Brown Bears & Puffins Photo Tour
Brown bears, puffins, and more at a secluded lodge
- Brown bears up close and with incredible scenery
- 30 bears each day
- Puffins, puffins, puffins
- Pristine wilderness, hearty food, comfortable accommodations
- 7 Days / 6 nights with 6 days of photography
Embark on an extraordinary coastal brown bear expedition unlike any other. Immerse yourself in a seven-day / six-night, all-inclusive adventure at a secluded wilderness lodge that offers unparalleled proximity to majestic coastal brown bears. Nestled in a remote location off the beaten path, our exclusive lodge boasts breathtaking waterfront views and access, as well as a rejuvenating sauna for relaxation when not pursuing bears. With a perfect blend of modern comforts and historic charm, the lodge provides a genuine taste of Alaskan heritage, complemented by the opportunity to capture remarkable photographs of the world’s largest brown bears.
What sets our premier location apart is the exclusive access we offer to coastal brown bears rarely photographed by the many who venture to Alaska. Each group is accompanied by two knowledgeable guides which allows for divided expeditions, granting each participant ample space and time to capture remarkable shots of these awe-inspiring creatures.
While the bears steal the spotlight, we will also photograph eagles, puffins, murres, pigeon guillemots, kittiwakes, and an array of captivating species. For those seeking an extra touch of uniqueness, we can even explore a nearby beach in search of fossils, adding an intriguing element to an already diverse itinerary. Prepare to indulge in the freshest, locally caught seafood and delight in freshly prepared meals that elevate your overall experience.
Tour Highlights: Incredible brown bear photography, historic lodge, and puffins
* June 20-26
Group Size: 10
Price: $6,495 (US dollars)
Price includes: All meals, guiding, accommodation, and transport
Starting Location: Kenai or Homer, Alaska (TBD)
Fitness Level: Easy / Moderate
COASTAL BROWN BEARS
Each day will begin with a hearty breakfast to fuel our adventures. We’ll embark on a short boat ride, reaching our destination where we can freely explore on foot or from the boat and capture stunning bear photographs at our own pace. What sets us apart is the absence of bustling crowds from other lodges or day-tourists, ensuring a serene environment for our encounters. With the freedom to track our favorite bears, we’ll witness their graceful movements across meadows, along the coast, as they navigate the sloughs.
This remarkable opportunity allows us to witness captivating moments of bear behavior. Experience the heartwarming sight of bears teaching their cubs to search for coastal food sources, the joy of observing nursing cubs, the playfulness of cubs wrestling and frolicking, and the sheer beauty of bears traversing against the backdrop of awe-inspiring mountain landscapes in every direction.
At a nearby island, there is a colony of horned puffins. The “horns” are small fleshy spikes that are found above the eyes of adults. Contrary to other puffin species that dig burrows for their nests, horned puffins usually nest on cliffs. Amazingly, they can dive 100 feet or more to catch small fish, and bring back dozens at a time to their nest. In the winter, these seabirds disperse from the colony and are found far from shore over the Pacific ocean.
If you’ve never seen or photographed puffins in the wild before, you are in for a treat. From our location on the beach, these charming puffins fly right past you at speeds up to 55 miles per hour. There will be many photographic opportunities, including compositions of them flying as well as perched against boulders and the cliff cavities. Birder or non-birder, you will love it!
The accommodations seamlessly blend modern comforts with early 20th century history. The lodge has preserved and reimagined the roots of the 100+ year old cannery’s iconic lodge and living quarters to meet your needs. The rooms are airy and bright and offer the breathtaking views you’d expect from your stay in the Last Frontier. Family-style meals are served and are locally sourced based on availability.
Telephoto? Supertelephoto? Wide-angle? We are going to help prepare you to take the best possible photos. Before the tour, we will have one-on-one sessions to get know you, your shooting style, discuss topics of interest (such as field techniques, composition, post-processing), and provide guidance to help you grow as a photographer and storyteller.
During the tour, we will talk about the key elements of composition, spacing and separation, and have optional image review sessions at night. After the tour, there will be follow up one-on-one sessions to help you choose and edit your favorite images from the tour.
Our policy is simple: ask us anything at anytime about gear, technique, strategy, composition, post-processing and beyond. We are here to help you!
MEET YOUR GUIDES
As a wildlife photographer, traveler, and former World Bank economist, Zac brings a different perspective to wildlife conservation. He founded the Wildlife Collective to help others become better wildlife photographers and to use their voice for conservation. With leadership roles in several conservation organizations, Zac knows first hand that working together with like-minded individuals can make a difference. A certified guide and bear lover, Zac hopes to entertain you with stories from the wild, inspire you to get involved in conservation, and to become the best wildlife photographer you can be.
