Photographic Tours > Brown Bears of the Finnish Taiga
Saturday 20th July 2019 - Wednesday 24th July 2019
Photographing wild brown bears in Finland is an unforgettable experience. Imagine, if you will, sitting in a hide overlooking a swamp or into dense forest just a short distance from the Russian border. The call of ravens echoes all around and then, suddenly, without warning a snap of a twig, the sound of huge paws squelching through the watery marsh and there, right before you, the magnificent King of the Forest.
Situated in north-east Finland, just 2km from the Russian border, the location for this tour is renowned as being the best place in Europe for photographing wild brown bears. It's their sheer numbers, activity and the variety of different hides and positions that make this the stand-out place for photography of Europe's largest predator.
On this 5-day adventure, you will experience how a professional nature photographer works when photographing bears. Not through using large public hides that are on offer but smaller 2-person pro hides. For 3 nights we have exclusive use of a number of such hides strategically positioned within forest, on swamp and adjacent to a lake that will provide a range of different perspectives and situations from (potentially!) tiny cubs climbing trees to a full-grown 700lb male making his way across a cotton grass strewn marsh.
Each day we follow the same pattern where following an early meal at 3pm we make our way, by minibus, ever closer to the Russian border. From here we walk 30 minutes through the forest to our specially prepared hides overlooking areas where food has regularly been put out to entice the bears for the last 20 years. We are no longer in our wake when light, sleep when dark world but now in theirs where they are most active from late afternoon and through the night until early morning. But remember, we are in the far north where at this time it never gets totally dark.
For full details please see the Itinerary in Downloads on the right.
Important note: The 2-person pro-hides we use are designed to be moved throughout the seasons. Therefore, due to their size (4x2x1.75m) the only toilet facilities are the use of a small camping toilet within the hide itself. Because of this, I can obviously only allow same-sex photographers or couples in the same hide.
As a result, regardless of how soon you book, unless I can find you a 'partner' your place is not confirmed. This applies as soon as the tour is advertised and I reserve the right not to wait for a suitable partner should the amount required be reached by those of the same sex or couples who also express their interest.
How To Book
To book a place, simply download and fill out the booking form (see Downloads on the right) and return to Robert either by post or email. Your place will be confirmed upon receipt of both the booking form and deposit.
Through payment of the deposit you agree to the terms and conditions.
"Having been on many tours and workshops with Robert, the Wild Bears of Finland was yet another amazing adventure. Occasionally very ‘up close & personal’, the three different locations each adding their own perspective on these beautiful animals. Hides were comfortable and secure with ample room for two photographers. I cant recommend this tour of Roberts highly enough"!
"A thoroughly enjoyable trip to Finland to photograph the Wild Brown Bears. Accommodation, transportation and general organisation were professionally delivered along with the superb photographic opportunities provided from the hides. A truly wonderful experience and I would not hesitate to recommend this tour to others. Thank you, Mr Canis and thanks again to all involved including the other photographers who made this trip so worthwhile".
"This trip is very different to other trips I have been on with Rob. The subject matter is limited to bears, bears and more bears and that is what makes the trip such a fantastic experience.
The location is perfect for getting photos of the bears at close quarters. Just watching the bears and the young cubs were pure joy. It is the only trip of Rob’s that I have been on where I have fallen in love - with a little brown bear cub! The total, absolute silence of the Finnish wilderness at night is good for the soul. Rob, as always, has everything beautifully arranged and is always willing to give help and advice. I was a bit unsure about being shut in a hide for 14 hours (with very basic facilities) but found that it all added to the sense of adventure and wasn’t a problem at all. I loved every second of the trip".
"For me going on the Bear tour, as well the photo opportunities, I also hoped it would be a time to reconnect with nature, especially with such an iconic animal and wow did it deliver. I got to see a lot of natural behaviour and like most captivated by the cub's antics, and hide etiquette of keeping quiet was forgotten about, due to laughter which couldn't be contained. Despite only being there for 4 days some Bears and cubs became firm favourites to watch and photograph. Saw and heard the Bears eat, drink, growl, cubs playing, darting up trees and saw cubs suckling. What joy. The only trouble is finding a reason not to go back next year".
"This was the first overseas trip taken with Robert and I was not disappointed. The three separate Bear hides gave amazing views and many photo opportunities. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to see and photograph bears in there natural habitat.".
“In short this was an amazing trip; due to an initial flight delay we ended up without our checked bags but Rob quickly sorted that using his local knowledge of the airports etc to get the bags to us the next day well before we left for the hides. Rob gave advice on camera settings etc and then we were off, within ten minutes of arriving at the forest hide we had bears and these continued passing through for the next 14 hours which flew by. The swamp and lake hides were quieter but even so more than enough bears appeared to keep everyone happy. Truly wonderful experience and we rebooked as soon as we got home”!
Richard & Sandie Knight
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Saturday 20th July 2019
to Wednesday 24th July 2019
Price : £1099
Group size : 7
Cost: 7 persons. £1099, 6 persons £1135 and 5 persons £1185.
Group size maximum: 7
Group size minimum: 5
Location: Central eastern Finland. The precise whereabouts will be given upon booking.
Guide: Robert Canis
Cost includes: All transport within Finland including airport transfers. Full-board accommodation in single occupancy en-suite rooms. No single-supplement applies.
Cost excludes: Flights. Robert will notify you which flights to purchase which cost in the region of £450. Items of a personal nature, insurance, snacks and alcoholic drinks at meal and leisure times.
Accommodation: Comfortable guest house set in a forest location.
Level of fitness: Moderate. In order to access the hides a walk of around 30 minutes is required over rough terrain. We will be entering the hides at 5pm and exiting at 7.30am so you must be prepared to spend the entire period in the hide. There is no going outside for a stretch!
Experience level: Beginner upwards.
Equipment needed: A full check-list will be given nearer the tour date but the following will give you an idea. Wide-angle (scenes) through to telephoto / telephoto-zoom up to around 500mm.