I am excited to announce that I will get to go on a once-in-a-lifetime trip with my friend, world-famous bird photographer Arthur Morris.

While Artie is primarily a bird guy, he’s a great wildlife shooter as well. And he’s worked for two years to set up a special trip into Alaska to photograph rare, native Coastal Brown Bears. These would be called grizzlies by some, but these bears are much larger and are a rare subspecies native to this particular part of Alaska. They are the world’s largest bears, weighing as much as 1500 pounds.

The opportunities on this trip will be absolutely unparalleled. We will be within yards of as many as 35 coastal brown bears catching and eating chum salmon.

I’ll get to photograph bears catching salmon during the peak of the chum salmon run. There will also be great macro and scenic opportunities. Chances to photograph moose, young Bald Eagles eating salmon carcasses and Mew Gulls eating roe.

We’ve timed it so we can (carefully) photograph Spring, one-year old, and two year old bear cubs.

I will fly from San Francisco to Anchorage and then we will fly to Kodiak from Anchorage on the early morning of Sept 4. Then we’ll travel by float plane to Katmai National Park where we will meet our chartered boat. (Three planes and a boat!) We’ll cover all areas of the park including Geographic Harbor, and points far from the usual bear platforms.

We won’t be standing on wooden planks at Brooks Falls under the watchful eye of paranoid park rangers. We’ll be up river where the bears roam free and we’ll be on our own. There will be nothing between us and the bears but 15 feet of air.

Ancient travelers left the remains of their campsites along this coast 8,000 years ago, and were followed by a long series of resident Native cultures, hunters, trappers, traders, travelers, priests, scientists, and fishermen. Now here come the photographers.

It will be exiting to say the least. I am working on sponsorships now for the images, but will go either way and hope to keep a running report here on the blog while I am on the trip.

(I think Artie has booked all the seats on this trip. He is offering a few commercial seats at $6,499 each. Contact him if you’re interested in joining us. He may have a cancellation.)

For Instructional Photo-Tour or Product Info:
Call: (863) 692-0906
Write: Arthur Morris / Birds As Art /
4041 Granada Drive, P.O. BOX 7245,
Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855
Email: [email protected]

Join the conversation! 46 Comments

  1. These native Coastal Brown Bears are also more simply called Kodiak Bears. :)

  2. They’re also called Ursus arctos middendorffi :)

  3. They’re also called Ursus arctos middendorffi :)

  4. Wow what an amazing opportunity to test out all that new gear you got. Sounds like an amazing trip and should be full of picture opportunities.

    Having just read up on the Coastal Brown Bears they are an amazing and huge animal and I’m not sure I could take any photos being that close I’d be busy making sure they couldn’t hear me hahaha.

    Can’t wait to see some of the pics and I’m pretty sure that goes for most people on here.

  5. Wow what an amazing opportunity to test out all that new gear you got. Sounds like an amazing trip and should be full of picture opportunities.

    Having just read up on the Coastal Brown Bears they are an amazing and huge animal and I’m not sure I could take any photos being that close I’d be busy making sure they couldn’t hear me hahaha.

    Can’t wait to see some of the pics and I’m pretty sure that goes for most people on here.

  6. Hope it won’t be too ‘exiting’ Scott with all those hungry bears around!! ;-)

  7. Hope it won’t be too ‘exiting’ Scott with all those hungry bears around!! ;-)

  8. @James not too worried. The bears would much rather eat salmon than me and there’s so much salmon that time of year you have to worry about stepping on it!

  9. Have a great time Scott. How long are you going to be gone? I really hope you get to see some young bald eagles. I really like bald eagles and I hope I get to photograph some in the wild some day.

  10. Glad you can come up to my neck of the woods! I’ve not been to Kodiak yet but there’s alot going on around Anchorage in the wildlife department. We had some merlin hawks in my old neighborhood last year, that was a neat treat.

