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One of the great things about Katmai National Park is that only a handful of people live there, and that the brown bears never experience all the usual negative human behavior - after all, in the end it's always the humans that create the problems.

Every year we run a bear photography workshop in Alaska and the guides we use are extremely knowledgable and know everything about bear behavior. As a result the bears are very relaxed with our presence and most of the time don't even seem to notice us - they're simply totally not interested in us. The bears just go about their daily routine and sometimes get incredibly close.

Everyone will tell you that when you see a sow with two cubs, you're pretty much screwed. And they might be right, but not here. Here the bears don't see humans as a threat, just as objects in the landscape. On many occasions bears came as close as 10 feet from where we were watching them.

In this particular case we were photographing a sow with two cubs and decided to all lay flat on the grass, both for the low perspective and to be less intimidating for the bears. That proved to be a good decision, because the sow walked closer and closer to us, up to the point that even my 200-400 was too much focal length for the scene.

Boars can be potentially dangerous to young cubs, which is why this family was constantly alert. Here they spotted a boar in the distance and they were briefly looking at it, trying to figure out whether it was moving into their direction or if they would be save. In the end they just continued grazing and slowly moved away from us again. A truly wonderful wildlife experience.

If you would like to join us on our next bear workshop, the one for 2012 is already fully booked. There are still spaces for the 2013 trip though.

Squiver Photo Tours & Workshops

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