Brown bear (Ursus arctos arctos)

Brown bear (Ursus arctos arctos), the national animal of Finland, is a spectacular and unique animal that not many have had the chance to see or photograph in the wild. For those interested in bears, this websites is a concise guide to the exciting world of bear photography. Here we describe the possibilities of bear photography in different months and seasons of the year and from the different hides at the Wild Brown Bear Centre with its beautiful various surroundings. WBB Centre is suited for all levels of photographers from beginners to professionals.

Bear season

The season starts at the beginning of April with a white blanket of snow, continuing through the green summer, ending with the colours of autumn until October. The photography season last’s about six months starting when the first bear arrives to the hide area after hibernation, ending in autumn when the last bear leaves for winter hibernation.

This far north, the sun sets and rises slowly and the spring nights are slightly longer and darker. With each day, daylength increases towards summer and the nights of Midsummer are bright enough for photographing throughout the night. After that the daylength slowly decreases towards autumn to darker nights again. Due to this change of light, it is possible to photograph bears in diverse light situations.

Photographing

So what is needed to get good photos, and what do the changing seasons offer photographers? Remember that even though the photographer can expect certain things, bears are wild animals and they move with free will and to their own schedule. Photographers are required to have patience and keep absolutely silent when photographing from the hides. Sometimes one night is enough to get the photos wanted. On average, 3-5 nights guarantee better results. The probability to see and photograph a bear is 90-99 % on a 3-5 day stay, depending on the month, and each season about 20-30 bears visit the hide area. Some evenings several bears may be seen at the same time and the nearest bear may be a few meters from the hide. In addition to bears, the hide area is regularly visited by 1-4 different wolverines, foxes and sometimes by the local wolf pack.