Instructional Photo Tours and Workshops
Join professional nature photographer, John Slonina, for a photo tour or photo workshop to some of North America's most beautiful and wild places. We visit several national parks which include Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Great Smoky Mountains, Acadia, Everglades, Mt Rainier, Olympic, Arches, Canyonlands, Big Cypress, Alaska, Katmai and Lake Clark. We lead moose and bear photography workshops, photo classes and photo safari's. We also teach Lightroom and Photoshop.
Our group size is small. All skill levels are welcome from beginner to professional.
Alaska Bear Instructional Photo Tours and Workshops
Alaska Bear Instructional Photo Tours and Workshops
Join us on an Alaska Bear photo tour or photo workshop. This is the ultimate Bear Photography trip. We will fly to numerous locations that have the highest bear density in the world. We will visit sites where the grizzly bears are most active within Katmai and or Lake Clark National Park. This allows us to cover different areas, find the action, and change the backgrounds as needed. This is an incredible opportunity for an adventure that few people will ever experience.
The main goal of this trip is to photograph grizzly bears. We will be photographing numerous bears and beautiful landscapes. We will spend several hours with them in different habitats. We will also look for other wildlife. If the weather conditions permit, we may do a side trip to photograph Walruses.
Bears can move up to 20 miles in one day depending on the tides and where the food is. That is why many people travel to locations and often do not see bears. We will be a short flight to the best bear photography locations in the world.
Do you want to photograph bears chasing salmon in a river and cubs playing with each other with snowcapped mountains in the background? Are you interested in photographing bears as they run through the water and pounce on the migrating salmon? We will go to where the action is. This trip is planned during peak salmon migration season. The bears will be busy feeding on the salmon. We will photograph bears leaping thru the air and grabbing red sockeye salmon.
The guides that will be travel with us have a network where they monitor bear activity at several different sites to make sure we are at the best locations at the best time. We will fly to these locations via floatplanes. Access to this network and the floatplanes ensures that we will be where the action is. The bears at these locations have an abundant access to salmon as a food source and have become habituated with the fishermen and photographers in the area. The bears have learned to live in harmony with other bears and the few people who have the opportunity to visit this remote area. The bears will be within a close range.
In 2017, we had photographed 10-20 bears a day. One location had over 30 bears. The action was non-stop, so you will need to be prepared to photograph thousands of images a day.
This tour begins in Anchorage where we will meet and spend one night. Then we will fly to the beautiful lodge along a lake. Each day, we will fly to some of the top Coastal Grizzly Bear locations in the world.
Safety will be the number one priority. Our tour will include a bear guide from the lodge who has spent many years with the same bears. The bear guide will have bear spray and a firearm (which they have never had to use). All float plane pilots have decades of extensive experience flying in Alaska.
We will be located at a beautiful lakeside lodge on Lake Iliamna. Food all meals (breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner) will be provided by the lodge. Participants will enjoy a nice meal while discussing the highlights of the day and planning for the next day’s adventures.
The goal is to concentrate on photographing the bears in the best possible light. John has been photographing bears for over thirty years. He will be teaching bear behavior so the group can get several action photos of bears fishing, diving for fish, playing, fighting, and family interactions with the mother and cubs.
During the downtime in the lodge, John will be teaching various techniques for post processing, editing with Lightroom and/or Photoshop, and critiquing your images. We will also discuss shooting strategies for the next day.
July 16-22, 2020 (Great Dates for Cubs)
Note: There is an option to extend this trip to include the Kenai Peninsula.
Fitness Level: Participants should be able to walk 1-4 miles (flat) with several stops along the way. They also should be comfortable crossing rivers which can be slippery. The lodge provides waders and boots. Waders allow us to get the best angles for photographing the bears.
Weather: This is Alaska. The weather can change in a second. All events must be tentative and flexible. Safety is the top priority.
