Alaska Brown Bears

Brown Bears 2019 Balance
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Trip Dates: Arrive August 14, depart August 19, 2019

Photo Tour Fee: $6100 which will include everything from the time we leave Anchorage to the time we get back - all lodging, food, flights from Anchorage to the bear lodge and back again, park fees and permits, and any boat trips during our stay. Inquire if single occupancy may be available for roughly $1000 if desired. 

Deposit: $1000 (to be deducted from the total. The balance of $5100 will be due three months prior to the trip (May 14).

From: Anchorage, Alaska

Leaders: Matthew Studebaker

Target Group Size: 5 photographers

Join our small group on the shores of Cook Inlet, in the shadow of the smoking Iliamna Volcano, where brown bears roam the shores in search of salmon and crustaceans. 

Travel considerations: Fly to Anchorage, Alaska

Equipment: Bring your favorite digital SLR and a backup SLR if you have one. On this photo tour, we will want a wide variety of lenses. A long lens will be useful for detailed portraits of bears and sea birds. Bears may get well within 70-200, range at times, especially if you want to include some of the awesome scenery in the background.  We also will have opportunities for landscapes so bring a wide angle as well. Bring a tripod, and binoculars if desired.

Likely Species on the trip. Opportunities in bold will be the easiest/most common -


  • Brown Bear (Ursus arctos)


  • Bald Eagle

  • Horned Puffin

  • Tufted Puffin

  • Common Murre

  • Glaucous-winged Gull

  • Black-legged Kittiwake

  • Savannah Sparrow

  • Boreal Chickadee


  • Smoking Mount Iliamna

  • The mountains of Lake Clark National Park

  • Tidal Mountain Rivers


What to pack

  • Boots: Waterproof Hiking Boots. The lodge may have knee high boots available for you.

  • Jacket: You will want a coat. Be prepared for temperatures in the lower 40's with a moderate wind at times.

  • Hat and Gloves: A warm hood could be the perfect answer for a cooler than average morning. Gloves are optional if you have extra room in your luggage. Long underwear is not a bad idea either.

  • Cash for tips for lodge staff

  • Backup memory - participants tell me they often take 1000 - 2000 images per day so you'll want plenty of memory to backup images

Cell Phones and Internet: Internet will be very slow at the lodge. Most major cell phone networks pick up intermittent reception but nothing dependable.

We will meet in Anchorage on the first day. After flying to the lodge as a group, we will begin photography right away. The first two nights will be at a comfortable but primitive tent camp, the rest of the trip will be at comfortable cabins with delicious meals prepared by the cooking staff. 

Transportation: Plane ride from Anchorage and in-the-field transportation are included in the tour fees. We will fly to the lodge, boat to tent camp and to a puffin island, and be pulled by an ATV in carts to get closer to the bears near the lodge. 

We will stay four nights in well appointed modern cabins in the middle of Lake Clark National Park, then two nights in semi-permanent, reasonably comfortable large tents. I hate camping and normally refuse to camp in conjunction with photography, but this camp I found to be pleasant. 

Meals: Meals are included in the tour fees. We will have three tasty meals per day prepared and served by the lodge staff.

Early Arrivals: Since I have pre-booked the plane from Anchorage, I'll presume that you will arrive and depart with the rest of the group unless you tell me otherwise. 

Physical Requirements:
A light amount of walking will be required, as well as standing in the field for a couple hours at a time.

Photographic Objectives:
We want to photograph brown bears in a variety of settings, with cubs, fishing, digging for clams, rushing through the water, small against a majestic background, etc.  We will also have a few limited opportunities at landscapes and bird photography as well.