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Photographer's Note

Brooks River, Alaska
Grizzly bears, or more correctly Brown Bears, gather in mid summer along the Brooks River to feed on Sockeye Salmon.

The difference between grizzly and brown bears? It's a brown bear if it lives close to a river system that allows them to feed on salmon.

Bears that live in the interior of Alaska have a different diet which is mainly berries and small animals. Coastal bears that feed on salmon normally grow larger due to their salmon rich diet. Some of these bears along the Brooks River grow up to 1,100 pounds.

At the confluence of the Brooks River and Naknak Lake is a lodge and a campground. Both lie within Katmai National Park.

I have visited and stayed twice at the campground and both photographed the bears and fly-fished for salmon. It is quite exciting to be fishing and be approached by one of these large bears.

On the day I photographed this sow with her two cubs I was carrying my Nikon N90s and shot this photo with a 24mm wide angle lens - not a telephoto shot from a distance! This photo is cropped tight because the bear was so close to me. Had I used a longer lens it would have been just a head shot...

It is important to note that visitors to the Brooks River area are met by National Park rangers and givin a discussion about how to be safe when near the bears. At no time did I place my self or a bear in a compromising situation just to get a photo. This photo was shot from a bear viewing platform near Brooks falls.

After visiting the area and being able to photgraph these beautiful animals one learns that grizzly/brown bears are not the viscious man-killers they have been portrayed as in old-west books and movies.

Film used was fuji velvia. Scanned on Nikon Super Coolscan 8000 at 4,000 dpi. Edited in Photoshop and sharpened.

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