Coastal Grizzlies of Lake Clark

5 Days - Anchorage, AK
Aug 5 - Aug 9, 2023
Activity Level
Skill Level
All Levels

$6,295.00

Registration deadline: June 1, 2023

Only 3 Seats Left

Pay a deposit of $1,000.00 per item
Remote, rugged, beautiful, and wild are a few words to describe one of Alaska’s most beautiful national parks, Lake Clark.  Along the shores of western Cook Inlet with sand and crashing waves below the towering peaks of the Alaska Range is one of the most popular and sought-after wildlife subjects, coastal grizzly bears free roaming in their natural habitat.   Thanks to a delicate balance of cooperative visitor management and limited access one can safely photograph these amazing omnivores in the comfort and safety of a full-service remote lodge reachable only by bush plane.   Bear viewing is increasing in popularity and space at remote bear viewing venues is limited.  Join  Alaska photography expert Michael DeYoung, a 34-year professional, for this unique opportunity to safely photograph coastal grizzly bears in a majestic mountainous coastal setting.

 

Our trip kicks off in Anchorage with an afternoon initial critique and image share followed by a detailed orientation about what to expect and how to best capture action images of bears in varied Alaska light and conditions.  Orientation will be followed by a welcome group dinner.  The next morning we venture off the road system into real Alaska wilderness.  A team of Alaska experts is there for you every step of the way starting with our bush pilots.   Our flight in small planes takes us across Cook Inlet below the towering volcanos of the Alaska Range and lands on a beach in front of Silver Salmon Creek Lodge.

 

Upon arrival, the excellent lodge staff takes care of all our needs.  They will transfer us and our luggage to our shared cozy cabins with private baths and then on to an orientation.  The lodge kitchen staff prepares excellent gourmet meals served family style.   The seasoned and knowledgeable bear guides will be very familiar with the movement of the local bear population.   Riding in padded trailers behind ATVs our guides will take us to the best possible bear activity at that time.  From there, Michael will coach and guide you with lighting, design, and moving subject techniques to maximize action and environmental portrait photography of bears and the landscape.  If the weather cooperates, we should see amazing sunrises on the beach and magical low-angle Alaska light on the landscape and any photographable bears.

 

All good things have to come to an end.  After nearly 3 full days immersed in our wilderness landscape and free-roaming bears (sometimes wandering through the lodge grounds), we will photograph one last sunrise before breakfast and transfer back to the beach for our return flight back to Anchorage.  We return to Anchorage around mid-day where our workshop comes to an untimely end.  Please see the notes below.  We encourage participants to NOT schedule a commercial flight home on the same day we arrive back from Silver Salmon Creek Lodge.

Some special notes about this workshop.

 

Number of Bears:  The bears here are truly wild and their numbers and presence depend on factors beyond anyone’s control.  There is no guarantee that we will see and photograph bears but based on decades of history, some bears are almost always there and approachable.  Our visit is timed for a coho salmon run in the aptly named Silver Salmon Creek which attracts and keeps bears in the area.  The timing of the runs can vary and affect the presence of bears.  In the recent past, we have seen 6 bears at once at low tide on the beach or in lush green meadows and other times have seen no bears all afternoon.  While there is a very high likelihood of seeing and photographing bears at close range there is simply no guarantee.

 

Varied habitats:  One of the things I like most about this location is the variety of backgrounds and habitats for photographing bears.  The beach is amazing and can have 2 different moods and looks on the same day.  Nothing beats a calm low tide with warm morning light as a backdrop for bears.  At other times, the same beach can be moody with crashing waves and an ominous stormy look.  A few hundred feet away from the beach are lush green meadows backdropped by Sitka spruce forest and in season, strewn with wildflowers.  Bears graze on beach greens in between the sand and meadows.  If fish are running there is the creek itself that can provide the excitement of splashing water backdrops.

 

Delays:  Simply put, mother nature is in charge, and on rare occasions, the weather shuts down all flying and people get stranded at the lodge or stuck in Anchorage (if scheduled to head out to the lodge) until the weather allows for safe flying again.  This is just part of the Alaska experience.  Participants should NOT schedule their return flights home the same day we are scheduled to return home from Silver Salmon Creek Lodge.  In fact, staying an extra day is encouraged to explore on your own since you’ve come this far.

 

We are not alone.  Sometimes there are other groups working the same bear or bears we are on and sometimes we are the only group on a specific bear.  Other groups are either from Silver Salmon Creek Lodge, from the Alaska Homestead Lodge which is 1/4 mile away with the same owners, and from day bear viewers and even private parties who have their own plane.  The crowds are nowhere near what one would see at a bear sighting at Yellowstone.  There has been consistent cooperation among groups with respect for bears and their space.

