I'm planning a trip to Alaska for 2012 and I'm looking for recommendations for locations/lodges where I can go for 2-4 days of bear photography. I'd like to bring my wife (who is not a photographer) so it would be great if I can find a place that caters to both photographers and hikers/nature enthusiasts. I've found a few places in Katmai that may fit the bill but I'm looking for any advice and suggestions I can get.
Wayne, we visited Silver Salmon Creek Lodge on the West side of the Cook Inlet in June. Not sure if you are up for a fly-in lodge - the only way to get there is by prop plane (about 1.5 hours SW of Anchorage). Small groups, excellent guides, wonderful staff. Owner David Coray is a native Alaskan and can help with activities for your wife. We got great, close up shots of mom and cubs, bears clamming at low tide, and courting behavior. Can't say enough about it - best trip we've ever been on. Good luck and good shooting.
I, too heartily recommend Silver Salmon Creek Lodge. I spent 2.5 days there in 2008, and photographed at least 27 different bears - sows, yearlings, nursing spring cubs, juveniles, adult males, and the alpha male - all at distances from 12 to 75 feet, in perfect safety. Although I don't know much about hiking in that area, they do offer some terrific fly fishing for salmon - at least later in the season. I was there the last week of July. David Coray runs a totally professional operation there, and the food is to die for! If David is booked up, Homestead Lodge is right next door.
Last edited by Dillo58462; 01-06-2011 at 05:28 PM.
This'll be my 12th year bringing groups to SSCL (my workshops there are always the middle two weeks of July and cater to shooters & non-shooters alike) so I'm really partial to it of course.
However, one point I will make is that at Silver Salmon Creek or really anywhere that the density and proximity of bears is enough to get great photographs it does put a crimp in some other activities so it is a bit of a compromise. Hiking in the deep woods isn't such a great idea, for example, although walking along the coast in groups is fine, etc.
There is _plenty_ to do, just want to make sure that wherever you go you go understanding that the bears do change some typical "camping" groundrules.