Bear photography in Europe, or more specifically in Finland, as this in my opinion at least is by far the most reliable location, is a bizarre, even surreal, experience. Locked in a small wooden hide for 14 hours overnight is on the face of it a dreadful prospect, and yet it’s strangely addictive. I’ve done up to eight consecutive nights in these hides in the past but the most recent trip was a quick ‘3-night-blitz’ so although my ageing back might not agree, this was a relative walk in the park.
Some of the animals I recognised from previous years and it’s rewarding to see bears that I first saw as tiny cubs now developing into young adults. I also caught up with ‘Greedy’ a big male that I first photographed for the Tooth & Claw book back in 2006. This time around this bear was very much in his prime.
I think that in spite of their universal popularity, there are certain places/species that any keen photographer should cover at least once. Norway’s sea eagles qualify and Finland’s bears qualify too. To be lying half-asleep in the half-light of a Scandinavian summer with only a thin sheet of plywood separating you from a bear squelching about in a bog, is an experience you will never forget. Problem is, it is addictive. There’s just something about bears.
My thanks to Julie, Alan, Russell, Robin and Charlie for their company on this trip.