The American Brown Bear

 Alaska is certainly one of the most beautiful places on this planet, and its brown bears definitely seem to enjoy living there. The scientists didn’t name the American brown bearUrsus arctos horribilis for nothing.  Kodiak bears are the largest subspecies of American brown bears and can weigh upwards of 1200 pounds and may stand 10 feet tall on their hind legs. The time I spent photographing this bear family was a joy. Understanding their behavior and being vigilant is a key factor when being close to these creatures. They can be dangerous and unpredictable,as I learned. 

   Kodiak Island is actually a group of islands about 100 miles long. The bears are attracted to the multiple runs of spawning salmon.The hundreds of pristine streams also attract fishermen, who learn quickly that salmon fishing in bear territory is a bad idea.  

    Photographing the relationship between mom and baby was a joy. What could be better than watching the often comedic antics of  a baby bear playing. The little guy played with his toy, a stick, in a nearby stream.For a long time he flipped it in the air and then caught it. Finally he  buried it in the sand, and fell asleep.

   After the cub was asleep, mom  waded up the river to fish. I really wanted to sneak up and ruffle the hair between the little cubs ears, instead I crept closer for that perfect shot. Not a good idea, as suddenly I saw mom charging towards me. As I backed away  she returned to her cub. I spent the rest of the day photographing from a distance. This was a special day I will never forget.