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Photography Workshops by Christopher Dodds


Nature Photography Blog Journal Index

Entries in Grizzly Bear (4)


Coastal Brown Bear Spring Cubs

Coastal Brown Bear Spring Cub Triplets (Ursus arctos) Hallo Bay, Katmai National Park, Alaska. Image Copyright ©Christopher DoddsSony Alpha a9 Mirrorless camera & Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 G Master OSS Lens  with Sony FE 2X Teleconverter @800mm ISO 400, f/5.6 @ 1/2,000s Manual exposure.

We had so many encounters with mothers and cubs during my bear boat trip, but this set of triplets stole the show. These are spring cubs that were born in the den sometime between December and March after a gestation period of 180-270 days; likely while the mother was still hibernating. They were toothless and only weighed about a pound when they were born.


Coastal Brown Bears of Katmai Alaska 

Coastal Brown Bear OVERLOOK  (Ursus arctos, Grizzly Bear) Hallo Bay, Katmai National Park, AK. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon 1D MK IV, 500mm F4 L IS, Jobu Jr. 3 gimbal head & tripod. ISO 800, f/4 @1/800s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION

Coastal Brown Bear FISH ON!  (Ursus arctos, Grizzly Bear) Hallo Bay, Katmai National Park, AK. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon 1D MK IV, 500mm F4 L IS, 1.4X Extender III, Jobu Jr. 3 gimbal head & tripod. ISO 800, f/5.6 @1/1,000s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION

Here's a couple of images from my recent Coastal Brown Bears of Katmai, Alaska photo safari. It is always quite remarkable to watch and see just how much patience a hungry bear has; they know that the salmon will eventually swim up the creek, all they have to do is wait for it. Seeing a 1,000 pounds, or more, of sleeping muscles pounce into action and catch a salmon at a close distance is an exhilarating experience!

There's quite a good lesson to be learned from the bears; wait along a salmon creek, and as sure as the Salmon will show, so will the bears ;) I have heard myself (more than once) explaining to workshop participants that being patient is far more productive than chasing around after every bear seen. We watched (more than once) as other groups chased off the very bears they wanted to photograph; against park rules and a somewhat foolish approach to photographing wild bears.

Be sure to check-out my new and improved Coastal Brown Bears of Katmai, Alaska photo safari July/August 2012. New and improved 100 foot boat for stability and a calmer ride, better, and more consistent cuisine (90% seafood with a gourmet chef interested in satisfying your special diet), all the snacks and drinks (non-alchoholic) you could want and lots of hot water for daily showers and lots of good, clean fun, clean quarters and a willing, happy crew there to help make this a trip of a lifetime!

Be sure to check out: Coastal Brown Bears of Katmai, Alaska Photo Safari Workshop July 27th to August 3rd, 2012


"I recently went on the Gannets Galore workshop with Chris.... It has been 3 weeks now and I still can not come up the the words to describe this experience. The world Chris takes you to defies description. The colony is beyond words. Everything about your day on this workshop is special. This is a trip of a lifetime for anyone who loves birds. Chris runs his workshop so all you have to do is show up at the appointed time and shoot for 10 hours, every detail beyond that is taken care of. The Day is spent with no other care than to photograph beautiful gannets, whales, murres, razorbills, kittiwakes, seals, and he threw in 2 bald eagles for good measure. I had so many great shots when I returned home that I still can not believe it. My birds in flight technique improved 100 percent. Chris gives you as much or as little instruction as you want. He even let me shoot a couple of cards in his camera with his lens. All I can say is, if you love birds, and want to see gannets, I don't believe you can do any better than a Chris Dodds workshop." - Carole Wiley Torrington | CT | USA

There's still room for my Sept. 7-9, 2011 Gannets Galore photo safari workshop be sure to check it out HERE. This is, by far, the very best place in the world to learn bird photography flight technique. My years of experience there is the critical key to offering you the very best Bonaventure Island has to offer. This is such a magical place, it has drawn me back for more than 365 days (I stopped counting after reaching a year of days there).


ADRENALINE Coastal Brown Bear (Ursus arctos or grizzly bear) & The Hazards of Nature Photography.

