Anyone brave and daring enough to capture beautifully detailed and up close photographs of brown bears is definitely someone we needed to have share their experience with us! Enter Erik Mandre whose Fotolia portfolio is a stunning collection of wildlife imagery, with a large portion of it dedicated to brown bears in their natural environment. We spoke to him to find out more!

“I was always keen to photograph the most feared and biggest predator in Nordic Taiga; the brown bear (ursus arctos). In Scandinavia the best place to photograph and watch brown bears is undoubtedly Northern Finland, close to the Russian border. This area is covered with deep taiga forest and bogs which is a good environment for brown bears. Watching brown bears in their natural environment, being close to them is a heart pumping experience and at the same time you learn so much about them. I have been photographing and watching brown bears for six years now and always learn something new of these mysterious predators.

Most people tend to see the brown bears as human killers but actually most of their food comes from vegetarian sources and bears are not interested and do not look for any kind of contact with humans – we are not their prey. Of course every bear is an individual and you never know what goes on their minds, but usually brown bears are afraid of humans and go away immediately as they scent or hear the human. So the only way to get close to them is using a special hide which eliminates most of our odour and of course makes us invisible for them. I also tend to use special hides for photographing wildlife, as they offer better possibilities for spending a longer time with the wild animals without disturbing them. Of course I also walk a lot and try to sight the animals before they see me but it is not always possible and especially with predators who can catch your odour from miles away and thus avoid you even before you can see them.

My favourite time for photographing predators or any other wild animal has always been either late in the evening or very early in the morning. This is the time when they are most active and also light conditions can offer very natural scenery. I adore the misty conditions as they make the whole scenery very mysterious and sometimes offer better possibilities to sneak closer to the animal as well. The picture of the huge male brown bear was taken in late June after 2am, with a small pond behind the bear offering a nice misty scenery with the taiga forest in the background. This is one of those images in my collection which shows a very peaceful and mystic scenery of the brown bear environment.”

brown bear with forest background

brown bear silhouette black and white

Brown bear cub waving

brown bear on the hill with blue sky on background

A big thank you to Erik for taking the time to share this special photographic moment with us. Discover his full portfolio here.