Each night after we return and you settle in your cabin, you will wander over to the main lodge where hors d'oeuvres will be waiting. The great room with its panoramic views of Lake Iliamna and Roadhouse Mt is a natural gathering place. Relax, socialize, play pool, check out the Alaskan antiquities or just soak in the view. The chef starts serving a multi-course gourmet dinner. After dinner, we discuss and make plans for the following day. The details are set and everyone knows where they are going. Breakfast and departure times are set. The staff understands that photographers have special needs such as having the ability to stay out late for the best light and being able to bring extra equipment. They also understand how fragile/expensive camera equipment is.
Payment can be made by check to Slonina Photography.
We also accept credit cards thru our online shopping cart.
Floatplane flights from the lodge to field locations
Transportation from Iliamna airport to lodge and back
Food while at the lodge
Use of Waders and Boots
Hands on field and classroom instruction
Accommodations at private cabin across from lodge (Double occupancy Single Occupancy is not available)
Lodging on first night in Anchorage
Transportation to Anchorage
Flight from Anchorage to Iliamna (approx. $470 Round Trip)
Gratuities for lodge staff, guides, pilots, housekeeping, and cooks. One tip includes them all. Approximately $150-250 per person
Day 1: We will meet at the hotel lobby at 5:30pm. We will introduce ourselves, discuss the itinerary and eat dinner.
The hotel runs continuous shuttles so you can just fly into Anchorage and they will pick you up. There is no need to rent a car.
Day 2: After a warm hot breakfast at the hotel, we will leave for the airport to take our flight with Iliamna Airlines. The lodge will provide transportation. When we arrive at the lodge, the lodge staff will greet us. They will immediately fit everyone with waders and boots. Then, we will get settled in the room and go out for our first photo shoot. It will be hard to control the excitement, as you will see the beautiful scenery and bears.
Day 3-6: We will fly to multiple breathtaking landscapes to photograph the bears. We will photograph several bears in different habitats in the Alaskan Wilderness.
Day 7: Last day. We will eat a hearty breakfast and say goodbye to our friends at the lodge. We will fly back to Anchorage for mid-day. We suggest a late day departure in case of any bad weather. Anchorage has many afternoon flights going to and from Iliamna airport.
The exact itinerary will be flexible depending on weather. As the tides, rain and wind can affect our plans. This is true for any tour in Alaska.
If you cancel before 120 days of departure, you will receive a full refund.
If you cancel within 120 days, you will lose the deposit.
If you cancel within 90 days, you will lose the full amount.
If we are able to fill the spot after you cancel, you will receive a full refund.
Please note there are no refunds for delays or cancellations because of flights, weather, or other reasons before arriving on this tour or during this tour. John Slonina or Slonina Photography is not responsible for additional costs that may be incurred by such delays. We recommend that you purchase trip insurance.
We have the right to cancel this tour for lack of registrants up to 180 days prior to workshop date. In the case that we cancel the workshop, your deposit and payments will be returned. However, we do not assume responsibility for any other costs incurred by the customer because of the cancellation.
Who should attend:
Anyone with an interest in photographing bears who has a love of being outdoors and nature.
This is a special trip. It will be limited to 6 participants. It will allow us to work with each participate to provide complete, informative, and helpful lessons. The small group size will be an advantage with approaching wildlife.
On location, John will demonstrate how you can best use your equipment. We will do our best to help you get beautiful professional high dynamic quality images, which will make gorgeous prints on your wall.
Before and after each workshop, we will evaluate each participant’s goals, interests and skills so we can teach techniques that will help each participant. Whether you are a beginner or seasoned professional, we will share techniques that will take your photography to the next level.
John Slonina is a professional nature photographer who has been photographing nature for over 30 years. He has been published in multiple books, magazines, and calendars. He has a love of natural history as well. You will receive education not just in photo technique, but also in the natural world. Understanding the natural world not only increases your appreciation of nature but also helps you become a better nature photographer.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.