Brown Bears of Finland Photography Workshop

Come join me on an amazing adventure to Finland to photograph the most impressive species of brown bear outside of Alaska. Here we will spend our time learning a variety of different camera techniques and skills as we photograph brown bears doing a variety of different activities. There is potential to see them feeding, drinking, playing, fighting, mating, and scratching their backs on the trees in the area. In addition to brown bears, we could also see wolverines, foxes, owls and a wide variety of bird species as well.

Trip Dates

June 25th – 30th, 2023

Tuition Costs

$4550

Group Size

6

Difficulty Level

Easy

Curious Brown Bear
Brown Bear with last Remaining Light of the Day

Important Details: Finland Brown Brear Photography Workshop

  • To join this workshop, you will start your adventure by booking a flight to and from the Kajaani, Finland (KAJ airport code) To get there you will first fly to Helsinki before jumping on a smaller domestic flight to Kajaani.
  • From there, we will pick you up and drive you to the Eastern edge of Finland, right on the Russian border where we will be staying for the next 5 nights/6 days.
  • This workshop takes place during the midnight sun, a time of year where there is endless hours of soft sunlight each evening that provides some unique opportunities to photograph Brown Bears unlike anywhere else in the world.
  • Each night our adventure will begin in the early evening when we will walk to our assigned photographic hides. It is here that we will spend each evening/night waiting for brown bears and other species to appear. Each hide has beds, chairs and tripod head mounts. Around 8 am in the morning, hotel staff will come to our hide to escort us back to the hotel where we will have breakfast and then head to sleep to get some rest before the next evening’s adventure.
  • I will work with you to make sure you learn to master a variety of different wildlife-focused techniques such as photographing birds in flight, shooting in low-light situations, expanding your plane of focus, understanding AF tracking, and much more…
  • In the afternoon before we return to our hides, we will talk about the previous day’s experiences, go over any tips or techniques and discuss processing aspects of the images we have captured.
  • This trip is gear to photographers of every different skill level, from beginners to professionals. We will work hard to make sure we meet you on your level, answering each of your questions when we are out in the field as well as when we have some downtime at our hotels to focus on the post-processing side of things.
There is a lot to see and experience in Finland….
The group size is limited to a maximum of 6 people, so If interested, sign up today for this fantastic Photography Workshop in June of 2023!
Mama Brown Bear and Her Cubs
Brown Bear Reflections by Pond Near Our Hides

What is Included?

What is Not Included?

Payment for Finland Brown Bear Photography Workshop

If this workshop is sold out and you want to be notified if a spot opens up for this trip or any other, click HERE!

Workshop Tuition:

* please read the workshop F.A.Q. section on this page to learn more about visiting Finland and check out our cancellation policies if you have any questions.

Large Male Brown Bear On Its Hind Legs
Brown Bear Standing Tall

Where in Finland Are We Going?

What Is In Colby's Gear Bag For This Trip?

With a focus on wildlife photography in Finland, I recommend the following cameras.

Sony a1 (Setup Guide) - The a1 is Sony's flagship mirrorless camera that can handle everything you can try to throw at it. With a 50mp sensor, 15 stops of dynamic range, industry-leading AF performance, and the ability to shoot up to 30fps, this is my go-to camera for most adventures worldwide!
B&H Photo | Direct from Sony | Rent From Lens Rentals

Sony a7R V (Setup Guide) - Another great option would be the Sony a7R V with its 61mp FF sensor and dedicated AI/AF processor. While limited to 10fps, this camera can hold its own in most wildlife-based situations. Just note that with incredibly fast-moving subjects, the Sony a7R V's AF system simply isn't as fast at tracking as the other two recommended camera bodies.
B&H Photo | Direct from Sony | Rent From Lens Rentals

Sony a9 II  - A third alternative or backup would be the Sony a9 II, with its ability to shoot at 20fps with a 24mp FF sensor and a high-speed and accurate AF system. Its solo limitation might be its 24mp sensor, which is less than half the resolution of both the a1 or a7R V listed above.
B&H Photo | Direct from Sony | Rent From Lens Rentals

With longer lenses, you have the ability to fill more of your frame with your wildlife subjects. In Brazil, we will be focusing not only on Jaguars but a broad mixture of birds, reptiles, and other mammal species as well. I won't bring all of these lenses, but they are lenses I recommend for this trip.