  11. Glad you can come up to my neck of the woods! I’ve not been to Kodiak yet but there’s alot going on around Anchorage in the wildlife department. We had some merlin hawks in my old neighborhood last year, that was a neat treat.

  12. My cousin was just fishing for salmon in Alaska and said everyone was packing guns – just in case. You gotta respect an animal that big. There’s no room for error.

    Looking forward to photos and your report. Have a great time!

  13. My cousin was just fishing for salmon in Alaska and said everyone was packing guns – just in case. You gotta respect an animal that big. There’s no room for error.

    Looking forward to photos and your report. Have a great time!

  14. “There will be nothing between us and the bears but 15 feet of air.”
    Hey Scott! LOL….You do understand how fast these bears can run, and that it’s not a sprint…They run very, very fast, and for sustained distances. Having said all that……
    What an awesome opportunity. Too rich for my blood, but I do appreciate you proving your friends contact information.
    Have a GREAT time..I can’t wait for the pictures of the adventure.

  15. “There will be nothing between us and the bears but 15 feet of air.”
    Hey Scott! LOL….You do understand how fast these bears can run, and that it’s not a sprint…They run very, very fast, and for sustained distances. Having said all that……
    What an awesome opportunity. Too rich for my blood, but I do appreciate you proving your friends contact information.
    Have a GREAT time..I can’t wait for the pictures of the adventure.

  16. Wow, that is going to be gnarly. I’m sure you guys know not to try to pet them.

  17. @DizzyDoug no worries they’re busy eating salmnon not photographers!

  18. @DizzyDoug no worries they’re busy eating salmnon not photographers!

  19. I think it will be more of a problem trying to keep the mosquitoes from eating you alive. I spend a year at Clear, AK back in 1985/1986 in my Air Force days. Them mosquitoes are something else. I have seen them all wound up in the fishing line on the reel there where so many….You will have a blast…
    Dave

  20. I think it will be more of a problem trying to keep the mosquitoes from eating you alive. I spend a year at Clear, AK back in 1985/1986 in my Air Force days. Them mosquitoes are something else. I have seen them all wound up in the fishing line on the reel there where so many….You will have a blast…
    Dave

  21. Hope you will consider using something like Counter Assault Bear Spray http://www.counterassault.com/ . It is pretty effective and probably a better option than firearms given what you will be doing. If you can, remember to spray while the bear is inhaling………. It does not really harm the bear and it is good to be prepared just in case one gets a little too friendly.

    Be safe and look forward to seeing pictures.

  22. Hope you will consider using something like Counter Assault Bear Spray http://www.counterassault.com/ . It is pretty effective and probably a better option than firearms given what you will be doing. If you can, remember to spray while the bear is inhaling………. It does not really harm the bear and it is good to be prepared just in case one gets a little too friendly.

    Be safe and look forward to seeing pictures.

  23. …..and I think the new D700 has a pop-up bear scarer built into it so that might be useful!!

    Have a great time

  24. Looks to be an excellent adventure with many photo opportunities! Will anxiously await the return with some breath-taking photos!

  25. Looks to be an excellent adventure with many photo opportunities! Will anxiously await the return with some breath-taking photos!

  26. Sometime, Scott, it just sucks to be you. :)

  27. Sometime, Scott, it just sucks to be you. :)

  28. Wow, Scott. I’m green with envy.
    =]
    This trip will be one great time for you. And for the bears. And sure enough for all of us twip-fans, when you post pics.
    Enjoy the time, the opportunity and the nature.

  29. Wow, Scott. I’m green with envy.
    =]
    This trip will be one great time for you. And for the bears. And sure enough for all of us twip-fans, when you post pics.
    Enjoy the time, the opportunity and the nature.

  30. WOW look at the roe fly! That’s an amazing shot. Don’t get eaten by the bear, scott….i still want to see your pictures

  31. @Photo-John Unless you have an elephant gun, you won’t do any damage to a big brown bear. I was in Alaska last summer, and it was awesome, but I learned from our guide who had lived in the outback of Alaska for the past 5 years that guns aren’t really necessary.

