeler | profile | all galleries >> 2009_grizzly_bears_alaska tree view | thumbnails | slideshow
This shootthelight.com trip was in Alaska in mid-July. We took a float plane out of King Salmon and flew about half an hour. Then we were picked up in a boat and the trip was another 45 minutes or so. The itinerary said we would be flying through Katmai Park and photographing in the Alagnak River, the Kukaklek River and Nonvianuk Rivers.

We spent one night in a fly camp at either Kukaklek lake or Nonvianuk lake. I'm not sure which one. We all wore waders most of the time and to get to/from our fly camp we had to wade through water that was almost waist high. Which was pretty fun except kind of scary because we had to carry our gear, too. I have never weighed it all but it's probably close to 30 lbs (tripod, head, sidekick, cameras, lenses etc). One little misstep or tripping on an underwater branch could have been not so good.

The weather was warm (hot) the first day, partly cloudy and cooler the next day and scattered showers the rest of the trip. I would never have believed you if you said I wouldn't mind standing in the rain to photograph animals. Never. But it really wasn't bad. I guess dressing appropriately makes all the difference. We wore chest waders, rain jackets, and had rain gear for our cameras. I never got wet and my hair never got wet :) It rained the night we spent in the fly camp but the tents stayed dry and we were able to get a fire started the next morning so all was good there.

After we left this area we flew back to King Salmon for one night. The next morning we caught a float plane over to Brooks Falls and stayed there until our return flight at 4PM. That was pretty exciting there. I'm told the fish weren't really running and there weren't many bears but I like the pictures I got there. It must really be amazing when there are many fish. We also saw a wolf at Brooks Falls. I didn't see him eating anything. There was a sign that said a wolf had been bothering fishermen. I guess fishermen are easier to steal from than grizzlies.

Most of the pictures in the album are from the river locations. The photos from Brooks Falls are pretty apparent. I'll go back through the pictures and write BF on the ones taken there. I really try to edit and to not to post a large number of photos of the same species but these bears are irresistable. Especially the action shots where there are several images that tell a story. :)

All in all, it was a very nice trip and beautiful country.
When bears stand up they are TALL.
When bears stand up they are TALL.
Frame 1:  Headed for a fish . . .
Frame 1: Headed for a fish . . .
Frame 2:  And he jumps . . .
Frame 2: And he jumps . . .
Frame 3:  And he flies through the air . . .
Frame 3: And he flies through the air . . .
Frame 4:  And he does a huge belly flop and misses the fish.
Frame 4: And he does a huge belly flop and misses the fish.
They look like this when emerge from the water without a fish.
They look like this when emerge from the water without a fish.
Racing down the river after fish
Racing down the river after fish
Plunging into the water. The bears that caught fish didn't fish like this :(  This guy was young.
Plunging into the water. The bears that caught fish didn't fish like this :( This guy was young.
Sitting on the bank looking
Sitting on the bank looking
Standing to see in the water easier
Standing to see in the water easier
This salmon jumped completely out of the water and landed on the bank.
This salmon jumped completely out of the water and landed on the bank.
The young bear finally noticed him and came and stole him from us.
The young bear finally noticed him and came and "stole" him from us.
Resting  but still keeping his eye on the water.
Resting but still keeping his eye on the water.
Pushing off the shore
Pushing off the shore
This one was beaten up a bit
This one was beaten up a bit
Caught another fish!!
Caught another fish!!
A different bear on a different day with a fish
A different bear on a different day with a fish
BF 9717.jpg
BF 9717.jpg
BF I was trying to get a group shot and the fished jumped right in front of the bear on the left. He missed it.
BF I was trying to get a group shot and the fished jumped right in front of the bear on the left. He missed it.
BF Caught this one.
BF Caught this one.
BF Not to gross anyone out, but after the bear kills the fish he skins it and then eats it.
BF Not to gross anyone out, but after the bear kills the fish he skins it and then eats it.
BF Maybe if I stand here with my mouth open I'll get lucky.
BF "Maybe if I stand here with my mouth open I'll get lucky."
BF Young bears watching the older bears catch fish
BF Young bears watching the older bears catch fish
BF Watch this series of bears.  Hmmm, that fish looks good.
BF Watch this series of bears. Hmmm, that fish looks good.
BF Let me get a little closer. He doesn't see me yet.
BF Let me get a little closer. He doesn't see me yet.
BF I bet I can swipe that fish!
BF I bet I can swipe that fish!
BF Gotcha!
BF Gotcha!
BF Hey!  What are you doing??!!
BF Hey! What are you doing??!!
BF A little slow with that right punch, buddy.
BF A little slow with that right punch, buddy.
BF The get away with the prize :)
BF The get away with the prize :)
Bears are fishing for salmon and so are people. This is Lindsey and her guide Peter.
Bears are fishing for salmon and so are people. This is Lindsey and her guide Peter.
Hunter and Ray
Hunter and Ray
8210.jpg
8210.jpg
Two little cubs look around while Mom looks for salmon.
Two little cubs look around while Mom looks for salmon.
The bears often put their heads underwater to look for the fish. Doesn't that water look refreshing?
The bears often put their heads underwater to look for the fish. Doesn't that water look refreshing?
This guy was a real snaggle tooth.
This guy was a real snaggle tooth.
This doesn't look like a very comfortable position.
This doesn't look like a very comfortable position.
The bears wear down the grass where they set up their fishing position.  Look at those claws!
The bears wear down the grass where they set up their fishing position. Look at those claws!
This cub is almost as big as Mom but he's still a kid.
This cub is almost as big as Mom but he's still a kid.
He knocked down the tree and then needed to rest.
He knocked down the tree and then needed to rest.
Then he rested more, on Mom. He also whined and whined and whined. Hungry? Bored? Just a kid?
Then he rested more, on Mom. He also whined and whined and whined. Hungry? Bored? Just a kid?
L-R Don, Brent, BEAR!!!, Lindsey, Paul
L-R Don, Brent, BEAR!!!, Lindsey, Paul
Just a beautiful bear.
Just a beautiful bear.
Snorkeling bear
Snorkeling bear
A wolf we saw at Brooks Falls
A wolf we saw at Brooks Falls
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