Rebecca Wilks

Rebecca Wilks; Photographer, Teacher, Yarnellian, Do-Gooder

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Hey, Bear

That's  the suggested phrase, to be intoned in an authoritative voice, when a bear seems to be coming too close.  I have to say that once I saw the claws, teeth, and running speed of the Coastal Brown Bear (which is a well-fed and therefore larger Grizzly), my personal space with regard to the bears got a whole lot larger.

Fortunately, they're occupied with fishing for salmon; putting on weight for the coming winter.  They're not too interested in us.

We were, however, fascinated with them.  Four of us flew (I'm in love with float planes) each day to sometimes isolated places in Katmai National Park to photograph the majestic animals.  We were accompanied by an Alaskan Guide as well as our leader, pro photographer and bear expert Stan Cunningham.  The pilots didn't count, since they left us on the lake's beach and took off.

I'm guessing we saw 100 or so individual bears over four days.  In addition to being decidedly beautiful, they have easily distinguished personalities and complex social hierarchies. That is, they're interesting to watch.

There were some other fabulous opportunities as well, including images of eagles and osprey in flight, and an elk cow dropping a calf at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.

Alaska has gotten under my skin.

Hey, Bear.

More images are on the website.

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