Friend's expedition: Kodiak bears in June, 2008

My buddy Al Vinjamur is running a trip to Alaska this coming June 22-29, 2008 to photograph Kodiak bears on the Katmai coast of Alaska. I went on this trip last year and came back with some kick-ass bear photos. I'll bet it's the best bear-viewing trip on the planet. If you're interested, continue reading...

This text is from Al:

> In 2007, I was in Alaska on board a boat called the Waters under the control of well known Captain, John Rogers. Our bear guide/naturalist, Brad Josephs put my photo buddies and myself into situations that offered the best Grizzly bear viewing and Grizzly bear photography opportunities in the world ie., the shots you will get will not be prosaic ie., like the ones many people come back home with when they return from places like Brooks Falls, Mc Neil River or King Salmon. You can see a few of the bear pictures on my site : under the title "Katmai Bears" to see what I mean.


> From June 22-29th, 2008 I'm going to be chartering the boat again to cruise along remote parts of the Katmai coast in Alaska to photograph Grizzly bears. This time of the year brings almost 24 hours of daylight, recharging the rich marine and coastal ecosystems - we will be able to photograph Bears amidst stunning scenery (a variety of wildflowers bloom at the time). During summer, bears concentrate to socialize, mate, and utilize food sources. During high tide, the bears, carrying their thick, shaggy (often blond) winter coats tend to congregate in the verdant meadows to feed on protein rich sedges and plantains. During low tides, the bears wander into the tidal flats to search for the tiny breathing holes of Razor Clams. Mid-late June/July also happens to be mating season - we will witness interactions between mating bears and violent fights between competing males - all from the same ground level as the bears. No platforms or the like for this intrepid group! Makes for a plethora of unique photo opportunities!


> You can be on the boat for a part of the charter or the whole one. I highly recommend the whole charter to allow for varied bear viewing opportunities, inclement weather/light etc., Trip costs below includes floatplane ride from Kodiak to the boat and back, and all meals/housing on boat.

> 4 Days for $3750 6 Days for $5250 8 Days for $6900

> 25% Deposit due immediately 25% in late Winter (ie., By end of February 2008) Balance 50% is due 60 days before trip.

> The 25% deposit is not refundable unless your reserved space can be rebooked. Full payment is required 60 days prior to trip departure date. I suggest you purchase trip travel insurance.

> Payments (checks or credit cards) should be sent to

> Katmai Coastal Bear Tours PO Box 1503 Homer, AK 99603

> Ph : 800-532-8338 OR 907-235-8337

> Please clearly mark "aL June 22-29 Trip". Please write me at and I will email you the standard liability release + food preference form so you can fill it up and mail to the address above along with your payment.

> Please make your own reservations to arrive to/depart from Kodiak, allowing for buffer days/nights in Kodiak on either side of trip. In Kodiak, I highly recommend you stay at the Best Western : (907-486-5712). After an overnight stay in Kodiak, we will be transported to our float plane and head out to the boat which will be used as a mobile home.


> We will be doing a lot of photography - here's the gear that I will be carrying. You could choose a similar setup for your rig.

> - Pair of Canon 1dsMark3 bodies - Hasselblad H3d2, 300 mm, 1.7x teleconvertor, 28mm lens - Canon 16mm Fisheye - Canon 24-105mm lens - Canon 100-400mm lens - Canon 500mm lens - 1.4x and 2x Teleconvertors - Circular Polarizer - Bubble Leveler - Tripod that will support a long lens (500mm etc.,) - Pro Level Ball Head + Wemberly System - Rain Gear for yourself as well as your camera - highly recommend - Portable Nature Chair (you can sit on it and take pictures!) - Bug Net (there are lots of Gnats, mosquitoes etc.,)

> Please bring your camera manuals with you. I will be informally available at all times to answer photography OR digital workflow related questions. I intend to do a little presentation on how to photograph bears and process the RAW files using Adobe Lightroom and/or Adobe Bridge/Photoshop.