7-day GOLD Photo Tours — Tips, Options & Itinerary

Includes: 

Anchorage pickup/dropoff at your hotel

7 days land/air/boat wildlife excursions

6 nights lodging and meals (excl. snacks)

Flight to secluded bear camp, 3 days/2 nights

Brooks Falls or similar wildlife excursions

Marine mammals/fjords cruise, Kenai Fjords NP

Helicopter flightseeing glacier/fjords tour

                    FREE 80+ pg APA “Mobile College of Alaska Knowledge” 

                          (packed w/detailed photo tips, Alaska natural history & wildlife info)     

 

Below are the activities and rough time frames you can expect. Order of activities may change due to weather and other logistics. Additional tour options are available (scroll down below Tour Itinerary)

Weather can crunch time. There are flex days built into every tour can sometimes make all the difference between getting the shots you want. Especially in Alaska, more time is your greatest ally and excellent “insurance”.

Main Advantages of the 7-day tours

1) Flexibility to stay longer with bears and wildlife, without having to return to Anchorage.

2) Ability to change order of activities and/or add extra days with the wildlife, depending on group wishes, weather, flights, etc.

3) More time to visit other wildlife hotspots in Lake Clark, Katmai or the Kenai Peninsula

4) Time to return to spots in Anchorage, Kenai Peninsula or elsewhere that weather may have shortened or prevented, or if animals weren’t cooperating

 

Generic Tour Itinerary

DAY -1 or -2:  Arrival in Anchorage

You should arrive at least a day or two before (and after) this tour date begins. This way you can leave room for weather delays before or after your tour, plus get acclimated and decompress in your hotel or around Anchorage

DAY 1: Pick up at your hotel in Anchorage, land wildlife tour, drive to Seward, fjord flightsee

Pickup between 8-9AM.  We spend a few hours at wildlife spots around Anchorage before heading south to the Kenai Peninsula. Possibilities include moose, bear, dall sheep, bald eagles, otters, beaver, trumpeter swans, loons, beluga whales cranes, etc.  Lunch will probably be in Anchorage; dinner/overnight in Seward.

DAY 2: Kenai Fjords National Park marine mammal/bird boat cruise, Helicopter flightseeing and/or Dogsled adventure on a glacier

Today you will have an unforgettable marine mammal boat tour in the morning (whales, puffins, sea otters, etc.) and a helicopter flightsee (and/or optional dogsled adventure) on a nearby glacier. It is a GORGEOUS cruise and flightsee over Resurrection Bay — some of the most beautiful glaciers and fjords in the world! From Seward, we drive through the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge to Soldotna for the night.

DAY 3 & 4: Flight to Bear Camp, Brown Bear Photography

A ~45 minute flight to overnight bear lodge. Landing either on a sandy beach or on water, we’ll spend 1-3 days shooting and enjoying the trust, beauty and company of the famous brown bears in Lake Clark and Katmai National Parks.

We have different bear locations and charters that we work with, as a redundancy in case one is inaccessible, full (we know way in advance), or weather delays at the last minute. Lodges are  very comfortable with double/queen beds, bathrooms, hot water, electricity (usually), boardwalks/decks with views of tide flats, a lake and/or ocean.

After you get settled, you’ll be accompanied by 1-3 highly trained guides as we watch and photograph brown bears in supreme natural Alaskan settings. We are very familiar with the bears here and you will have spine tingling experiences in a safe setting. We may use boats, planes, ATVs or a short hike to go to the prime spots (sometimes they are right outside your door).  Depending on light and weather, we’ll again go out in beautiful, ever-lasting evening light, looking for animals or great scenics.

Days 4-5: Mid-morning flightsee and/or trip to Brooks Falls, /return, land wildlife tour around Kenai Peninsula, return

Flex day built in here, depending on weather and whether (no pun intended) we want to do any missed activities earlier.

Flight to world famous Brooks Lodge on Naknek Lake, Katmai Nat’l Park to watch the iconic brown bears catching sockeye salmon. There are usually anywhere from 10-40 bears along the river, where you can watch and photograph safely from elevated walkways and platforms.  We leave in morning from the lodge (or mainland in some cases) and return to lodge in early evening.

Your guide will accompany you the entire day. At Brooks, you’ll sometimes be required to watch an orientation video, though many times the park rangers know us (Ron has been an NPS/USFWS ranger) and let us go right to the falls, giving you the orientation beforehand and along the way.You’ll spend the day at Brooks filling your SD cards and getting classic bear-salmon shots, as well as bear-bear arguments and bear-cub interactions, sometimes at VERY close range! At the end

DAY 6: Catch-up day: Another bear or wildlife day if we started our bear camp on day 4 instead of 3 earlier. Or a chance to return to land wildlife spots on the Kenai Peninsula, and/or possible fjords flights or boat tour in Seward, if missed due to weather or other logistics. We have far too many photo opportunities to cram into a 7-day tour, so this day is great for finding animals in hotspots we couldn’t do earlier.

Day 7: Another catch-up/flex day we use instead of one of the other days for bear camps or helicopter aerials. This is a day divided between a short wildlife land tours and return to Anchorage in the evening.

We will work our way after breakfast around the peninsula and eventually back to Anchorage in the evening for dinner. Option to revisit spots we may not have had time for on Day 1. Option also to spend time at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC), where you can see/photograph every major Alaskan mammal outdoors in natural surroundings, sometimes very close up, including musk ox, lynx, bison, etc.

At our farewell dinner, we’ll reminisce, share some photos, and wish you our very best before dropping you off at your choice of lodging (reminder: this night’s lodging is not included in your tour price). We will sincerely wish to see you again and hope that you have a great time in this great land!

Tour Options

Here are some (not all) activities you can add or substitute for included activities (prices listed are for adding to existing activities). Contact us for logistics and prices if you wish to substitute instead:

1) Wildlife float trip down the upper Kenai river ($100-200 option depending on length)

2) Dogsled ride on a remote glacier. A great add-on, but very weather dependent, as the glacier is nestled in a relatively low elevation bowl. Fog and low clouds are common, which sometimes delays or prevents flights. ($250-595)

4) Zip-lining among old growth forests in Chugach National Forest. This option can also be combined with the boat cruises, rafting or Kenai river float trips. ($150-200)

5) A second or longer helicopter flight to see wildlife or do a glacier landing. ($250-550)

6) Short hikes to glaciers or landscape shots that aren’t normally included but available

7) Other options we can customize for you depending on your requests.

(Note: If one or more participants want to stay longer without returning with the group to Anchorage on Day 7, we can make arrangements for additional lodging, or give you suggestions for other locations/activities. You’re not obligated to return to Anchorage with the rest of the group.)

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