Grizzly Bears of Alaska Photography Workshop
Alaska Grizzy Bears Photography Workshop
Few animals in the terrestrial animal kingdom possess the presence, power and sheer awe of the Grizzly Bear. Since humankind and Grizzly Bears first shared the same hunting grounds, humans have regarded the Grizzly with a deep and innate respect. Revered and admired not only for its skill as a hunter and survivor, the Grizzly was also seen as a kindred spirit sharing many of the same communal traits and characteristics valued in human societies. Little has changed over time. To see and photograph a wild grizzly bear surrounded by the natural and isolated beauty that is Alaska is a treasured experience never to be forgotten. Join Aperture Academy on a unique and truly wild experience as we get you and your camera up close and personal with the Grizzly Bears of Alaska.
Timing and Mindset
We have strategically scheduled this workshop to coincide with the annual salmon runs at Lake Clark National Park. As a result, Grizzly Bears are plentiful. People are not. In fact, the lodge and surrounding land is privately owned. You will not be struggling for position with throngs of tourists like in other well known bear congregation areas found in Alaska. If you appreciate peace and solitude while utterly encompassed in Alaska's natural bounty, then this is the place for you. Fantastic opportunities to photograph bears as they fish for salmon, dig for clams, forage on grasses as well as cubs nursing, running and playing are high.
Furthermore, at this time of year in Alaska, the daylight hours are long, very long. It's not uncommon to spend 12 hours in the field shooting, especially if the action is nonstop. Rest assured, we are there to put you in the right place at the right time with the best light possible. We will be working alongside you, guiding and advising you on wildlife technique, equipment, settings, exposure and composition as much or as little as you desire. You are the client and this is something we never forget. However, This is not the workshop for you if you are only interested in a few quick snap shots and then retiring to the lodge. Our goal is to get you professional quality images worthy of publication or gallery quality prints and that often takes concentration, patience, and plenty of field time.
- Day 1 - Our adventure will begin in Anchorage, Alaska where we will meet our chartered plane in the morning and begin our short flight to our comfortable lodge located within the beautiful Lake Clark National Park. First established in 1980 to protect the vast scenic beauty (volcanoes, glaciers, rushing rivers, spectacular waterfalls, and vast assemblages of marine and terrestrial wildlife), Lake Clark National Park and Preserve provides an unparalleled wilderness experience. In fact, there are no roads to the lodge. It is only accessible by air or sea. Due to the heavy concentration of bears during this time of year, its highly likely we'll see our first Grizzlies before we even land the plane. After our orientation over a hearty lunch, we'll prepare our gear and head out into the field in search of our first Grizzlies. We will use ATV's and highly experienced local guides to seek out our exciting subject matter. Although the terrain is expansive and the bears tend to spread out, in all likelihood, we won't have to search long. Once located, we will safely approach our subjects on foot. Both your guide and photography instructor have worked extensively with Grizzly Bears and will utilize their knowledge and experience to maintain an optimal working distance that ensures both safety for bears and people as well as outstanding imagery. With the exception of timely breaks for wonderful home cooked meals and a bit of rest time, our day will be devoted to seeking out amazing Grizzly Bear imagery.
- Day 2 & 3 - A continuation of the theme, with some flexibility due to weather and the tides. We will be working to get you professional quality images of not only the Grizzly Bears (for which there will be plenty of opportunities) but also other wildlife we happen to come across.
We will also keep an eye out for various marine mammals including whales and dolphins that frequently inhabit the local waters, eagles and other bird species (such as Puffins), and if we're lucky, wolves, black bears, fox and other predators. Depending on shooting conditions, we will most likely take a break at some point in the day. As mentioned, summer daylight hours in Alaska are long (18 hours plus). The home cooked food is phenomenal, plentiful and not to be missed. Local, fresh ingredients (fresh salmon, halibut and other seafood, home grown vegetables, fresh berry pies, homemade breads, cookies and muffins etc..) are often a central focus for the meals. During downtime, aside from relaxation, time will always be allocated for image review, critique and Photoshop post processing techniques to bring out best in your images.
- Day 4 - We will continue photographing the Bears during the extended morning hours and wrap up with a hearty brunch back at the lodge. Our charter plane is scheduled for a late morning pickup, weather permitting and transport us back to Anchorage. Although the workshop will officially end once back in Anchorage, we highly encourage you to explore more of Alaska if you have the time. Alaska is a magnificent state with so much to offer the nature and photo enthusiast. Anchorage is a great starting place.
Travel and Lodging
We will be staying on-location in semi-rustic but very comfortable lodging. Double occupancy rooms. Although we are located in the remote Alaskan wilderness, it doesn't mean we have to rough it. Modern conveniences are always available. Hot showers, wood burning stoves, full bathrooms, a sauna, full kitchen facilities, comfortable meeting rooms, electricity via generator, digital projectors, power outlets for charging, etc.. Best of all, the scenery outside our doors is truly spectacular. We are in the middle of wild Alaska. Bears and Bald Eagles are our neighbors, not people.
Meet Our Workshop Master Instructors...
Meet our master instructors and learn what qualifies them to give you a great experience during your workshops! While you're joining us, you will receive comprehensive digital photography instruction and tutoring by our team of award-winning photographers.
