Alaska Brown Bears Photo Workshop

July 23-28, 2023 - Sold Out

The Alaska Brown Bears Photo Workshop takes place deep in Katmai National Park. During this all-inclusive workshop we'll be staying in a remote backcountry lodge on the shores of a beautiful lake. Each day we'll don our chest waders and fly out to a new location, allowing us to photograph the brown bears in many different environments! The dates are timed for peak salmon runs in many river corridors throughout Katmai. We will be able to capture bears fishing, clamming, and foraging in the sedge meadows. Short walks of 2-4 miles will be required to reach the shooting locations.

Tuition

  • $8495
  • All-Inclusive

Max Group Size

  • Max 5 Students

Instructor(s)

  • David Swindler 
Alaska Brown Bears Photo Workshop Wildlife Photography Brooks Falls Catching Fish

Highlights

  • With a population of more than 2000 brown bears, Alaska's Katmai National Park is a premier location to photograph and observe these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.
  • Exclusive daily charter flights from our remote wilderness lodge will allow us to photograph the bears in many different environments. Bald eagles, wolves, and foxes may also join in the fun!
  • Dates are timed for peak salmon runs in many of Katmai's rivers.
  • All-inclusive workshop with 4 nights lodging and all meals included.
  • Pro instructor David Swindler will help you get the best possible shots.  Expect plenty of individual attention with a small group of 5 people.
  • Post Processing Instruction and Image Review sessions will be scheduled throughout the workshop.

Itinerary

Due to the unpredictability of weather in Alaska, the itinerary below is subject to change.  We will optimize our time to give you the best possible bear photography experience.

  • Day 1 (July 23): Optional arrival day in Anchorage.  If arriving today, you will be responsible for your overnight lodging. Prior to the workshop we will hold 2 separate orientation meetings via Zoom to ensure you are setup for success.
  • Day 2 (July 24):  We will meet at 7AM at Merrill Field near downtown Anchorage for our flight to the wilderness lodge. The flight is absolutely breathtaking as we pass over mud flats, sedge meadows, glaciers, and jagged peaks! Once there, we get fitted into our chest waders, grab our lunches, and  immediately fly out for our first photo shoot at the infamous Brooks Falls!  We'll shoot the bears as they catch fish at the falls and also walk the river to get eye-level shots.  We'll return for a late dinner at the lodge.
  • Day 3 (July 25):  We convene for an early morning image critque and classroom session. After breakfast, we load up in the float plane.  We fly over snow-capped volcanos, huge glaciers, and lakes. We spend the day photographing brown bears against a stunning mountain backdrop as they are foraging, clamming, and caring for their small spring cubs.
  • Day 4 (July 26):  After another morning classroom session, we fly out to remote location far away from other people.  The bears are busy doing their thing as we walk the creek, capturing them as they chase after the spawning salmon.  We get some incredible action shots.  Time flies and before we know it it's time to fly back to the lodge for dinner.
  • Day 5 (July 27):  We meet for a final image critique session before flying out to another river with spawning salmon.  We photograph numerous bears and family groups in the river corridor. The small spring cubs are a highlight as they wrestle and fight with each other. We return late to the lodge for our final dinner.
  • Day 6 (July 28):  After breakfast we pack up our gear and return to the airport for our flight back to Anchorage.  The workshop will conclude by noon after we land at Merrill Field.
Alaska Brown Bears Photo Workshop Wildlife Photography
Alaska Brown Bears Photo Workshop Wildlife Photography Spring Cubs
Alaska Brown Bears Photo Workshop Wildlife Photography Spring Cubs

Logistics

You will need to arrive at Merrill Field in Anchorage by 7AM on July 24th.  You can either choose to arrive on the 23rd and stay overnight in Anchorage or arrive on a red-eye flight the morning of the 24th.  Our flight to the wilderness lodge departs at 8AM.  Each person gets 50 lbs of gear for free.  Additional weight is charged at $1/lb.  Information on how to book your flight to/from the lodge will be sent after the 2023 schedules and pricing are available.