Sony 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 GM - A great zoom wildlife zoom lens option for those wanting a bit more reach with their images but still have something relatively portable. While the lens is very sharp, it isn't the fastest lens in the Sony lineup, with a variable aperture of 4.5-5.6. In some situations in Finland, the aperture might force you to use a higher ISO to compensate for the lack of light hitting your camera's sensor. It is ideal for larger animals such as Brown Bears but it might not offer enough reach for smaller mammals other species of bird we might see.
B&H Photo | Direct from Sony | Rent From Lens Rentals

Sony 200-600 f/5.6-6.3 G - The most affordable telephoto zoom lens in the Sony lens lineup, the 200-600 is a great lens to use to photograph birds and larger mammals such as Brown Bears but it is ideal for situations where you have enough light to work with. At f/6.3 at 600mm, this lens will struggle at dawn and dusk, forcing you to shoot at very high ISOs. That said, it is does offer the best bang for your buck in terms of reach within the Sony lens lineup.
B&H Photo | Direct from Sony | Rent From Lens Rentals

Sony 400mm f/2.8 GM - If you are looking for optical perfection, look no further than the Sony 400mm prime lenses. This lenses are by far the sharpest and most impressive glass in the Sony lens lineup, but it isn't cheap or very travel friendly. This lens is ideal for low-light situations with larger mammals, but the 400mm maximum reach is a little short for birders.
B&H Photo | Direct from Sony | Rent From Lens Rentals

Sony 600mm f/4 GM - Sony's longest telephoto prime lens is the 600mm. Like the 400mm, it offers the best optics and sharpness throughout the Sony lens lineup, although it comes at a cost both financially as well as with how portable/travel friendly it is. However, if you are keen on photographing birds, especially the smaller ones, it does not get better than the 600mm f/4 GM from Sony.
B&H Photo | Direct from Sony | Rent From Lens Rentals

What additional accessories might you need for this workshop? Not much to be honest, as our bear hides do have tripod mounts for gimbal and ball heads, but you might want to look at the following...

Kinesis SafariSack 4.2 Beanbag - One of the best accessories you can bring with you on a safari is a SafariSack to help you stabilize your camera. The sack is purchased empty but is filled with rice or beans once you land at your destination. In our hides you can use one of these sacks to more easily move from one shooting position to another while still maintaining stability.
B&H Photo

Benro MAD49C Monopod - While a tripod wont be used in our bear hides, a monopod might come in handy if we find other creatures outside of our main focus of Brown Bears, especially when we are nearby our hotel. Just don't forget to pick up a ball head to attached to your monopod so that you have some freedom of movement when your camera is attached.
B&H Photo

Join the Workshop Waitlist to learn more about any upcoming adventures...

Join the Workshop Waitlist to learn more about any upcoming adventures...

Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q)

WHY SHOULD YOU JOIN THIS WORKSHOP?

A GREAT question! As a professional wildlife, landscape, and travel photographer for the last 18 years, I have been very fortunate to have worked all over the globe, both as a photographer and a photo instructor. I started my career working for National Geographic as a photography instructor in South America and currently, I average around 10-15 workshops each year. I am a firm believer in an organic to teaching photography, which involves a mixture of technical, philosophical, and hands-on learning that gives you the best opportunity to make the most out of each of our workshops. Our goal is to meet you at your level and work together to help you achieve your goals.

WHEN DOES THE WORKSHOP START?

The workshop begins on June 25th, 2023 in Kajaani, Finland (KAJ airport code). You would most likely want to fly in a day earlier to give yourself more time to adjust and get over any jetlag.

*Please confirm your flights with me before purchasing anything to make sure everything lines up

WHEN DOES THE WORKSHOP END?

The workshop ends on Finland 30th, 2023 in Kajaani, Finland (KAJ airport code). I will drop everyone off either at the airport or at a hotel of your choice near the airport that afternoon.

*Please confirm your flights with me before purchasing anything to make sure everything lines up

WHAT AIRPORT DO I FLY IN & OUT OF?

For this workshop, you will fly in and out of the Kajaani, Finland (KAJ airport code).

DOES FINLAND REQUIRE TRAVEL/COVID INSURANCE?

Finland doesn’t require travel insurance, but I highly recommend it to help with emergency health needs or to help cover costs with trip disruptions such as delayed flights or lost bags. I recommend THIS one or World Nomads.

WHAT ARE OUR ACCOMMODATIONS LIKE?

