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Photography Workshops by Christopher Dodds


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« Coastal Brown Bears of Katmai Workshop / Photo Safari July 24-30, 2011 Announced | Main | Bonaventure Island Trip Report: Common Murre or Common Guillemot (Uria aalge, guillemot marmette, COMU) »

Coastal Brown Bears Trip Report Part I

Coastal Brown Bear Female (Sow) Fishing in Last Light (Ursus arctos) Hallo Bay, Katmai National Park, AK ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DMKIV, 500mm F4 L IS with 1.4 Teleconverter II, Tripod & Wimberley Head II. ISO 1600, F5.6 @1/1250s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

I'm just in the door from one of the very best photographic trips of my lifetime. I left home on July 8th and arrived at Kodiak airport later that day without event. I had planned a few extra days before the workshop started to allow for the fog that delayed me last year, and forced me to sleep in ANC airport. Steve Metildi and Darren Charles Holloway arrived early for the workshop and we had an absolute blast photographing Red Fox, Golden-Crowned Sparrow, Orange-Crowned Warbler, Hermit Thrush, Bald Eagle, Wilson's Warbler and more around Kodiak Island. On July 12, Rolan Ruoss of Sea Hawk Air flew us out to Kukak Bay for our rendezvous with Chuck Keim on the Coastal Explorer for what became the trip of a lifetime for all.

We had been on the look-out for this female (sow) that had been reported to have two spring cubs, but were saddened to learn that she had lost them. Cubs remain with their mother from two to four years, during which time they learn survival techniques, such as which foods have the highest nutritional values and where to obtain them; how to hunt, fish, and defend themselves; and where to den. The cubs learn by following and imitating their mother's actions during the period they are with her. Brown bears practice infanticide. An adult male bear may kill the cubs of another bear either to make the female sexually receptive or simply for consumption. A close look at her right paw reveals an open wound, just above her claws, that most probably occured while she desperatly tried to defend her cubs.

I returned to a staggering amount of emails, and brought back a ton of images to edit, so stay tuned for more in the coming days.


My thanks Chris for introducing me to the tremendous experience (both visual and olfactory) offered by not only the Gannet colony on Bonaventure Island but also by the Gaspe peninsula.  Your low key approach and readily available technical knowledge really helped me to focus on what it was I wanted to do and maximize my chance of getting the pictures that I wanted.  Standing in a zodiac on the rolling ocean watching you photograph flying seabirds using a hand held 800mm lens pushed me to believe I could actually do the same using a 420mm lens......and the resulting photos show that it can be done!  My 6 and 3 year old children cannot thank you enough for the endless slide shows I now make them endure.- Ron Kellner | Toronto, Ontario

Pat and I had a great time on your recent Gannets Galore photo tour.  We have been on many photo tours and yours was one of the best.  We have never seen so many excellent photo opportunities.  Even the 5 AM Zodiac trip around the island offered great opportunities.  The small size of the group, 6 photographers, added to our enjoyment since you were able to spend considerable time with each of us.  Your tips on using manual camera settings were excellent.  I now use manual settings for virtually every photograph, flight or static. Thanks again for a truly outstanding photographic experience. Stokes Fishburne Chapel Hill | North Carolina

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Reader Comments (1)

That is a great shot!!!

July 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRick & Melody

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