Here’s a photo from the first morning out on my recent trip to Katmai. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, and I was able to get out and shoot before returning to camp to meet the folks coming out for the first week’s photo tour. I’d also walked and photographed the river the previous evening, and it gave me a great opportunity to scout around a bit and get a head’s up on things like the river level (which fluctuates greatly year to year, even week to week), which bears were hanging where, where the best fall colors were, etc, etc.
The bear population this year was even higher than last year, with over 70 bears in the area. I recognized many from previous trips I’ve made here, but this beautiful dark bear was one I hadn’t seen before.
Even in a place like Katmai National Park and Preserve, with one of the highest grizzly bear (or brown bear) population densities in the world, the more familiar the photographer is with both the location and the subject/s, the more productive his/her time there will be. Shooting a place over and over allows me to know better where to be when, which bears are more active, more shy or aggressive, etc, and return home afterward with higher quality photos than I otherwise might.
I think each year my photographic trips to Katmai have produced stronger portfolios than previous trips, which is a good feeling. Hopefully this also helps me encourage and assist the folks on the photo tour to produce better and better images themselves. I’ve seen a few of the images some of the folks made, and some of them were definitely impressive. I’ll try to post a page in the near future with some photos made by the various people who came out this year.
I also hope this pattern of ‘better photos’ continues for a long time to come.
Oh, and Happy Birthday to mum – love ya!