Along the Finnish and Russian Border lies an area of land as empty and wild as it gets in Europe. Amongst this taiga forest roams one of Europe’s most impressive and threatened predators, the Brown Bear. We have been running trips to this location for the many years during the summer months but we have recently added a trip earlier in the season to try and capture this beautiful predator in a winter environment. The bears at this time of the year have just come out of hibernation and they make their way to this special feeding site amongst the old growth of the Taiga forest. The bears are in their winter coats and look stunning along with the winter environment.
With the opportunity to photograph Red Squirrel and a number of forest bird species in the snow near our accommodation this is a great opportunity to experience the boreal forest as it begins to wake from the long winter months.
Itinerary Open +Close -
Day 1: Travel to Kajaani airport in Finland (we will advise you on our flight recommendations) where we will be met by our transfer driver for the 2-3 hour drive to Martinselkonen which will be our base for the duration of the trip. We’ll arrive too late for any hide based photography for the bears this evening. An evening meal will be provided and over dinner we will discuss our activities for the next few days.
Day 2: Breakfast is served at 8.00 am and after breakfast we have the day to photograph the local wildlife in the grounds of our accommodation. We will be setting up to photograph species like red squirrels, bullfinches and redpolls. Dinner is around 3.30pm and then we get ready for the short journey to the bear hides. We have exclusive use of 4, 2 man hides set in a swamp of a forest clearing. We will be transferring to the hides by using snow mobiles with trailers. We will then be spending the night in the hides. At this time of year we have enough light to photograph until around 8.30pm. We stay in the hides overnight and a bed is provided for each person to sleep on. We can sleep for around 7 or 8 hours and then the light starts to improve around 5.00am. We then leave the hides at 7.30 am and head back to our accommodation to have breakfast.
Days 3 – 5: After breakfast we have a choice either to relax in our rooms or photograph the local wildlife in the grounds. Each day of the trip follows the same pattern of Day 2 and after dinner we will be transferring back to the hides.
Day 6: After our final night in the hide we’ll have time to shower and breakfast before returning to Kajaani airport for our flights home.
Special Note: We have been running bear trips to Finland during the summer for the past 10 years. Our summer trips are very productive for bear photography and the hides are visited by lots of bears throughout the evenings. This trip is completely different from our summer trips. We have designed it to run at this time of the year to coincide with the first bears that have just come out of hibernation. At this time of the year spring is just around the corner but winter is refusing to let go of its icy grip, which will give you the opportunity to photograph these bears in a winter environment; therefore, producing a unique portfolio of the beautiful European Brown Bear. Because of the complex situation of this trip please be aware that bear photography is not 100% guaranteed.
What our customers say
“The holiday exceeded my expectations – amazing experience all round.”
“The accommodation is excellent, warm, clean and comfortable lodge, plenty of hot water. Very friendly hosts.”
“Very successful trip indeed, really nice group of photographers.”
“The guides were very friendly and helpful.”