She waits patiently on the riverbank, her cubs trailing behind distracted by a branch, a bug, a bird. Her keen eye focused on the strong current, nose continually testing the air for signs of danger. A flash of red breaks the surface, a blur of fur and spray springs into action. The salmon scatter. The mother bear moves with the speed of a thoroughbred racehorse and the agility of a cheetah. She emerges victorious, head dripping and salmon gasping. It’s a life and death battle for survival north of the 58th parallel.
In one of the harshest environments in the world, the tundra is alive. Devoid of trees, you’re greeted by a vast expanse of sedges, grass, lichen and berries. Rivers are teeming with salmon returning to spawn and Alaskan Brown Bears building their energy stores before their winter hibernation. As the drone of the single engine Beaver fades in the distance you’re left standing alone on the riverbank with a sense of wonder. You feel small in the vast expanse, sharing the landscape with caribou and brown bears. As a wildlife photographer, it’s heaven on earth.