Saturday, August 14, 2010
Katmai National Park, Alaska
Katmai National Park, Alaska is a special place. The park is world renown for the location where brown bears can be seen catching salmon in close proximity. Before our arrival, from fellow rangers, I had heard about a special sow, named Milkshake. In previous years, she had birthed 4 cubs and 3 cubs. This past spring she had another 4 cubs. Amazingly as we arrived at Katmai by float plane, Milkshake was on the beach to greet us. The photo above was taken one morning on our way to Brooks Falls, when she was walking the cubs along the beach. When my buddy Tim was changing his photo location, he lost his footing. During his attempt on how close he could perceive Katmai beach sand, the family stopped in their tracks to observe unusual human behavior and I was able to capture the image. I feel so fortunate to be able see this special family, let alone photograph them with the bonus water reflection.
Below, the same clan was also attentively watching another boar that was walking the beach close to their location.
Milkshake would often nurse the cubs on the beach.
We were fortunate to see the cubs playing on the beach on a number of occasions during our stay.
The falls were not as active as on my prior trips, due to our visit during the later part of the sockeye run. The bears were still fishing and catching salmon when there were brief circumstances of fish jumping the falls.
The social interactions of the bears at the falls are always dynamic to view. Arguments happen regularly when the fish are running and as the bears jockey for the best fishing locations.
When things were slow at the falls, bears resort to different fishing methods. I concentrated on water shots when the fish were not jumping. The bottom image of this series was shot at 1/20th of a second to create the creamy water look.
This guy had something else on his mind besides fish.
Sometimes the bears would stand to view the area when looking for fish.
The weather was rainy and cloudy for most of our 5 day visit. We decided to take a trip to the valley of 10,000 smokes one day. It was a worthwhile trip. This image was captured at the end of the road looking across the valley.