2022—For the Sheer Joy of It!

What I love about Kodiak Brown Bears is that they do not seem threatening or scary and they look as if they enjoy doing things just because. They remind me of either calmly grazing cattle, big lazy dogs, or fluffy teddy bears. One day we watched a couple of young Kodiak Browns greet each other like old friends and playfully pummel each other before parting company only to reconnect an hour later and play some more. Our guide told us they were probably 4 year old siblings newly on their own but it was heart warming to witness. We watched the three cubs playing with each other but not venturing too far away from Mama Bear. And Barnacle Bear took a break from gnawing on rocks and mussels and barnacles and rolled on the sandbar much like a dog will roll just for the sheer joy of doing it. What a privilege it was to witness the every day lives of these remarkable animals.

2022—Chin Deep

The cubs didn’t seem to be experienced swimming in the swift current of the Uganik River but they obediently followed Mama Bear into the rushing water when she went in. They were swept by us so quickly and so close to us that for almost 30 seconds I was unable to see them in my viewfinder with my 500mm lens with its 1.4X teleconverter and DX mode engaged (1050mm total) let alone focus and press the shutter release. This was the last shot I took before the cub was swept along by the current and before I was able to pick up this one and the rest of the cubs with mama on the other side. Mama Bear seems to be watching me watching her cub.