Brown Bear Chasing Salmon in Remote Katmai National Park, AK Photo Workshop

Brown Bear, Katmai National Park

This trip will be epic! It's time to check off another line item on your bucket list. I invite you to join me in remote coastal Katmai National Park in early September, 2024 for an exciting week of photographing brown bears chasing salmon.

Arrangements have been made with the highly respected 25-year-veteran coastal Katmai National Park operator, Dave Bachrach of AK Adventures, to host our group on a private vessel designed for the access needed for film production (well-maintained, with an excellent crew) cruising the stunning coast of Katmai National Park.

"You will be photographing bears in a way most can only imagine, in some cases just yards away, while being surrounded by snow-capped mountains, glaciers and volcanoes."

We will be boat-based (extremely convenient in this location), with on-shore excursions along the salmon streams where we will be close to the bears. The amount of time allocated for this trip means that the ship can move from bay to bay, targeting the best salmon runs and providing variety in our images.

The September timeframe is ideal for bears looking good in their new coats and sporting a huge size, and the salmon are running at this time of the year. Watching the salmon is nearly as fun as watching the bears.

This is a dedicated photography trip. While casual observers are welcome, they must be OK with the photography priority. Plan on hanging out with a small group that shares your passion for wildlife photography in a spectacularly scenic location.

When and Where

Currently unscheduled, remote coastal Katmai National Park, Alaska.

Participants arrive in Homer and board the boat in the late afternoon or early evening on the 3rd. The boat departs Homer early in the morning with the high tide, heading for the Katmai Coast. We arrive back in Homer late afternoon on the 10th. Tides, weather, and animal behavior may cause changes to this itinerary.


Hopefully you, along with up-to-7 other participants. Sign up with your friends!


The cost for the Homer-to-Homer trip is $9,500.00 per person. This price includes a $500.00 group discount. Email me at to sign up or ask questions!

Shaking Brown Bear, Katmai National Park, Alaska

What are We Photographing?

Our primary photo subject will be brown bears. Wildlife, by definition, is "wild" and that means it is unpredictable and there can be no guarantees. However, coastal Katmai National Park is an extremely reliable location to photograph brown bears, and the bears should be chasing salmon in the small streams at this time of the year.

In addition to brown bears, we could see other animals including sea otters, whales, various birds, and potentially even wolves. We will be opportunistic and take advantage of any interesting subjects that we encounter – and discovering those moments is part of the excitement. In addition to the immersive wildlife photography experience, there will certainly be opportunities for some landscape photography. The views from the boat are awesome.

Brown Bears and Epic Katmai National Park Landscape


While the implied definitions of these terms vary, I see "workshops" typically laid out with a planned schedule and "tours" typically designed to put you in front of subjects at the right time. I'm calling this trip a "tour" because the primary goal is for you to get great images, and we will be opportunistic in that regard, making a firm schedule difficult to implement. That said, we will spend a lot of time together and I will teach (including as we are actively photographing), answer questions (please bring many), critique images, assist in editing, etc. throughout our time together. Thus, the educational element will also be a primary part of our time together – an "Instructional Photo Tour".

In the field, we will photograph side-by-side. You taking great images home will be a primary goal, and I can best describe what you should do if I am doing it myself at the same time. Watching also provides the participant with the opportunity to observe how it is done. Your constant feedback and questions during the IPT are important and will enable me to provide you with the best experience possible.

An "expedition" is another type of immersive photography experience, and this event involves regular expeditions. Certain is that we will have an adventure.

Pleaase note, all skill levels are welcome, and even beginners should expect to capture great bear images.

Physical Requirements

This will be a modestly strenuous trip, with much of the strain dependent on the size and weight of the gear you are carrying. Sometimes the hike from the skiff to the bears will be short, and sometimes we might eventually end up as far as (roughly) a mile up the streams. Though the elevation change will be minimal, one needs to be in reasonable physical condition.

Bear Boat, Katmai National Park, AK

What is Included

Departing from Homer and returning to Homer, this trip includes 7 days of onboard ship accommodation (double occupancy), a bear guide, photo instruction, and all meals while on board.