This workshop is different from nearly all of our other workshops in the sense that each night of the workshop, we will be awake in hides using the midnight sun to allow us to photograph bears throughout the night. We will spend our days sleeping in our nice, comfortable hotel nearby. The hotel is a solid 3+ star hotel with good food, great staff and comfortable rooms.

IS WORKSHOP TUITION BASED ON DOUBLE OCCUPANCY?

Yes, your tuition fees as based on the idea that you will be sharing a room with another workshop client of the same sex. The option to pay more for a single room might be an option depending on availability with our hotel.

WHAT CAMERA GEAR IS NECESSARY?

With the focus on wildlife photography, you will want to have a camera that is capable of shooting at high FPS (Frames Per Second). Using longer-telephoto lenses will allow you to fill more of the frame with your subjects. Refer to the “Gear” section above for more information.

HOW DIFFICULT IS THE WORKSHOP?

This workshop is not overly challenging in terms of the physical activity involved. Because we are photographing from hides each night, the only challenge will be walking from our hotel to our respective hides early each evening.

WHAT HEALTH & SAFETY MEASURE WILL BE IN PLACE ?

My goal is to have each of my clients feel safe, healthy, and comfortable throughout the workshop. We will abide by any local or federal COVID-19 regulations put out by the Finland government. 

To learn more about Colby Brown Photography workshops in general, please visit our FAQ page

Meet Your Instructors & Guides

Colby Brown is a photographer, photo educator and author based out of Eastern Pennsylvania. Specializing in landscape, travel workshops and humanitarian photography, his photographic portfolio spans the four corners of the globe.

Colby Brown

Owner/Photographer/Author

Colby Brown is a photographer, photo educator and author based out of Eastern Pennsylvania. Specializing in landscape, travel and humanitarian photography, his photographic portfolio spans the four corners of the globe and all 7 continents. Not too long after picking up his first digital camera in 2006, Colby was leading workshops for National Geographic in South America, further spurring his love for both travel and photo education. In 2011, he founded The Giving Lens, an organization that blends photo education with support for various non-governmental organizations (NGO) and causes around the world, such as child education, clean drinking water projects, and women’s rights.

Testimonials

Maximo Hernandez
Costa Rica Wonderful Workshop!

It was my first workshop with Colby and can't wait till next one!

From first day Colby and Kenneth had everything in place so that I could find the right spots with the right animals to get the photos I was expecting. Actually, my workshop photos surpassed by far all my expectancies!

We were able to see the wonderful quetzal, owls, many other birds, frogs, bats, snakes etc. Everything with great light(...)

Vicky S.
Great leadership cultivates magical outcomes

Iceland was my first photography workshop. I lucked out with Colby Brown and Ken Kaminesky as the leaders. I had a significant amount of camera equipment about which I knew little more than there were a lot of buttons. Colby and Ken were pretty amazing in that they were able to accomodate such a beginner yet not slight the more advanced participants. They were also quite adept at dancing with Mother Nature(...)

Elaine H.
WOW WOW WOW! Just incredible...

There are almost no words to describe how truly amazing the Iceland Winter Wonderland was and I feel it exceeded my expectations. When I initially found Colby, I was blown away by the images of this trip including the aurora borealis, ice caves and diamond beach. The excitement at seeing the northern lights and the stars was unbelievable.

Colby was so generous with his instruction on achieving the best shot(...)

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Cancellation & Refund Policy

No one wants to miss out on a trip of a life time…but things do happen. In those situations, the following applies…

The first thing to note is that deposits are not refundable, but they are transferable.  In addition, all cancellations are subject to a minimum of a $150 service charge to cover PayPal transaction fees. In most situations, we ask for the remaining balance of a workshop is to be paid 120 days from the start of the workshop in question. If you wish to cancel within 120 days from the start of a workshop and we find someone to fill your spot, you would be entitled to receive a refund (minus your deposit and the $150 processing fee) or transfer to another workshop with no penalties or fees.

If we don’t find someone to fill your spot, what does your refund window actually look like?

120 Days or More...

Your deposit will be transferable to another Colby Brown Photography Workshop without issue.

90 to 120 Days

You will receive a refund of 50% of the full tuition fees minus the non-refundable deposit.

Less Than 90 Days...

If you wish to cancel within 90 days of your workshop starting, you are not entitled to a refund.

Puffin Iceland Colby Brown Photography