Sam’s keen eyes watching a Kodiak Brown Bear captured by Z 9 / Z24-120

When heading to new territory, wanting to find that new something, or in this case, wanting a great set of eyes with decades of knowledge behind them, I hire a guide. But Sam is not just a guide! Oh no, he owns the place, he’s the boss too but I just think of him as a dear friend. He’s been watching Kodiak Brown Bears since he was nine, his dad a world-renown guide instilling in him a deep appreciation, love, and knowledge you can’t find in any book. Having “bear eyes” spotting them is one thing, translating what you see into action or inaction, that’s the true gift. Working with Sam was great as he knew pretty darn well on any given day with the tides and weather where we should start our daily quest to watch Kodiak Brown Bears. Yeah, our goal was to photograph them but first, you have to find them. Then you have to watch them and then become part of their world as a guest until finally, you can join them in their world. It’s the knowledge that protects us, gets us close, and most importantly, a witness to the biology, and lives of these gentle giants. Sam is the best I’ve worked with in all my decades with the big bears. We have so much fun watching the bears, at times nailing what they are going to do next and the next moment, totally, totally wrong in the direction they are heading. In either case, the time flies as well as the pixels. That’s why when it comes to Kodiak Brown Bears I love having Sam by my side. I don’t leave home without him!

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