What is Not Included

Transportation to/from Homer, lodging prior to or post trip, liquor, and tips for the crew and guide are not included.

Brown Bears Fighting, Katmai National Park, AK

Cancellation Policy

Please note: travel insurance is required for this trip.

The operator cannot accept liability for costs incurred due to weather or other forces of nature, and safety comes first. A small company servicing relatively few clients each season with no control over variables presents a challenge. Thus, travel insurance is required. Allowing some flexibility in travel (buffer days) is highly recommended in this part of Alaska.

To reserve your space, a 50% deposit is required within 10 days of your verbal, email, or text message "I'm in!" confirmation. Full payment is required 180 days before the trip departure date. All payments are non-refundable unless your reserved space can be rebooked after the trip is otherwise filled, in which case, a full refund minus a $195.00 administrative fee will be provided. Travel insurance is intended to cover losses.

Let's Do This! Sign Up Now!

Email me at to sign up or ask questions!

Fast Food and Huge Brown Bear, Katmai National Park, Alaska

Camera Gear Needed

Aside from a great attitude and a strong interest in wildlife photography, you are going to need some gear, and while most cameras with a telephoto lens will work fine, mid-upper-grade gear should be considered for the best results from this event.

Advised is to have a MILC (Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera) or DSLR camera in your bag. There will be times when a fast frame rate is beneficial (bears chasing salmon for example), but this camera feature is not a requirement.

Bringing a telephoto lens or lenses having a full-frame equivalent of at least 400mm (go for 300mm or longer on an APS-C format camera) is suggested, and having longer focal lengths available will be appreciated at times (up to full-frame 600mm equivalent is ideal). Wide apertures are an advantage, especially on dark days, and the wide aperture's ability to blur the background is useful. While any telephoto lens can work, there may be times when an f/4 or wider aperture is preferred. Renting gear is always a great option.

My current plan is to take a pair of high-resolution cameras such as the Canon EOS R5 or Sony Alpha 1 along with the Canon RF 600mm F4 L IS USM Lens or Sony FE 600mm F4 GM OSS Lens. I'll carry the big lens on a Black Rapid shoulder strap and in a LensCoat camera rain cover.

The second camera will have a shorter telephoto zoom lens such as the Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM Lens or Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens for Canon, or the Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS Lens or Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II Lens for Sony. The Sony FE 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS Lens is another great option. I'll also take a raincoat for these lenses.

A strong tripod such as the Really Right Stuff TVC-34L Mk2 with a gimbal head such as the Wimberley WH-200-S Sidemount Head or Really Right Stuff PG-02 MK2 Pano-Gimbal Head is ideal. Keep a backpack on the ground/sand (on or in a garbage bag or rain cover to keep it clean) with the second camera and lens ready to grab when the bears get too close for the big lens (expect them to get very close at times).

Chillin Brown Bear, Katmai National Park, Alaska

I plan to take a lens such as the Canon RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM Lens to capture landscape opportunities.

Bring lots of memory card capacity, enough batteries to last at least a day, and enough chargers to restore that capability overnight. Bringing a laptop is highly recommended, enabling review of your images. Bring an external hard drive (or multiple of them) for an additional level of backup.

Waders, ideally chest waders, are required. A small stool or seat pad may be welcomed. Bring a flashlight, preferably a headlight.

Consider what failure of any piece of gear means for your experience and consider bringing a backup for items identified as critical. Again, bringing at least two cameras is advised.

As always, feel free to ask me for gear advice.

Weather / Clothing

The weather in Katmai in late September is typically very nice, though cool, and sometimes even cold (primarily, mornings and late evenings). Dressing in layers is the best plan. A raincoat and pants may be required at times.

The wildlife we are pursuing is acclimated to humans and does not seem to care what we are wearing. Thus, camo clothing is not necessary. In case you were wondering, bears think salmon taste much better than people.

Note that our boat has a washer and dryer.

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Huge Brown Bear, Katmai National Park, Alaska

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