Our local bear expert, Johnny Södergård, led our 2018 trip to photograph the wild brown bears of Finland. Johnny is a familiar figure around the Finnish bear centres so our guests couldn't have been in better hands. Furthermore, his lovely partner, Anna Wikén was also on hand to provide additional assistance. The hides are located around three ponds in a marsh area close to the Russian border. There are also hides in the forest, but due to the lack of light, we did not use these hides.
The flight from Helsinki was late arriving into Kajaani, so it was a mad dash to the centre. The weather was warmer than usual with clear skies at night which meant there was more light to shoot with. The group were very lucky because they didn't have to wait long for their first bear sighting. By the end of their first night, they had seen three bears so a great start to the tour!
Our trip is timed to coincide with the phenomenon known as the midnight sun in Finland. As a result, the group benefitted from long hours of light for their photography. Even when the sun went down, it never really got dark.
Over the course of the week, everyone got opportunities to capture classic bear portraits, reflections, atmospheric shots as a result of the mist rising from the pond & also silhouettes. The ponds were like mirrors hence providing opportunities for beautiful reflection shots. The sunset & sunrise painted the sky with glorious colours & the marsh was filled with cottongrass & cloudberry flowers, thus providing the perfect canvas for some stunning photography. But the highlight of the trip has to be the wolf sighting which occurred on Johnny's 50th birthday. Maybe it was fate or maybe it was luck but what a fantastic birthday treat for everyone!
In the weeks leading up to our wild brown bears of Finland trip, we had heard that a wolf had been spotted in the area. Wolves have not been seen in the locality for years, so this was a source of much excitement for everyone. As a result, when she turned up, our guests were beside themselves with excitement. She only stayed for a few minutes, but it was long enough for everyone to get some beautiful shots.
Some of our guests took advantage of the small bird hide located on the grounds while they were awake. As a bonus, they also got visits from the local red squirrels at the hide.
Wolverine sightings were down this year due to the fact that the wolf made them nervous. For this reason, they preferred to stay in the forest rather than be out in the open & exposed. However, the sightings the group got were superb, including shots of wolverine climbing trees!
Judging from the images that I have seen, everyone had a fantastic time on our wild brown bears of Finland trip. I especially love the image below of the Wolverine climbing down the tree. It's probably one of the best Wolverine shots I have seen so well done Johnny for such a great capture!
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