Duration & Dates
8 days (7 nights)
New dates coming soon
Arrival & Departure
International flights to Kajanni, Finland
Wonderful picture opportunities
Exclusive use of professional hides
Full board accommodation
Fully escorted by local guide
Fully escorted by UK photo guide
Members price £3,290 TBC
6 people per tour per 1 guide
Any visa's required
The Eastern border of Finland with Russia is home to the magnificent European Brown Bear. This normally shy and reclusive mammal, comparable in size to the Grizzly, roams through these beautiful forests in the search for food. It is to this quiet corner of Finland that our tour will take you in search of these magnificent mammals. 2023 will be Wild Arena’s 19th year at this amazing site and we regard it as one of Europe’s true wildlife highlights.
Our ‘Brown Bear Summer light and cubs’ trip is special not only because we are exclusively using the smaller professional grade hides but also because we are visiting at the best time of year for seeing Bears with cubs in the beautiful summer light. July usually provides the highest level of Bear visits in the season so there should be a range of opportunities of different individuals and behaviours.
We will spend 5 nights at two regular feeding sites, which the Bears have been visiting for nearly 30 years. Our unique ‘professional grade’ trip is traveling at the best time of year for seeing small cubs visiting the feeding site with their mothers. These female Bears tend to cautiously visit later in the evening to avoid other Bears and we might even be lucky enough to see the defensive tree climbing habits of the youngsters. The lodges we are visiting have a number of small ‘pro' grade’ hides in both open and forested locations and we intend to place each photographer in a different hide on the 5 nights of photography (3 nights in the small hides and 2 night in the main hide). The pro' hides are designed for 2 photographers but for space, comfort and privacy we will only have 1 photographer at a time in each hide, on each night. The 2 nights in the larger hides are useful as you will be accompanied by your guides, giving lots of opportunity to talk about the Bears and photography techniques.
Each purpose-built hide is complete with comfortable seats, bunk bed, a simple toilet facility, heater and draw-string camera viewing holes which will allow us to photograph the bears when they are close but in safety. The small hides are checked and moved each winter to ensure that the landscape they overlook is at its most beautiful and pristine and July should be perfect for invoking a true sensation of the summer wilderness in our images.
The bears are likely to visit each of the hides during the evening, overnight and early in the morning for the food that will be carefully placed by our local guides. There is even the rare but tantalizing possibility of spotting Wolverine or Wolves that might also be drawn close by the food, a truly an amazing sight!
To maximize our chances of getting the best pictures we will stay overnight in the hides so drinks and snacks will be provided by our hosts for everyone. After leaving the hide in the morning we’ll have a hearty breakfast back at the Forest Lodge and then spend the days at leisure before re-entering the hides again for a further night of fantastic photographic possibilities, we will then transfer to our second location for a welcome rest overnight and then 3 further nights in the hides in this different location.
During the days there will be plenty of chance to get some rest and to photograph in the ancient northern forest surrounding the lodge. Possible subjects include the wildlife that visits the Lodge feeders such as Bullfinch, Siberian Jay and Northern Red Squirrel. The Lodge has extremely comfortable rooms with hot showers and superb home cooking so everyone should be well looked after during their stay.
The trip will be escorted by our highly experienced UK photography guide, who will work in conjunction with the local rangers to get the best opportunities from the trip. The guide will also be able to spend time, during the trip, to help guests improve their photographic skills by a careful briefing, camera advice and reviewing ongoing results.
Key subjects for the week should include:
Our aim for this tour is the elusive European Brown Bear but we would also hope to see Raven, various small birds, Red Squirrel and maybe even Wolverine or Wolf.
Our trip is based in Eastern Finland at the Martin Selkonsen Remote Forest Lodge. This small, family run wildlife lodge has well-appointed rooms (priced for single occupancy in this tour), wonderful dining room with open fire, sauna facilities and options for walks in the magnificent forest surroundings
(D) Depart UK for Kajaani via Helsinki. You will be met by your guides at Kajaani airport. and taken by mini bus to The Boreal Centre for late afternoon and a chance to settle in to this wonderful wilderness setting. Dinner followed by a Bear photography presentation and briefing session by your Wild Arena guide
(B,L,D) After lunch we will discuss the plans for the following 2 nights of photography with the local guides and then at around 4pm we will leave for the transfer to our hide locations. Photography will then be possible through the evening and overnight. At around 7am, on the following morning our guides will collect us.
(B,L,D) After returning from the hides we will have a good breakfast and have a chance to rest and review the pictures from the previous night. At around 3pm we will again have dinner than then be taken to the hide locations for a second night of photography.
(B,L,D) After breakfast we will be collected from the initial Lodge mid-morning and be transferred 150km to The Remote Forest Lodge. This day is left clear to catch up on some much needed sleep!
(B,L,D) After breakfast there is the Option for a guided walk in surrounding forest. We will have a late lunch/dinner and decide on which of the professional hides everyone will be positioned in. We will then move to the hides on foot. The evening will then be spent photographing any attending Bears. The group will then be walked out of the hides the following morning.
(B,L,D) Leave hides at 7am and back for hearty breakfast. The day can then be spent at leisure with a chance to catch up on some sleep. There is the opportunity to photograph the varied visitors to the garden feeders (Red Squirrel, Siberian Jay etc) After late lunch/dinner we will repeat the evening/overnight hide session as per day 5. We will rotate the group over the 3 nights of photography so everyone spends each night in a different hide.
(B,L,D) Leave hides at 7am and back for hearty breakfast. The day can then be spent at leisure with a chance to catch up on some sleep. There is the opportunity to photograph the varied visitors to the garden feeders (Red Squirrel, Siberian Jay etc) After late lunch/dinner we will repeat he evening/overnight hide session as per day 5. We will rotate the group over the 3 nights of photography so everyone spends each night in a different hide
(B,L,D) Leave hides at 7am and back for hearty breakfast. The day can then be spent at leisure with a chance to catch up on some sleep. There is the opportunity to photograph the varied visitors to the garden feeders (Red Squirrel, Siberian Jay etc) After late lunch/dinner we will repeat he evening/overnight hide session as per day 5. We will rotate the group over the 3 nights of photography so everyone spends each night in a different hide.
(B) Leave hides at 7am and back for hearty breakfast. Late morning transfer by minibus back to Kajaani for return flight to the UK.
Please note: – The itinerary is provisional and subject to change depending on local conditions. Not all wildlife mentioned can be seen well at all times of the year & some activities mentioned may not always be available.
Meals included are as shown – B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
Who should attend
Wild Arena Tours are not suitable for anyone under the age of 18.
Fitness level: You will need to be able to walk the few miles into the hides with your camera bag, over rough terrain
Camera Knowledge: You should have a good working knowledge of your camera, but the Wild Arena guide will be on hand to talk through settings.
We try to tailor all our sessions to suit our guests, so we do not always cover all the topics depending on the individual needs.
Typical topics we can cover in this session are: Composition, shooting moving subjects, using backlighting, shooting in low light, shooting from a hide, Fully Manual versus speed or Aperture priority.
I just wanted to drop you a quick note to say thank you for the fabulous trip to Finland. David was so supportive and helpful and was very tolerant about my lack of photographic skills. His knowledge and good humour were a real advantage. Missing our connection back was a small price to pay for such a brilliant trip!!
Judy July 17