Just returned from a week on the Katmai coast photographing brown bears. This was a new trip for me this year; I’d not been over to this specific location, or at this time of year, previously.
It was a grand trip; flying out of Kodiak, and spending a week on a boat along the coast, shooting bears in gorgeous soft summer light. My personal photography priority for the trip was bears in the landscape. I also wanted some cool “behavioral” photos, which included bears clamming at low tide, sparring with one another, and even mating. Cool stuff to shoot.
Shooting mid-summer in Alaska requires a great deal of flexibility; if the weather is clear and sunny, the best light (in this area) is at 9:30pm – 11pm, and 5:00am – 6:00am. So by the time we’d get back from a shoot, it might well be after midnight. Getting back up at 4:30am to shoot again is a rough gig. On the other hand, if the skies are overcast, we’d shift to a more routine schedule, and head out around 8am.
Switching back and forth from one schedule to the next, day to day, is hard and extremely tiresome. I slept pretty well when I got home.
And, speaking of getting home, a good tip is to make sure your luggage doesn’t get left on the boat when you fly back to Kodiak – especially if the specific piece of luggage holds your wallet and ID.