Grizzly Bear in Alaska

I never get tired of looking at these amazing creatures – whether it is on TV, online or in the real world. I headed out to Alaska in the summer of 2012 with the hopes of seeing some grizzlies. Ah I was not disappointed. I went to Homer in South Alaska out near the spit and had a hike organised with some people for the day out on one of the local islands – approximately  one hours flight away.

After we landed on the beach, we were giving a safety briefing from our guide Dwayne. He was very helpful and had a lot of details re the bear’s habitat and the way they behave – around other bears and humans. After spending between four and five hours walking around and looking for bears – and seeing plenty – we headed back to camp to get something to eat. Some of the others were flying back into Homer but we were staying overnight in the camp. After a quick meal, four of us headed out again and found this bear in the stream near the camp grounds.

It was a great moment – in between getting eating alive by the mosquitoes – where we witnessed the bear stalking salmon as they made their way up-stream to their spawning grounds. Seemingly the salmon expend all their energy and fat reserves to get back to where it all began for them maybe five or six years previously. They swim back in from the ocean and stay on the shoreline area for maybe three to four weeks letting their gills adjust to the freshwater from the streams that is mixing with the salt water from the ocean. The time that we were there, the 25th of July 2012, the salmon were not fully running – although some had made their way up the streams already.

After I took this shot the bear took off within seconds – thankfully not at us – but down the stream after a salmon. I did not see or notice this until afterwards when I looked at a video clip and could see the salmon skipping away from the bear after it stopped up the stream. It was a great nature moment where life and death hung in the balance.

Equipment used:

Camera: Canon 1D Mark IV
Lens: Canon EF 500mm f/4: IS
Handheld
EXIF: ISO 320 f/4 1/2000 0ev 500mm

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