We were very lucky to have been there during the peak of the salmon run. Each year is a little varies between early and late July. If you are too early there are no bear around, and too late they are already done. For the last few years it has been late July. This year, due to the warm weather in Alaska, the salmon run has been early, they started in mid-June and peaks at in mid-July when we were here. We saw many bears at Brooks Falls catching salmon while they are swimming upstream to spawn.
It may look easy, but it is not. And the bear don't normally catch the fish with its mouth, though I'm sure it happens once in a while. Most of the time they catch them with their paws when the fish landed in the shallow and narrow area of the water. The bear can't move around that much up on the top of the fall, he has to balance himself so he doesn't fall. You can imaging the frustration seeing the fish so close but you just can't get it.
CI show just how wet bear willing to get for some fishes.
hats off Way, with this amazing picture, 6 bears "fishing" in the waterfal to try to get salmons. The framing is perfect, the light glorious and taken at the decisive moment when the fish jump. The CI is even more eye catching for the ToM
W.Lim wrote in 2016/01/22 19:04:26: Thank you Claude.
For a large piece of fresh wild salmon, not sure if we wouldn't mind wet feet :-) I have heard that anglers travel far. Great how the bear stands there, actually pretty relaxed, waiting for his meal being "prepared". A pretty comfortable way to get fed. Impressive to see the fish jump up, completely unaware that they might land in the mouth of this huge bear. Fascinating images, Way, not many return with such material.
W.Lim wrote in 2016/01/22 17:59:55: Thanks Barbara,
It is not easy to get to this locations, It takes lot of planning, Rene's job :) and expensive because of many flights to get here. First we flew to Anchorage, to Juneau, to Wild Salmon, and than a little plane that land on water to Katmai National Park. The park only allow so many people per day, there are some cabins you can stay for $600 per night, but it is books for year in advance. You can also camp, reservation is also booked as soon as it becomes available. Rene stayed up till mid-night waiting for the reservation web page to go live. You can do day trip for 4 hours, but the weather has to play along and you have to be at the right time when the fishes are jumping. between two weeks time in June and July. Some years they are early or later.
I just clicked on Katmai National Park on your location and found four other images of this trip. When I noticed that every one has a golden spot I counted the number of favourites given. Not including this image you have 16 favourites!! That is impressive. Each of your five posted images has a CI so we can see you have at least ten fantastic wildlife images from this trip. Some people would be glad to come away with one good image. Absolutely top work Way.
This is perfect for the theme as all the bears are wet (and the salmon! 😛) The timing is perfect to capture no less than six salmon trying to jump the waterfall...an impressive feat.
You should put them all together in a theme or travelogue as not everyone will think to click on the location like I did.
Btw I once watched a documentary about the grizzlies fishing the salmon run and learned there is a hierarchy. It showed a mother with cubs having to keep out of the way until the bears higher up the hierarchy had eaten their fill.
W.Lim wrote in 2016/01/22 19:03:44: Yes, there is a hierarchy, You see the one in dark brown halfway submerged in the water, he is the highest. he catches lots of fishes in that spot. it seem he goes down and half the time he comes up with a fish. someone else will take that spot when he left, but soon as he come back, whoever is there will step away.
We never see mama bear with cubs near the falls, too dangerous. Mama bear are more concern about adult bears than any other predators, other predators are not as strong, and she can easily fight them off, but to fight with an adult male bears, she has little chance so she stays out of the way. The other danger are wolfs since they work in pack and she can be distracted by one and the other swoops in.
Clearly, both images are very wet but it can't quite top the Yellowstone pool. I can see why you chose the primary image with the sun highlighting the brownie's coat but in the CI, the eager expression on face of the bear below the falls is just priceless, I love it. He looks like he's begging grandma for cookies. HLJ, Patricia
C'est vraiment de la chance que tu sois là juste au bon moment pour prendre cette merveilleuse photo. Les ours en bas des chutes ont surement plus de chances d'attraper du poisson. Excellente présentation dans un bel éclairage.
I am a lover of nature documentaries and this is one of the most beautiful scenes I appreciate. First because these bears remind my Japanese dog akita called Mila and secondly I like to see the animals feeding on and I'm always beside the Mila to see her eating and she eats better when I'm around. Great time there and a valuable shot catching the fish jumping in the midst of so many cute bears. Live the teles too to reach them.(haha..)
The other PF friends already have said all here. So I want to congratulate you for this captivating and fascinating photos! A great and - including the informative note- exemplary contribution!
Greetings from cool, grey and wet Germany! Have a nice week!
There two shots are as fascinating as the photos which you have shown us earlier from this NP. Both have their own merits. While the main photo shows a wider view of the falls and more bears, the CI is a wonderful close-up of one bear with his attentive expression. An excellent contribution to the theme!
This is an excellent image. The color, the sharpness and framing are exquisite and the salmon in mid air just complete the photo. It definitely goes in my choices for the ToM.
This type pictures see almost never, what a pleasant moment.
Congratulations for your patience to wait when we see the fish and the bears together.
I like ypur picture made in perfect quality.
very well done.
This is absolutely sensational! Six bears and 6 salmons!!!! This is like winning the Power Ball with 1.2 billion Dollars ....
What a dream moment this must have been. I am not quite sure if I would have been calm enough to have the right settings on my camera and craft this shot. The shot is unbelievable.
I read through your note and all of your replies. Even if, inspired by this shot, I decide to follow your tracks I certainly never would come back with something even close to this. Ivy jaw is not the floor!
Thanks for the golden nugget. You are modest. I'm sure you come back with different and amazing photos. You have enough time to compose yourself to make ton of good shots. Because these bear are not going anywhere fast until they are stuff and ready for a nap. Some of the bears are more shy or protective of their food, after they caught a salmon, they would go and eat in the bushes and come back to fish again.
There are lot bears around, but not all with in view, the most I had in one shot are 9 bears. As for the fishes, it's hard to plan for it, you just take as many shots. There some guy who had his camera set on a timer to take a shot every one minutes.
I was not as persistent and not as patience. Sometimes I just sat there and enjoy the view too instead of just shooting away.
I come a bit late, but this shot is very good: the light, the composition, the good readability of the shots with the bears, the fishes and the falls.
Everything is at the right place and this one shot is telling a full story.
It is the kind of shot when you are seeing it, you only wish to have been there.