Professional Wildlife Photography at specialist Game reserve, Montana
Photograph at a Venue used by the World’s Top Professional Photographers – January 2018
You will have the privilege of photographing wildlife at a specialist professional photography and filming game reserve in Montana in the USA. The animals are trained to “perform” for top professional photographers and film producers worldwide. They are well kept and are amazingly responsive to the handler’s control. A large percentage of stunning published photos of wolves in snow, leaping mountain lions, a tiger charging towards you through pristine snow, snow leopards with snow-covered backgrounds, snarling bears and other shy creatures in the wild have been photographed in “set-ups” like Montana. There will be a maximum of 8 photographers taking part in this event. There will be no obtrusive fences, wires or glass between you and your subjects. Absolutely nothing but cool fresh air.
Mountain Lion leaping over a Stream
Many stories are told of endless days of patiently waiting for that special moment when the subject miraculously leapt over a stream or into the air. How did the photographer know exactly when and where an animal was going to leap, and from so close that a wide angle lens could be used? The answer is that many of these story-tellers came either here to Montana or to somewhere similar. Our venue at Montana is now regarded by many professionals as the premier location of its type in the world. The animals here are allowed to run free either in wild settings or in huge temporary enclosures, while at the same time being regularly brought back to the waiting cameras. It is then up to you to record those unique magical moments when the animals are behaving totally naturally just as if in the wild. You will have the opportunity to return home with photos that could well have taken a dedicated wildlife photographer a lifetime to capture in the wild. Maybe even that would not be long enough for some of the amazing shots you will return with.
Amateur Photographers most Welcome
This venue has remained a closely guarded secret amongst many top professional photographers for a number of years. Photographers on Safari are now making it available to anybody wanting to share this privilege. You can photograph the exact same animals at the exact same locations that have been used by the BBC and National Geographic. You do not need to be a professional (or even a photographer) to attend this event. Tuition plus any needed help and advice will be offered prior to and in between photography sessions.
Photograph Predators in the Snow
Photographers on Safari have deliberately picked the week most likely to give us the best chance of photographing in snow. Prime weeks are extremely sought after and book up a long time in advance. It is for this reason that this holiday is for January 2012 rather than 2011. Booking for this holiday will close more than 12 months before departure, so early booking is imperative. We have booked 5 days of full activity, photographing the animals continuously throughout each day. We will have the opportunity to photograph two sessions with each major species during the 5 days. We have also booked a 6th day which is described as a “weather day”. If we have been unable to photograph during one of our 5 days, then this 6th day will be provided free of charge. If we have used our 5 days as expected, then we have the option to re-photograph any of our subjects from the previous days. This will however be at an extra cost and is not included in the package. Subjects for this final day will be collectively decided upon on location. Those not wanting an extra day’s photography may choose to relax in the indoor swimming pool at the hotel. We have been advised needing a weather day in January or February is most unlikely as snowy conditions are optimal for most professional photographers. They love to photograph in just about any kind of wintry weather and the animals work through all weather conditions too. Obviously snow cannot be absolutely guaranteed but history would show that snow at this time of year is almost certain.
Good Quality Accommodation
The accommodation included in the package is of an excellent standard. We will stay at the Best Western Grantree Hotel in Bozeman, Montana. The Grantree serves a hot breakfast each morning and a hot dinner in the evenings which will be included in the price. For the other evenings there are various other restaurants including the Outback Steakhouse, an Italian Restaurant or a Pizza House in town. Dinners (subject to reasonable price limit) are all included. The hotel also boasts an indoor heated swimming pool, a hot tub and an exercise room. Cable/satellite TV, tea/coffee making facilities and air-conditioning are standard in all rooms. Drinks, lunches and personal items are not included.
Lion, Siberian Tiger, Mountain Lions (Pumas), Lynx, Grizzly Bears, and Wolves
You’ll photograph Mountain Lions of a variety of ages and sizes, plus a really majestic Siberian Tiger. The Snow Leopard is no longer with us, but there is a new Lion cub, a new Tiger cub and an American Bison and a pair of Arctic Wolves in his place. Bobcats, Black Bears, Grizzly Bears, Wolves and Lynx are also available. Each animal may be photographed in different settings. A Mountain Lion jumping a shallow stream, and also running through an open meadow or the Bobcat posed regally on a rocky ledge or watching anxiously up in a dead snag ready to pounce at any moment. This 6 day tour has been designed exclusively for Photographers on Safari, providing opportunities for a huge diversity of photos from just one tour. You will have opportunities to photograph a “little bit of everything” here in Montana with not one, but two photo sessions have been scheduled with each main subject.
Bobcat, Raccoons, Badger, Foxes, Fisher, Skunk and Porcupine
Each photo session will usually comprise of more than one setting/location. Mountain Lions lurking around rocky ledges, Grizzly Bears, Raccoons burrowing in hollow logs, a Porcupine chewing on a fallen Aspen Tree, Wolves mingling amongst a forest of Spruce Trees, a Tiger running right at camera with Red Willows as a backdrop, plus many other animals such as Bobcat, Canadian & European Lynx, Snow Leopard, Barbary African Lion, Badger, Pine Marten, Fisher, Skunk and Fox. Where else can you photograph the power and beauty of such a great assortment of species of Big Wild Cats in unique and various natural settings? You will have the opportunity to capture the true natural behaviour and often unseen traits of these mesmerising beasts. Gorgeous winter landscapes in which to photograph some of the world’s ultimate predators will be on offer. Join us for an up close and personal photo encounter, taking place in meadows, forests, mountains and streams near Bozeman, Montana. Please note that due to health and other considerations every animal cannot be guaranteed to be available at all times. We will have use of two hired 4WD vehicles throughout our stay.
Within ten minutes of shooting, both Mary and I frequently looked over at each other, whispering, “This is unbelievable. This is incredible.” We’d never seen anything like this shoot, and in an hour and a half — at most, each of us shot nearly 10 gigs of images! Quite literally, we went through all of our CF cards! We chose the grizzly for our shoot, figuring that a big and potentially dangerous animal would be the best measure of the quality of the shoot and the handling of the animal. We were just blown away — the bear was better trained than 99% of the dogs I’ve ever seen, and the shooting environment was perfectly safe. I should have suspected this experience was going to be completely novel when I asked the owner, what lens he thought would be best for the shoot. He said a wide-angle would do if I wanted it, because he could have the bear quite close. Unfortunately, not knowing how great a shoot this would be, Mary and I had 500mm lenses! Fortunately, and just-in-case we also brought along 70-200mm f2.8 zooms lenses, and it was these that we used throughout the shoot. Just spectacular stuff.
Joe & Mary McDonald
Itinerary Pro Photo Tour – 2018
December 30th 2017
Arrive Bozeman, Montana. Transfer to Hotel.
December 31st 2017
Free Day in Bozeman after late night arrival on Dec 30th. Dinner.
January 1st 2018 – January 5th 2018
Five days photography. Breakfast & Dinner
January 6th 2018
“Weather day”. Optional further photography day if required. Breakfast & Dinner
January 7th 2018
Breakfast. Transfer to airport for return to UK.
Excl. international flights (approx. £540 ) to Bozeman Airport (as of Oct. 2016).
Due to the exclusivity and high demand for places at this venue, it is mandatory that a non-refundable deposit of $500 per person for any 3 day period is paid with booking. A non-refundable deposit of £500.00 is required with booking. Insurance against any unforeseen personal circumstances is recommended. Indications are that places on this tour are likely to be taken very quickly, so early booking is advised. Places may be booked (subject to availability) at any time prior to departure.