 

Weather.  This is coastal Alaska that was recently (in geologic time) covered with glaciers.  Continued plant succession means rainforest trees, Sitka spruce, will eventually dominate this area.   Long story short, this is a wet place.  The bears don’t care and they do what bears do despite the rain.  In fact, bear activity decreases on hot sunny days as bears retreat to the forest for comfort for much of the day.  Cool, cloudy days see more activity and generally result in better bear photography.  Be prepared for wet, cold, and windy conditions.  You will be riding in open trailers and need rain protection for you and your camera gear.  Winds can be brutal along the beach but that also creates some very moody crashing waves for a backdrop against bears cruising the beach.  The lodge is rarely more than 30 minutes away and is always warm and dry.

Workshop includes:

  • Photographic instruction & image critique
  • 2 Nights Lodging at Anchorage Hotel*
  • 3 Nights Lodging at Silver Salmon Creek Lodge (shared cabins only)
  • All meals and beverages at Silver Salmon Creek Lodge
  • Group dinner in Anchorage
  • Pre-workshop webinar
  • Post-workshop critique

 

*Lodging on the last day of the workshop has been included in your workshop fee in the event of flight delays leaving Silver Salmon Creek Lodge due to weather.  Travel home should not be scheduled until the following day, August 10th.


Please be aware that shooting locations stated in this itinerary may change. Each day we will determine which locations are best based on light and weather conditions. We want to give you the best photo opportunities possible.

 

Day One – Saturday, August 5, 2023

  • Meet at Anchorage hotel mid-afternoon for a meet-n-greet, orientation, and image critique.
  • Welcome dinner.

Days Two – Four:  Sunday-Tuesday, August 6 – 8, 2023

  • Guided bear viewing throughout each day.
  • Breaks for lunch, rest, and downloading during mid-day

Day Five – Wednesday, August 9, 2023

  • Last morning at the lodge.  Will pack our gear and head back to Anchorage.
  • Lodging in Anchorage is included in the workshop fee.

Physical Rating:

Participants will be climbing in and out of open-air, padded trailers pulled by ATVs at the various shooting locations.  Due to varied weather conditions, participants should be prepared with rain gear for self and camera.  The lodge has a variety of mud boots available which can be necessary to wear in some of the tidal areas.  Mosquitos may be prevalent so plan accordingly with topical sprays or netting.

Lodging During the Workshop


Courtyard by Marriott
4901 Spenard Rd
Anchorage, AK 99517
Phone: (907) 245-0322

The Courtyard by Marriott hotel will be our departure location for our bear excursion.  Two nights of lodging are included in your workshop fee, for the nights of Saturday, August 5th, and the day the workshop returns to Anchorage on Wednesday, August 9th.  Should you wish for additional nights of lodging, you will need to contact the hotel directly.

 

 

Silver Salmon Creek Lodge
(888) 872-5666

We will be based for 3 nights at the Silver Salmon Creek Lodge.  This lodge has multi-bedroom cabins which require shared lodging.

Michael DeYoung
Photographer
Roberta Lites
Photo Guide

TRAVEL INSURANCE IS RECOMMENDED

There are a number of reputable companies that provide Travel Insurance.  For your convenience, we offer travel protection through TravelEx Insurance Services.  For more information on the available plans or to enroll, go to www.travelexinsurance.com or contact TravelEx Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 03-0147.  Travel Insurance is underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company, NAIC #22276. W20

 

CANCELATION POLICY:  All cancelations must be in writing to info@ahps.org

  • 120 days or more prior to the start of the workshop your deposit will be refunded less $500
  • 91-119 days your workshop fees will be refunded in the form of an AHPS Store Credit Voucher less the $250 administrative fee. The remainder of the fees paid can be used toward a future workshop within 18 months of cancelation. The voucher is good for 18 months.
  • 90 days or less until departure – No refund.

If we are able to fill your seat and the workshop runs at full enrollment we will refund your workshop fees less the $250 processing fee.

 

NOTE:  Workshop bookings including, but are not limited to, outfitters, permit agencies, lodging, and more require firm financial commitments at 90 days.  Therefore, in order to continue to bring you to great destinations, we must strictly adhere to our cancellation policy as outlined above. We recognize cancellations can sometimes be unavoidable which is why securing a Travel Protection Plan is highly encouraged.

 

Arizona Highways PhotoScapes reserves the right to cancel or change any workshop if our minimum enrollment is not met or if situations beyond our control arise that may create unsafe or undesirable travel conditions.  Any cancelation or postponement as a result of situations beyond our control, AHPS does not promise any refunds or credits.  If and when feasible, we will attempt to reschedule the workshop at a later date.  Alternatively, we may decide to issue you credit for a future workshop, or issue a refund, less any non-refundable deposits we have paid to workshop providers on your behalf.

 

Please note that AHPS is not liable for any additional participant expenses incurred such as airfare, hotel accommodations, or any other components booked outside of the workshop.

 

PAYMENT TERMS:  A minimum deposit is due at registration to reserve your space.  Please refer to the specific workshop for the required deposit.  Final payments are due 90 days prior to departure.  Approximately 15 days prior to the due date you will receive a reminder email that your balance is coming due.