Kate & Adam Rice
Award-winning photographers, conservationist, and amazing humans, Kate and Adam join us in co-hosting this tour. They currently split their time between Alaska and the Yellowstone areas, which enables them to provide unique opportunities for others to experience and photograph wildlife. Their goal is for each guest to have an adventure that will never be forgotten. They work hard to achieve each guest’s photography goals while sharing their knowledge of wildlife.
The tour departs from either Kenai or Homer, Alaska. Please plan to arrive one day before our tour officially starts. Each itinerary is dependent upon the tide schedule and is subject to change based on weather.
Arrive in Kenai or Homer, Alaska
You will stay at a local accommodation (not included). Arriving a day early ensures you will not miss the flight to the lodge.
Flight from Kenai or Homer to the lodge
Settle into your comfortable accommodations, grab a bite to eat, and stroll the grounds of this historic location before heading out for our first bear viewing adventure.
Bears Bears Bears
Wake up to a freshly prepared breakfast before heading out to photograph bears. We may stop by a nearby island to photograph puffins, walk to a nearby kittiwake rookery, or photograph eagles right at the lodge between each bear photography excursion. We will either eat lunch at the lodge or bring it with us on our excursion and return to the lodge each night to a freshly prepared dinner.
Enjoy a hearty breakfast before departing for your return flight to Kenai/Homer.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How many brown bears will I see?
We typically see beween 20-30 brown bears each day.
What other wildlife will I see?
Puffins! We will photograph a colony or horned puffins, as well as eagles, murres, pigeon guillemots, kittiwakes, and an array of captivating species.
How do I get to Kenai or Homer, Alaska?
We are currently working out final details for the flights to the lodge. These will all be from either Kenai or Homer.
Commercial flights are available all the way to both Kenai and Homer. We recommend Grant Aviation as a first choice and Ravn Alaska as a second choice for the Anchorage to Kenai/Homer leg of the flight.
It is also possible to drive or take a bus.
What focal range do you recommend?
Every focal range from 24-600mm can be of value. The wider perspectives are great to showcase thee incredible mountain scenery around the bears. Tighter compositions work great for portraits and for those times when we are further away. There are so many compositional possibilities that have a variety of focal length options will serve you well.
What's the bathroom situation?
This is a historic lodge; therefore, guest rooms do not have private bathrooms. There are multiple bathrooms available and they are shared.
Rest assured, experience has shown that guests have ample access and availability to the bathrooms. Bathrooms are cleaned daily to ensure a pleasant experience.
Will there be cell service or WiFi at the lodge?
Due to our remote location, cell phones don’t usually work unless connected to the internet. Part of the experience is being off the grid. WiFi is available at times when the generator is running, but is not guaranteed.
Send us an email and we’ll be happy to arrange a time to chat through everything with you and answer any questions you may have.
• Flights to/from the lodge from Kenai or Homer (TBD)
• Daily bear photography excursions
• Freshly cooked, locally sourced meals
• Comfortable lodging
• Bear & photography guide
WHAT’s NOT INCLUDED?
• Flights to/from Kenai or Homer (TBD)
• Accommodations before/after the tour
• Lodge staff gratuity
• Travel Insurance (required)
JOIN US FOR A TRIP OF A LIFETIME!
Why Our Photo Tours Are Different
The essence of life lies in its experiences, and it is our unwavering mission to gift you the very best of them. We strive to craft our tours with care and authenticity, making each adventure a vibrant chapter in the story of your life.
All of our tours have a conservation focus. We will learn about the challenges facing our primary subject and ongoing conservation work. Plus, every tour makes a donation to a conservation partner.
We take you to the world’s most amazing wilderness destinations, carefully selected for their unparalleled beauty and chosen based on our commitment to providing guests with the very best wildlife experiences.
We welcome all levels of photography and provide optional photography sessions before, during, and after the tour. With our hands on learning, you are going to leave our tour as a better photographer. Ask us anything at anytime!
We believe that small groups give the best wildlife expereinces. We do not exceed 6 clients per guide, and in most tours, the ratio will be even smaller. This ensures that you get the personalized attention that you deserve.
We work with the world’s best wildlife guides, who also happen to be our good friends. They are experienced, keep us safe, and put us in the best possible position to have the best wildlife experience.