As a keen wildlife photographer, I am always looking at ways to challenge myself so when Sean Weekly told me of availability on a trip to Finland to photograph the Wild Brown Bears, I jumped at it. I had met Sean on Skomer Island back in 2016 photographing the Atlantic Puffins & learnt so much in that short time I was confident that I would enjoy the trip even though it was my first organised wildlife trip.
This is part two of my blog about my encounters with the Wild Brown Bear of Finland – if you have missed it, please read part 1 here.
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!
I was very excited waiting for the day I was to head off to on an adventure to see &, hopefully, capture some images of the wild brown bears of Finland for myself. I had previously spent a wonderful weekend with NaturesLens on their “Birds of Prey Workshop” prior to going abroad, this was primarily to help hone my, admittedly, very basic photography skills when it comes to wildlife & the capture of images of nature.
After this taster I was keen to get going on my wild brown bear trip & to try out my newly acquired skills. The time soon came & I was in this wonderful boreal location where wild brown bears were to be found & it was just beautiful; watching the sun rise, set & rise again in a few hours in the land of the “midnight sun”, lakes with mist gathering & the white balls of cotton grass seeds swaying in the breeze.
Prior to my trip to Finland to photograph the Wild Brown Bears, I knew that I wanted to come away with a series of compelling & interesting black & white photographs.
With wildlife photography you can use monochrome to highlight the details of the animal or draw your viewers eyes directly to the subject of your image.
B&W images are also useful in turning distracting backgrounds into a dark uncluttered one. Probably the biggest reason I love shooting this way is that it keeps you focused on the actual composition & texture of the photo. It allows you to focus on shapes, light, shadows, lines, & small details allowing for a more interesting image. That is why some photos look more convincing & compelling in black & white than colour.
In June I had the pleasure of co-leading the NaturesLens Wild Brown Bears of Finland Photography Holiday to Vartius.
Close to the Russian border lies an area of the Taiga forest as wild & untouched as it gets within Europe, & here roams one of the greatest predators in the world, the wild Brown Bear!
On our first day, we arrived at the main camp location around mid-afternoon, the group settled into their rooms in a comfy wooden lodge & unpacked, preparing all their camera gear for the first night in the brown bear hides. When unpacked the group headed to the restaurant for dinner; dinner was served around 4 pm every afternoon before every hide session. The food was great, home cooked & tasty, & set us up nicely before heading off to the hides. We left our lodge around 5 pm every evening, taking in the 30-minute walk to through the forest & swamps to get to our hides. The hides were some of the best photographic hides I have worked from, supplied with ground level shooting holes & beds – what is not to like? We split the group up into various hides from 1 man to 3 man hides around the area which offered various views of the forest from open cotton field meadows, pine forest lakes & deep woodland hides. Continue reading →
Brown Bears of Finland Photography Holiday DETAILS
Brown Bears of Finland Photography Holiday
THIS TRIP IS NOW FULLY BOOKED
Join NaturesLens guide, Sean Weekly on a week-long wildlife adventure, heading deep into Finnish forests to photograph the native brown bears of Finland which inhabit the region, observing this magnificent animal as it roams freely throughout its remote woodland habitat. The environment offers the perfect backdrop in front of which to capture the bears as they hunt & maintain their territory.
This is a unique opportunity to capture incredible images of this secretive species within their picturesque natural environment. Group numbers are limited, so be sure to book early to avoid disappointment! The majestic brown bear, considered by many as the king of the forest, wanders predatorily across an expanse of unspoilt woodland which lies along the Finland/Russia border. This is one of Europe’s few remaining true wildernesses, allowing native species like the brown bear to thrive without any threat from human activity. Remaining hidden in comfortable hides with beds & bathroom facilities; disguised within the landscape, you will have the opportunity to photograph the bears within both forest & meadow hides throughout the day, using the changing light conditions to maximise the quality of your images. 17 of the 22 hides you will have at your disposal have been built specifically with the photographer in mind, meaning that their structure & interior is perfectly suited to provide an enjoyable & comfortable photography experience, whilst giving you the best access to views of the landscape from which to take photographs. Being at the animals’ eye level lets you immerse yourself in the action, observing the bears’ behaviour using both close up & wide angle lenses, capturing perfect close-up images with the bears remaining none the wiser. You may also encounter other native species, such as the great grey owl, or the elusive red squirrel.
