Base Camp Bears with Carl Johnson 2017-01-26T13:59:19+00:00

Base Camp Bears - Katmai National Park with Carl Johnson | Aug 14-18, 2017

Venture to Katmai National Park, a spectacular, remote and pristine area in southwest Alaska, with opportunity view and photograph brown bears in their natural habitat. Scenic tundra trails surround the camp and offer plenty of wildlife sightings. Adjacent creeks are filled with rainbow trout and salmon for world class fishing. But this photography workshop is all about coastal Alaska brown bears that visit the area each and every year to fatten on spawning sockeye salmon from Bristol Bay; the world's richest salmon fishery.

Experience two of Alaska's greatest national parks on one trip! This 5-day expedition also includes a night stay at a lodge in Lake Clark National Park on the final evening of the trip. Composition and photo technique centers on successfully capture stunning wildlife images during this workshop, however, the starkly beautiful location also provides opportunity for landscape and night photography. Carl will provide coaching for each to round out your remote photography experience.

Day One

An Alaska Alpine Adventures representative will greet you Anchorage by 8:15 am, and provide an orientation and gear check at the Anchorage facility. You'll also meet your photography guide, Carl Johnson, before heading to Merrill Field for the flight from Anchorage to Port Alsworth. Prior to the flight, Carl will offer pointers on aerial photography technique. From Merrill Field, located near downtown Anchorage, you’ll fly west through the glacially carved splendor of Lake Clark Pass. It is about a 1.5 hour flight to the small community of Port Alsworth.  You'll be greeted by a second guide and enjoy a delicious lunch on the shores of Lake Clark while discussing the adventure ahead and receiving tips on camera settings. Then we'll transfer by floatplane to Katmai National Park, and setup camp near the lake. With camp established and bodies nourished for the adventure ahead, we'll head out in search of the amazing creatures we've come to photograph – Alaska’s coastal brown bear. Lunch & dinner included. Distance: 2-3 miles, Elevation Gain: 500'-1000'.

Day Two Through Three

We'll spend our days admiring and photographing immense and majestic Alaska coastal brown bears while they fish for salmon. The open landscape allows for unobstructed views of the bears and the environment. With copious amounts of daylight, there will also be plenty of time for exploratory hikes, and enjoying the silence and solitude of our remote camp in the wilds of Alaska. Carl will also emphasize landscape photo opportunities each morning and evening. If the nights are clear, we'll keep an eye out for aurora borealis.

Throughout the entire trip, Carl will offer personalized photo instruction to meet your particular skill level. Due to the nature of this workshop, there will be no classroom sessions. However, we will discuss composition and technique, and conduct in-camera image reviews. All meals included. Average Daily Distance: 5-8 miles, Average Daily Elevation Gain: 1000'-1500’.

Day Four

This is final morning to photograph sweeping vistas and majestic brown bears. With memories of this amazing journey fresh in mind, the sound of a float plane will remind us of the civilized world we left behind. Upon return to Port Alsworth by early evening, we'll check into lakeside cabins at Farm Lodge. After hot showers and a celebratory dinner in the lodge dining room, there will be time to share captured photos and stories. As time allows, Carl will offer a portfolio review of your top images from the trip. All meals included. Distance: 2-3 miles, Elevation Gain: 500'.

Day Five

Following breakfast at the lodge, we’ll pay a morning visit to the Lake Clark National Park Visitor’s Center, where you’ll have a chance to purchase maps and postcards, enjoy interpretive displays and short films, and meet experienced park staff. We'll spend the rest of the day hiking to Tanalian Falls along Lake Clark National Park’s only developed trail, before boarding an afternoon charter flight back to Anchorage. If you are departing Alaska on this day, please schedule all homebound flights for after 9 pm. Breakfast & lunch included. Distance: 5 miles, Elevation Gain: 800'.

Whenever possible we endeavor to follow our itineraries as written. However, trips will occasionally deviate from the written itinerary due to weather conditions, group preference, specific safety considerations, or unforeseeable circumstances (collectively what some have called “The Alaska Factor.”) Therefore, we suggest that you approach any Alaska trip with an open mind and an adventurous spirit.

Recommended Photography Gear

  • Camera with manual settings
  • Wide angle lens
  • Zoom lens
  • Macro lens
  • Charged batteries and charger
  • Multiple memory cards
  • Sturdy Tripod
  • Remote shutter release

Photography equipment rental available at Stewart's Photo Shop


This is a moderate activity that involves walking short distances on uneven terrain. Weather conditions may range from rain, wind, and sun, and temperatures from 45°F (7°C) to 70°F (21°C).


  • Comfortable walking or hiking shoes with good traction
  • Short and long sleeve shirts
  • Fleece jacket
  • Water/windproof outer shell


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