Coastal Brown Bear Fishing ADRENALINE (Ursus arctos or Grizzly Bear) Hallo Bay, Katmai National Park, AK Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DMKIV, 500mm F4 L IS, Tripod & Wimberley Head II. ISO 400, F5.6 @1/1600s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

The Hazards of Nature Photography: DEHYDRATION

I have been meaning to write a bit about the importance of hydration all summer and autumn is quickly approaching. No matter, hydration is just as important in the cold winter as it is in the hot summer months. Water makes up 75% of the body weight - about 50 liters (11 gallons) for the average man. Survival is unlikely if more than one fifth of this is lost. The first signs of dehydration are thirst, vague discomfort, lack of appetite, flushed skin, impatience, sleepiness and nausea. Once fluid loss reaches 6-10%, symptoms include dizziness, headache, labored breathing, no salivation, indistinct speech and you may loose your ability to walk. By the time fluid loss reached 11-20% symptoms now include delirium, swollen tongue, unable to swallow, dim vision, numb and shriveled skin. In it's latter stages: There is gross muscular weakness and mental capacity is impaired. You must make your survival plans at the start when you can think clearly and then stick to them. Best to remember to bring along some water and avoid the headache ;)


The trip with Chris on the Coastal Explorer along the Katmai coast was fantastic.  Without a doubt it was one of the top photo trips I have taken over the last several years due to the amazing variety and density of wildlife in such completely unspoiled and uninhabited wilderness.  Unlike land based lodges, with the Coastal Explorer you have the opportunity to photograph in several of Katmai's secluded bays versus being limited to an area adjacent to a land-based lodge.  What helped make the trip so successful was Chris's work ethic where he is always ready to shoot in any weather conditions and will stay in the field as long as there is any possibility for high quality photography.  This is essential in a place like coastal Alaska where it can go from direct sunny conditions to heavy overcast to rain in the blink of an eye and where the sun doesn't set until the late evening.  If the best time to photograph Brown Bears chasing down salmon was after 10:00PM, you bet we'd be on the river bank waiting on the massive Brown Bear boars to make their spectacular runs--photography is top priority after safety of course.  The daily great fresh seafood didn't exactly hurt the trip either.

As I write this I've only a little over two weeks removed from returning from Katmai and I'm still having serious withdrawals--right now I really want to be on the Coastal Explorer's skiff heading to shore to photograph more bears, eagles, and wolves. - Steve Metildi Southern California | USA

BE SURE TO CHECK-OUT STEVE'S KATMAI 2010 ALBUM HERE to see images he made during the workshop.

2011 Coastal Brown Bears of Katmai Workshop/Safari Announced

Join me, Christopher Dodds, and some of the more than 2,000 Coastal Brown Bears at the best place in the world to photograph Coastal Brown Bears. Claiming the world’s highest concentration of Coastal Brown Bears, Katmai National Park in Alaska also has to be the most beautiful setting on the planet to photograph them. Truly the adventure of a lifetime, we’ll have plenty of opportunities to see, study and photograph Coastal Brown Bears in their undisturbed, natural environment without the influence or pressure that large groups and camps often cause. I have secured the much coveted dates of July 24-30, 2011; timed to coincide with the annual Salmon run. With a limit of only six participants, there will be plenty of time for instruction and personal attention from Chris. MORE INFORMATION & REGISTRATION FORM HERE.


The author is not a physician. This article is for informational purposes only and it is not intended to identify, diagnose, or treat any medical condition.


Bear Boat Katmai July 12-18, 2010 Massive Discount due to illness

Coastal Brown Bear CUB OF HEARTS (Ursus arctos) Katmai National Park, AK ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 5DMKII, 70-200mm F2.8 @125mm ISO 400, F8 1/320s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

It’s only two weeks away, but I have two spots available at a massive discount. A couple who booked early last year have had to cancel due to a unexpected and sudden health crisis. They have no trip insurance and are willing to forfeit half of the US$4,995.00 workshop fee that they have paid. Please email (, or call me (450) 827-1007 if you are interested in the trip of a lifetime. Bargain US$2,500.00 fee includes seven days instruction, guide service food and accommodation aboard the Coastal Explorer. Airfare to Kodiak Island and float plane from Kodiak Island to the boat (approx. US$475.00) are not included. Act quickly....MORE INFORMATION HERE