Night 4 for me was a bit of a bust from a bear perspective. I chose to go into a single man hide for the night & was quietly confident of some good results. However, it was not to be as the wild brown bear sightings were too far away although there was some amusement as a very large male brown bear approached a nearby hide & the occupants started to panic as they were ‘over lensed’ for the shots & great panic ensued as the bear serenely walked past!
After breakfast, I went out again & took pictures of the Red Squirrels, Woodpeckers, & various other birds that were about so whilst the bears were limited other opportunities were presented.
Night 5 & another new hide. This one being the furthest away from the accommodation so quite a walk. However, we were rewarded with some stunning images of the ‘Old Boy’ at work & play. Indeed, he got so close you could hear him breathing! Again, this was a surreal experience & one to be absorbed without the use of the camera! During this night, Sean was part of our group & in the quiet moments he provided a true Masterclass of light management for all sorts of images. Again, more knowledge gained & better images as a result.
For night 6 & the penultimate night we returned to the same hide as Night 5 with the group & were treated to the most spectacular light of the entire trip.
You have a vision & hope that you can get the classic ‘Backlit Wild Brown Bear’ image & we nailed it! The tutorial by Sean the previous night came in handy as we only had a 5-minute window of perfect light & perfectly positioned brown bear to work in but boy did we work it.
Some of my best images were shot that night. Returning to the accommodation in the morning came the realization that we had one more night left – where had the time gone?
For me, night 7 was a return to the first hide of the trip & it was a slow night. By now we were tired so at midnight I broke out the Horlicks for a nice warm drink. Shortly after that the ‘Old Boy’ walked within 3 meters of our hide & looked straight at us sniffing the air! We were convinced he could smell the Horlicks & wanted to join us as he eventually came within about a meter of where we were sat absolutely transfixed & wondering what to do if he came any closer which thankfully he did not!
That last sighting of the ‘Old Boy’ completed our trip & will remain with me for all time as both scary & exhilarating all in one moment all too quickly passed.
So, after breakfast on the last day a few last shots of the camp & packing the coach we started our return trip via Kajaani, Helsinki & Heathrow. Time to say goodbye to old friends & new friends alike as each departed for home.
It was a long day made even longer for me by Finnair delaying my camera equipment to a following flight but every cloud has a silver lining! This enabled me to meet up with some of our group on that flight for another farewell coffee before I had to pay a late exit fee in my car park & then suffer M3 diversions before I crawled into bed before midnight.
So was the experience of an organised tour worth it – categorically yes! I learned more about photography & post processing from the tour leaders & other members of the trip than I have done in a very long time. I have made some great friends & taken some great images of brown bears in their environment. Whilst the trip was not without its challenges I see those as ‘Nature at Work’ from the human perspective, the gull perspective & those damned Mosquitoes!!
WOULD YOU LIKE TO CAPTURE IMAGES OF THE WILD BROWN BEAR FOR YOURSELF?
For 2018, NaturesLens have already announced a return to photograph the Wild Brown Bears of Finland – the trip has been scheduled to start on June 24 & ending on July 2, 2018.
The Wild Brown Bears of Finland Photography Holiday costs £1099 each participant, this price excludes air travel to Kajaani itself – all ground transportation from Kajaani & back, food, accommodation & guidance/tuition is included.
To hold a place on the trip, we only require a 20% deposit from you, with the balance due 12 weeks prior to the trip taking place.