Grizzly Bear Photographs
During the summer of 2021, Joannie and I had an amazing opportunity to capture grizzly bear photographs at the world-famous Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska!
It Was Like Being On National Geographic!
I remember as a kid seeing something either on TV or in National Geographic about the grizzly bears at Brooks Falls and that always stuck with me as one of those “bucket list” things I’d love to do.
Well, I can tell you that this experience was definitely worth the wait! This was a truly incredible adventure for both of us to witness!
We captured literally hundreds of photographs and videos, and that was just with our iPhones! In addition, I took well over 1,000 brown bear photographs and video clips in four-and-a-half hours with my Canon R5 too!
Where Is Brooks Falls in Alaska?
Brooks Falls is a waterfall that’s located within the boundaries of Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska headquartered at Brooks Camp. It’s on the Brooks River, about a mile and a half downstream from Brooks Lake and about an equal distance upstream from Naknek Lake.
Brooks Falls is world-famous for watching brown bears catching salmon as the fish attempt to leap over the 6-foot waterfall to get back to their Brooks Lake spawning grounds. I’d seen many cool grizzly bear photographs taken there and I wanted to capture my very own! And I am very pleased to say that I did just that!
Every year, large numbers of brown bears congregate to catch these salmon at Brooks Falls from July through early September. July has the greatest concentrations of bears of any month at the falls. At times, up to 25 bears have been seen at one time at Brooks Falls in July. At one point, Joannie and I counted 20! Later on, in September, a smaller number of bears can be seen at the falls to feast on the final salmon runs.
Getting to Brooks Falls
Brooks Falls is located 168 miles from Homer, Alaska. Homer was the town where Joannie and I concluded our amazing Alaska Photography Tour. There are no roads that take you to Brooks Falls. The only way to visit is to take a boat or take a floatplane. Joannie and I chose the latter.
I did a lot of research about viewing brown bears in Alaska. During my research, I found that there are actually several good locations to see them too. Since I’d always wanted to take photos of grizzly bears catching salmon at Brooks Falls, and we would happen to be there when the salmon run was supposed to be at its peak, Brooks Falls was the spot!
My careful research led me to Bald Mountain Air Service in Homer, Alaska.
Safety First at Bald Mountain Air Service!
What I like most about Bald Mountain Air Service was that they fly the “Rolls Royce” of Alaskan bush planes, DeHavilland Otters. Their DeHavilland Otters have been converted to the latest Turbine power, the most dependable engines installed in any aircraft.
Since Joannie isn’t too crazy about flying in a small plane, to begin with, I wanted to go with the safest aircraft that I could. So that’s why I chose Bald Mountain Air Service. That, and the fact that they fly to Brooks Falls at the peak of the salmon run really upped the odds of capturing some amazing brown bear photographs! And we certainly did just that!
Our pilot, Ricky, is a really great guy! Very friendly, easy-going, and knowledgeable about the plane, Brooks Falls, and about the brown bears too. I got the opportunity to fly back to Homer in the co-pilot seat and that was pretty cool!
Brown Bears in Alaska
The grizzly bear is also known as the North American brown bear or simply “grizzly”. It is part of a population or subspecies of the brown bear inhabiting parts of North America. According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Alaska has an estimated 30,000 brown bears statewide.
Brown and grizzly bears are classified as the same species, Ursus arctos. The brown bears on Kodiak Island are classified as distinct subspecies from those on mainland Alaska because they are genetically and physically isolated.
The term “brown bear” usually refers to bears found in the coastal areas, and the brown bears found inland and in northern habitats are often called “grizzlies”. Just like black bears do, brown bears can vary a lot in color. Both brown and grizzly bears can range from dark brown to light blonde in color.
Brown bears are much larger than black bears and have a prominent shoulder hump, less prominent ears, with longer and straighter claws. Both the shoulder hump and the long claws are adaptations related to feeding. The long claws are useful in digging for roots or excavating burrows of small mammals. The musculature and bone structure of the hump are adaptations for digging and for sprinting to capture moose or caribou for food. Despite their size, brown and grizzly bears are surprisingly fast and agile. They can run up to 30 miles per hour in short bursts!
These Guys Are Big!
Both brown and grizzly bear’s weight varies with the season. All bears weigh the least amount in the springtime and early summer. They begin to gain weight very rapidly during the late summer and fall and are just plain fat just prior to denning. At this time most mature males weigh between 500 and 900 lbs with extremely large individuals easily weighing as much as 1,400 lbs or more! Females weigh half to three-quarters as much.
What Brown Bears Like To Eat
Besides salmon, brown bears eat a variety of foods including clams, berries, grasses, sedges, horsetails, cow parsnips, ground squirrels, and the roots of many kinds of plants. Brown bears are also very capable predators of newborn moose and caribou, and can also kill and eat adults of these species too. All bears will also consume garbage found in human dumps, as well as all types of carrion.
Brown bears are found throughout much of Alaska. Except for breeding pairs and females with offspring, bears are typically solitary creatures and avoid the company of other bears. The big exception is where food sources are concentrated such as at rivers and streams, like Brooks Falls, where bears can gorge themselves on salmon swimming upstream to spawn.
Grizzly Bear Photographs for Sale
We’ve got a grizzly bear photo gallery for you to view and enjoy. Please check it out if you’re looking for a cool gift for your loved ones (or yourself). These brown bear photos will make great Christmas gifts, wonderful birthday presents, or just as a gift to yourself!
To protect from unauthorized copying, each of our grizzly bear pictures in the online gallery is displayed in low resolution and has a large watermark across them, your brown bear gift prints will be printed from the high-resolution files will just have our logo, small in the lower corner.
Grizzly Bear Photo Gifts
Our grizzly bear gift prints are available as Metal Prints (our favorite because of how vivid they are), on canvas, or printed on luster paper.
Grizzly Bear Metal Prints “float” off the wall about 3/4 of an inch. These images are heat-pressed onto aluminum and come with a high-gloss finish.
Grizzly Bear Canvas Prints are wrapped on a wooden frame. Both metal and canvas prints do not require frames, although we can frame them for you in a cool floating frame as an upgrade. Please contact us to discuss that option.
Any Grizzly Bear photograph on luster paper larger than 8×10 inches will be mounted on an acid-free mounting board to keep it nice and smooth in a frame.
Below is the link to our Grizzly Bear Photography Gallery. As always, please contact us if you have any questions. Enjoy our grizzly bear photos, and thank you for visiting our website!
Below, is a link to a video on our Youtube channel. It’s filled with great images and video clips from our Alaska Photography Tour with brown bears It’s pretty cool, so check it out!