→ Scott Donschikowski
Scott Donschikowski is a professional photographer, speaker and instructor of photographic arts and digital darkroom techniques. He is a master of the digital workflow, is an Adobe Certified Expert and has taught and lectured all over California about the benefits of becoming proficient in the digital darkroom.
Scott is a versatile photographer, specializing in architecture, lifestyle and landscapes but also having completed work in weddings, editorials, events and product photography. He has worked extensively covering events for the City of San Jose and has contracted his work out to a number of local businesses providing them with his own unique style of photographic imagery.
A tech geek at heart, when Scott is not out taking pictures in his native California, he spends his time writing for numerous blogs, maintaining several websites, reviewing photography gear, and refining his digital darkroom craft. He is also an avid astrophotographer and when the available light runs out, he brings out his telescope and captures images of the heavens above.
Note: In the event a scheduled instructor for a particular workshop is unavailable, a replacement instructor will be scheduled.
While we make every effort, there is no guarantee that the assigned instructors for a scheduled workshop will be present.
Accommodations are comfortable, scenic and rustic - our lodge is located within the beautiful Lake Clark National Park. First established in 1980 to
protect the vast scenic beauty (volcanoes, glaciers, rushing rivers, spectacular waterfalls, and vast assemblages of marine and terrestrial wildlife),
Lake Clark National Park and Preserve provides an unparalleled wilderness experience. In fact, there are no roads to the lodge. It is only accessible by air or sea.
What kind of accommodations will we be staying at?
The weather is coastal which means rain can be likely during your stay so pack accordingly although
we do experience many days of sunshine. Temperatures are typically in the 50's and 60's and sudden changes,
including winds, are common. Bring layered clothing.
What will the weather be like?
→ Because you will be transported to the lodge in small aircraft, we ask that you limit
your gear to 50 pounds. If this is difficult for you for any reason, call us and we can make other
arrangements, such as shipping gear ahead of time. There may be extra charges if excessive
gear results in additional plane trips or additional baggage charges from our charter carriers.
Are there restrictions on the amount of baggage to bring?
→ Yes. Knee boots are highly recommended. A variety of knee boot sizes will be available unless your foot size is 14, or larger.
Are boots necessary?
→ 3-meals a day are cooked by the resident chef along with home-made breads and desserts.
The menu features local seafood, chicken, beef as well as fresh greens and herbs from the garden.
Guests dine "family style" in a comfortable dining room with spectacular views. It is not uncommon for a
bear to appear on the meadow in front of the lodge during dinnertime, completing the ultimate Alaska dining experience.
What kind of food will we be eating?
Meal times are flexible to accommodate guests many activities at the lodge. Special dietary requirements should be discussed with the lodge staff before your trip or with the chef upon your arrival.
→ YES! We recommend purchasing travel insurance to cover any non-refundable registration fees, travel, lodging,
equipment rental or any other related expenses.
Do you recommend trip insurance?
Can we bring our own alcohol beverages?
→ Always feel free to contact us here at the gallery. We'll do our best to answer all your questions.
I've got a bunch of questions. Who should I contact?
Workshop Price and Deposit
The workshop fee is $4595. A $1500 non-refundable deposit is required to secure your space. On Feb 1st, 2023 the balance will be due. Due to the exclusivity of this trip, and the limited number of seats available, refunds are as follows:
- 100% refundable: 150 days (five months) or greater (not including deposit)
- No refund within 149 days or less of the start date
- Seats are transferrable
Please Note: Returning students discounts are not applicable to Sojourn Series workshops.
What is/isn't included?
What is Included:
- Roundtrip charter Airfare from Anchorage to Lake Clark National Park
- All lodging and food during the workshop
- All Photography and Photoshop Instruction
- All Guide and Instructor Services
What is NOT included:
- Food and Lodging in Anchorage
- Alcoholic Beverages (but you are welcome to bring your own)
- Photographic and personal equipment/gear
- Local guide gratuities
- Travel Insurance
Photos and Comments from Past Customers
I've been to Alaska several times and this workshop was not only the best four days I have spent in Alaska, it was the best four days I have experienced in 56 years. We had such an entertaining group that embraced the initial travel challenges. Brian was a perfect leader for our group and I can't imagine a better guide than Dave. The lodge was far above expectations and the staff was extraordinarily friendly and attentive. I can't wait to get back!
I enjoyed every minute of the workshop! Wayde is a wonderful instructor, and one of the nicest people I've met in my life. Silver Salmon Creek Lodge is fantastic. The owners are amazing people, so hard-working. I loved my workshop-mates, and hope to shoot photos with all of them in the future because they were all fun. I attribute that to Aperture Academy. Your program attracts the kind of people with whom I like to spend my free time. I'll be back, again.
Once again, it was the trip of a life time. Thank you Aperture Academy. I hope there will be many more workshops to come just like this one. You guys ROCK!!!
Wayde did a fantastic job teaching everyone in the group, esp with the different levels of experience they had. No question was to simple or difficult for him to address. He let my artistic side have its way while keeping me on track with the technical side I was struggling with. Very fun workshop, wish I lived closer so I could take more.