Looks like things have rebounded nicely after a couple of weak and dry summers in a row in Katmai. The weather was perfect for my first bear tour this season, lots of clouds to cut down the sunlight and to keep the bears cool (less sharpness stealing heatwaves) and we only lost one shoot out of seven days because of rain.
I call this the cub tour since we had at least five or six mothers with cubs to work with at Hallo. Two of these families were real show-offs, they didn't mind photographers poking their lenses their way all day long, and they seemed to like nothing more than playing. Seems that life has been good for the bears this year.
Coastal brown bears have no problem with the temperatures in wintertime, but in summer its a different story especially with the mother bears as they have to work at staying cool on sunny days. They prefer to sit on a bank or in the river, other times they enjoy cooling off with a nice sea breeze at the beach.
Hallo seemed to be the place to be in early July. We did see jumpers (salmon jumping) at Hallo so hopefully, there is going to be a good salmon run there this year. That would be good news for my next two groups that start in a few days.
Kukak was quiet although we did manage to see a wolf on our first morning there. This tour was a little early for Kukak and I am sure it will switch on later in the month and into August.
This yearling cub and its sibling really kept us really busy at Hallo and this is one of my favorite images. He walked over towards us and then showed us it was his spot! I just love the pose and look on his face.
Some of the people on the tour were filling a 64 GB card in one session! I didn't know that was even possible. A few years ago I switched to 64GB cards and that is plenty for me, my record for one shoot, and that was years ago, is still 32GB. I recommend at least a 64 or 128GB card for most people on my tours.
This years cub tour was based in Hallo bay but we also spent one day in Kukak where we had good opportunities for seal, otter, and eagles. Kukak should have lots of bears later in summer, in early July we only spotted maybe 5 at the most.
Puffins also seemed to be pretty good this year at Hallo and conditions were great. I was able to fill the frame with a D500 APS-C sensor body and Sigma's new 100-400 C lens.
We concentrated on cubs on this tour, but my tours later in summer will be aimed at bears fishing, hopefully with salmon in their mouths! Things are going great in Katmai this year so try to make it if you can, or if not this year I am leading two tours to Katmai next year.
2018 tour dates should be confirmed in about two weeks so let me know if you would like join us. I had two tours this year with very late cancellations, so if you are interested and able to make a last minute trip, at a big discount, email me to get on the wait list for the future.
Any questions or comments let me know.