    Since Scott will intentionally be up close and personal with the bears I don’t see the necessity of having a gun. A whistle would help more to alarm them if they’re not aware of your presence should they get too close for comfort without knowing he’s standing there photographing them.

  32. @Photo-John Unless you have an elephant gun, you won’t do any damage to a big brown bear. I was in Alaska last summer, and it was awesome, but I learned from our guide who had lived in the outback of Alaska for the past 5 years that guns aren’t really necessary.

    Since Scott will intentionally be up close and personal with the bears I don’t see the necessity of having a gun. A whistle would help more to alarm them if they’re not aware of your presence should they get too close for comfort without knowing he’s standing there photographing them.

  33. You don’t have to outrun the bears, you simply have to outrun your fellow photographers.
    Best of luck on a great shooting opportunity.

  34. You don’t have to outrun the bears, you simply have to outrun your fellow photographers.
    Best of luck on a great shooting opportunity.

  35. @Scott- how to escape the bird sized mosquitoes up here is to get a bottle of “Ben’s” which is 100% Deet. The mosquitoes will avoid you like the plague…along with everyone else. Makes you smell like a hippy. :-P Just don’t put it on your skin…you might not have any left aferwards.

  36. @Scott- how to escape the bird sized mosquitoes up here is to get a bottle of “Ben’s” which is 100% Deet. The mosquitoes will avoid you like the plague…along with everyone else. Makes you smell like a hippy. :-P Just don’t put it on your skin…you might not have any left aferwards.

  37. “…macros…”

    OK then…you will have to get the completely wonderful 105VR macro for a trip this important, don’t you think? One of the great Nikkors, imo…

  38. “…macros…”

    OK then…you will have to get the completely wonderful 105VR macro for a trip this important, don’t you think? One of the great Nikkors, imo…

  39. Sounds like it’s going to be an amazing trip. The bears really grabbed my attention and reminded me of an old photo from my cousin who was a guide in Alaska many years ago. The brown bear in the photo had a paw that measured 13″ across. I’ll see if I can find it somehow in the archives. I hope you have a safe trip and bring back some once in a lifetime photos.

  40. Sounds like it’s going to be an amazing trip. The bears really grabbed my attention and reminded me of an old photo from my cousin who was a guide in Alaska many years ago. The brown bear in the photo had a paw that measured 13″ across. I’ll see if I can find it somehow in the archives. I hope you have a safe trip and bring back some once in a lifetime photos.

  41. Scott it sounds like you’ll have an amazing trip. You should check out Art Wolfe’s “Travels to the Edge” episode “Alaska: Katmai Coast” (trailer: http://tiny.cc/SIybX). In the episode he gets an up close and personal with some grizzlies. It might give you a glance of what you can expect on your trip.

  42. Congratulations, Scott…that sounds great. I’m actually on a trip in Seattle right now and we leave on a cruise for Alaska tomorrow. We’re going up the inner passage to Juneau, Skagway and British Columbia. I’ve been reading up on different things and different ways to photograph. Hopefully we’ll see a bear or two.

  43. Congratulations, Scott…that sounds great. I’m actually on a trip in Seattle right now and we leave on a cruise for Alaska tomorrow. We’re going up the inner passage to Juneau, Skagway and British Columbia. I’ve been reading up on different things and different ways to photograph. Hopefully we’ll see a bear or two.

  44. [...] You might want to read my original post about this trip to better understand what this is all about. Also, the bear in this photo was located in Denali [...]

  45. [...] You might want to read my original post about this trip to better understand what this is all about. Also, the bear in this photo was located in Denali [...]

  46. [...] You might want to read my original post about this trip to better understand what this is all about. Also, the bear in this photo was located in Denali [...]

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