We have chosen to hold the trip at this time of year so that your photography will benefit from long hours of light, allowing daylight to light your images for as long as possible. This is also the season during which the bears are most active, making it the optimum time to capture the bears at their best, obtaining the most diverse range of photographs. The mysterious forested landscape provides the perfect backdrop for achieving editorial quality images. Sean Weekly, our NaturesLens guide will assist you in making the most of the lighting & the environment when needed to ensure that you are able to make the most of the photography opportunities. Join NaturesLens for on a unique photography excursion into the wilderness of Finland, capturing beautiful images of the impressive brown bear as it thrives in its picturesque natural habitat. We can only offer a select few people this opportunity each year, so book early to avoid missing out. £1099 exc flights & airport hotels – all transportation, food, accommodation & hide usage from landing in Kajaani to the return to Kajaani airport is included. Any places booked prior to October 31st, 2016 will have the early bird price applied to them
THIS TRIP IS NOW FULLY BOOKED
THIS TRIP IS NOW FULLY BOOKED
Brown Bears of Finland Proposed Itinerary
Sun, 25 Jun 2017 – 19:35 – LHR London Heathrow – 00:30 (+1) – HEL Helsinki Vantaa Mon, 26 Jun 2017 – 11:45 – HEL Helsinki Vantaa – 13:05 – KAJ Kajaani Mon, 26 Jun 2017 – Sun, 2nd Jul 2017 Each night is overnight in hide Each following day is spent in accommodation on dinner bed & breakfast basis Mon, 3 Jul 2017 – 13:25 – KAJ Kajaani – 14:45 – HEL Helsinki Vantaa Mon, 3 Jul 2017 – 16:00 – HEL Helsinki-Vantaa – 17:10 – LHR London Heathrow Overnight on way out at Helsinki Airport is recommended for either a lounge or an overnight in Forenom Hostel Vantaa Airport.
JOIN NATURESLENS TO PHOTOGRAPH THE SLOVENIAN BEARS & CUBS FOR YOURSELF
Slovenia is an increasingly important location for the European Brown Bear & their survival as a top-level predator within Europe & it is easy to see why. The lush forests provide the ideal habitat free from being hunted for the European Brown Bear to thrive & survive, our 5 day photography workshop in the midst the territory of these impressive animals provides an abundance of opportunities.
We have two opportunities for you to photograph the amazing Slovenian Bears, both costing £1599 exc travel to Slovenia itself – all transportation within Slovenia, breakfast, lunch & dinner, accommodation & guidance/tuition from Sean Weekly is included, the date for the Slovenian Bears & Cubs Photography Holiday is May 20 – 25, 2017, whilst that for the Slovenian Bears, who will hopefully be bringing their older & bolder cubs to the hides, is set for September 2 – 7, 2017.
To hold a place on either trip, we only require a 25% deposit from you, £400, with the balance due 12 weeks prior to the trip taking place.
Please be aware, you will require lenses that let in the maximum amount of light – largest aperture or smallest f-stop – & a camera with which you are comfortable capturing images at a high ISO – the action is not fast-paced, so rapid FPS is not a deciding factor for equipment suitable for this trip.
The various locations available, lend themselves to atmospheric morning shots when the mist & light conditions coincide.
Of course, the stars of the photography holiday are the brown bears, who can be found ambling through the cotton grass at the time of year our visit is scheduled for.
JOIN US TO PHOTOGRAPH THE BROWN BEARS OF FINLAND FOR YOURSELF
Finland is one of the most important locations for the European Brown Bears in Europe & it is easy to see why. For photographers keen to add brown bear images captured in different conditions & lighting to their wildlife portfolio, our seven night stay in Finland in the midst the territory of these apex predators provides an abundance of opportunities.
Join NaturesLens guide, Sean Weekly on a week-long wildlife adventure, in June 2017, you will be heading deep into Finnish forests to photograph the native brown bears of Finland which inhabit the region, observing this magnificent animal as it roams freely throughout its remote woodland habitat. The environment offers the perfect backdrop in front of which to capture the bears as they hunt & maintain their territory.
This is a unique opportunity to capture incredible images of this secretive species within their picturesque natural environment. Group numbers are limited, so be sure to book early to avoid disappointment!
EARLY BIRD PRICING FOR 4 PLACES FOR THE BROWN BEARS OF FINLAND
We have a tiered pricing for the places on the trip, however, any places booked prior to October 31st, 2016 will have the early bird price applied to them – the places are limited & you will not find another trip priced at a similar level to this for the same duration of nights.