To protect your investment in this trip, we STRONGLY suggest you purchase Travel Insurance.  We have partnered with Squaremouth, a website that allows you to compare policies from multiple providers to choose the best one for you.

The lodge we are staying out is on the shores of a beautiful lake and is very remote.  Do not count on having Wifi, cell signal, and the like. Also, do not expect luxury-style accommodations. The rooms are spacious but basic (see photos in the lodge section below).  The base price assumes double occupancy. Single rooms are available for an additional fee. Delicious gourmet meals are provided by the in-house chef.  Lunches are of the sack-lunch variety as we will be out in the field.

We will have four full days of bear photography where our pilot will fly us to a location of our choosing.  This will allow us to visit new locations each day.  We will also be able to access places where other people don't go.  The pilots and guides at this lodge know the locations and bears intimately.

In lieu of an in-person orientation session, we will hold 2 zoom meetings prior to the trip to answer questions and ensure you are setup for success.  We don't want any last minute surprises before running to the airport!  Once we have the flight info for next year, we will email you detailed information on how to book your flight along with checklists for clothing and gear to bring.

Alaska Brown Bears Photo Workshop Wildlife
Alaska Brown Bears Photo Workshop Wildlife Photography Spring Cubs
Alaska Brown Bears Photo Workshop Wildlife Photography
Alaska Brown Bears Photo Workshop Wildlife Photography Bald Eagle

Take A Tour of The Lodge

**Flying is always subject to the weather.  In the event of bad weather, our outings may be delayed.  If we cannot fly at all, we will schedule an alternate location/activity for that day.

Alaska Brown Bears Photo Workshop Wildlife
Alaska Brown Bears Photo Workshop Wildlife Photography Brooks Falls Long Exposure

Pricing

$8495/person + Tax

Loyalty Program Members Get $500 Off!

Trip Includes:

  • 4 nights double-occupancy lodging at the wilderness lodge.  Single-occupancy rooms available for an additional $800.
  • Exclusive charter flights over 4 days to different bear viewing areas.
  • All meals, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages.
  • In-field photography instruction and guiding.
  • Chest waders
  • Post-processing and image critique

Trip Does NOT Include:

  • Transportation to/from your home to Anchorage, AK.
  • Flight to the Wilderness Lodge. The 2022 ticket price was around $500/person. We won't have next year's prices until sometime in 2023.
  • Alcoholic beverages.
  • Tips and Gratuities

When you complete the checkout process, you will be given the option to either pay the full amount or put down a 50% deposit.  If you pay the deposit, the remaining amount will be charged 90 days prior to departure.  See the full Terms and Conditions.

Alaska Brown Bears Photo Workshop Wildlife Photography
Alaska Brown Bears Photo Workshop Wildlife Photography
Alaska Brown Bears Photo Workshop Wildlife Photography
Alaska Brown Bears Photo Workshop Wildlife Photography Spring Cubs
David Swindler Photographer

David Swindler

Founder - Photography Instructor

David Swindler is an award-winning landscape and wildlife photographer.  Among others, he has been recognized by International Photography Awards, Siena International Photo Awards, Sony World Photography Awards, International Landscape Photographer of the Year, and National Geographic.  He received a degree in chemical engineering and worked in the semiconductor industry specializing in optics and photolithography. In 2014, he left his day job to follow his true passion. He has traveled to some of the most remote regions of the world and has extensive experience photographing a wide variety of subjects and conditions. He finds great satisfaction in helping others learn photography, especially in the wild desert environment near his home in Kanab, UT.  David is an expert in night photography and loves to get out and shoot the starry night skies. Catch a glimpse of David's work in the slideshow, and follow the links below to see more!

Gallery    Awards and Media Coverage

Having guided photo tours for years, David is very familiar with many different types of cameras.  He is a master with light and composition. But most importantly, his dedication to his clients is what really sets him apart!   Just read what others are saying here: Trip Advisor.

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