When I set out to travel to Alaska, the one thing I hoped to do was get some close up photos of Grizzly Bears. For whatever reason, I felt like this was one of the main photo goals of the trip. Unfortunately I only saw Grizzlies at a distance the first 2 trips I took deep into the park, and I had one last chance on my next to last day in Alaska. We had just gotten back from Valdez at around 5am, and I had to grab a couple hours of sleep and get back up at 9:30 to get my gear ready to hop on a morning bus.
This turned out to be the best day of all in the park as I did finally see a sow and 3 first year cubs just about 50 yards off the road. They were traveling further away and moving behind some underbrush before I would be able to try to photograph them. By the time they were in clear view again, they were probably about 75 yards away. I had been using a 40d with a 600mm setup, but this was too close to get all the bears in the frame, so I quickly switched to my Mk2N with 100-400 lens. This allowed me to fit the sow and cubs all in the frame at the same time, but I gave up the opportunity to get close ups of individual bears when I set down the other rig.
Below are some additional photos from this sighting. I couldn't get over how cute the cubs were, and I felt fortunate that I had been able to see them this close.
Other wildlife seen later in the day were several caribou and one moose. I have included one photo of each below.
The bears were sighted just a few miles east of the Eielson Visitor Center which sits at mile post 66. After seeing the bears, and especially the three cubs, I would have been happy even if I had not seen any other wildlife on the return trip. While I would have loved to have also gotten some close ups of the individual bears, I think it was better to do what I did, given the choice. I was unable to manage both cameras in the short time I had to squeeze off a few shots, and I felt more confident with my main camera rather than the less capable 40d.