Brown bears of Katmai - 2025
Letters correspond to points on the map in the map tab.
Letters correspond to points on the map in the map tab.
Day 1, June 17:Arrive in the city of Anchorage, Alaska on the Cook Inlet. You are requested to arrive in Anchorage on June 24 so that our group can convene the morning of June 25 before departure. Anchorage is the gateway to all Alaskan adventures. We will provide hotel information of the hotel in the downtown area where the group will be staying so that you can walk from the hotel to local restaurants and shops. You will need to reach out to the hotel directly to secure your room reservation. You are not required to stay at the suggested hotel as there are other downtown hotels available. Please keep in mind that there are no 5-star hotels in Alaska with two maybe three exceptions (outside of Anchorage). The hotels are older and may be a bit more “tired” looking than one may expect, but that is part of the charm of the north. We can leave our hectic city lives behind and prepare ourselves for our days to come in the bush.We will have a meet and greet no host dinner at a restaurant in Anchorage. Everyone can introduce themselves and prepare for the departure the following day.
Day 2, June 18:We will depart Anchorage at either 2:00 or 3:00pm on Iliamna Airtaxi’s Pilatus PC-12 turboprop plane. We will be allowed 70 lbs of baggage allowance per person on the plane with our camera gear. After arriving at the Iliamna airpor at approximately 3:00 or 4:00pm, we will be met by one of the staff and transported to the lodge. When the introductions to the staff are completed, we will get everyone outfitted with their gear and then taken to our cabins. After we settle in to our cabin, we will make our way to the main lodge and enjoy the "great room” with its beautiful views of Lake Iliana and Roadhouse Mountain.When everyone has arrived, we will gather for the lodge orientation. Proper procedure around bears and on the float plane will be discussed. We will be fitted in state of the art Goretex waders and wading boots. This lightweight gear is very comfortable and allows us to be completely impervious to the weather. We will be able to walk through streams and rivers with our camera gear. Dinner will follow and we will discuss the plan for the following day. We will tell you where you are going, what gear you will need and what aircraft you will be riding in. Our lodge staff will be flexible knowing that as photographers, we will be looking for the best light and behavioral situations. Breakfast and dinner times will be flexible for us depending on our photography and wildlife viewing needs.Bush Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 2, June 18:
Day 3, June 19:After eating a hearty breakfast and coffee, we will board one of the bush planes and head off to begin the day’s adventure. Our lodge has 4 bush planes and 14 boats set aside for our use. Since this is our first day ,we will be looking for coastal brown bears. The bears that we will be looking for are known as “brown bears” or “coastal brown bears”. They are typically larger than the inland bears who have limited or no access to marine-derived food resources and so the inland bears, also a sub-species, are often smaller and are called “grizzlies”. They both have the same distinctive body shape with a pronounced shoulder hump, but we will be looking for coastal brown bears.The grizzly bear is also thus named because its hair is “grizzled” or silver tipped. Another common belief is that the word “grisly” means “horrible”. Another note of interest is that all brown bears come in varying shades of brown - from blonde to chocolate brown. The Kodiac bears, a separate subspecies, are only found on the islands of the Kodiac Archipelago. They have been isolated from the other bears for almost 12,000 years. Kodiacs are the largest of the brown bear species and are almost as large as polar bears.We will spend a full day in the field (lunch will be distributed) and our day’s plan is flexible depending on weather and what we find. We will return back to camp at the end of our day where we will either opt for a hot shower or go right to the main lodge for hors d’oeuvres and a drink to finish off our first day. After dinner, we will have a short photography presentation to help us think of composition and settings with our cameras during the following days.After a few days of shooting, downloading and some processing, we will have photography critique sessions after dinner. Everyone will give Jami their favorite 3 images of the preceding day and Jami and Theo will talk about those images so that we can all learn and see the different creative approaches used by our very own group.Bush Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 4-7, June 20-23:After breakfast, we will fly or boat to different locations depending on weather and the subject matter decided upon by Jami, Theo and the pilots. Each day will be an adventure filled with wonder. Not only will we get to see these beautiful animals up close enough to fill our view finders, but we will experience the magnificent landscapes of this wild part of North America. We will be surprised every day with something new. This is not a trip that is short on excitement.Bush Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 4-7, June 20-23:
Day 8, June 24:After a full morning and early afternoon out with the bears, we will fly back to the lodge in time for a quick shower. The staff will transport us to the airport for an evening flight to Anchorage. We should arrive in Anchorage around 5:00pm but we will notify you with more information as the trip gets closer.We will let you know when to book your outbound flight.(B,L, dinner on your own)End of Services
- Accommodations for 6 nights at our bush lodge based on double-occupancy
- Round trip flight from Anchorage to Katmai
- All bush flights and boat rides
- Pilots, boat drivers and bush guides
- Meals as indicated in the itinerary
- Water and soft drinks
- Entrance fees to national parks
- Use of waders and boots
- Photography workshops and on the ground photography instruction
- One or two Wild Focus guides depending on group size
- Airfare to and from Anchorage
- Accommodations for 1 night in Anchorage, Alaska
- beer, wine, hard liquor
- Personal expenses, phone calls, travel insurance, etc
- Meals not mentioned in itinerary
- Tips and Gratuities
Travel Insurance Recommended
Please consider obtaining Trip or Travel Insurance to cover eventualities which may cause travel difficulties or losses you may incur, of which Wild Focus Expeditions is not responsible. We strongly suggest Trip or Travel Insurance to all our guests to cover any unseen situations occurring prior to or during the trip which would cause any unforeseen losses.
A moderate level of fitness is required for this Alaskan adventure. The field outings each day may involve approximately 6 miles or so of hiking over uneven ground and through streams in order to reach our targeted locations. We will not be at altitude, but the ability to hike on mossy, rocky uneven ground carrying camera gear is important. Please be aware of this before booking. If you have any questions regarding your ability to participate, please email us to set up a time to talk on the phone.
I count myself very fortunate to have lived in bear country for 22 years and have additionally done several years of canoeing and kayaking expeditions across black bear, brown bear and polar bear country. I had numerous grizzly bear visits at my log home in the Yukon or at my campsites during my river or ocean kayaking trips. Yet I never got tired of watching the behavior of these powerful and intelligent furry giants. I especially love the bears on Katmai as they are quite tolerable of human presence and it is possible to observe and photograph them from a close distance.
Wild Focus Expeditions provides specialized, small group photography tours. Our photography expeditions are designed to get participants into distinctive, engaging locations around the world at the optimum times for photography. Our photo tours are created by our team of photographers who want to experience and photograph the world's top wildlife, nature and traditional cultures locations.
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