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 →