Karluk Lake Fat Bear Week Photo Workshop

Fat Bear Week in one of the most remote locations on Kodiak

Access Alaska Like Nowhere Else

Karluk Lake Lodging with Premium Bear Viewing During Fat Bear Week

No people. No roads. Premium Kodiak bear and wildlife viewing in a raw, untamed wilderness and miles of native land.

Nestled in a breathtaking setting, Karluk is perched above the confluence of the Karluk River and Shelikof Strait, enveloped by the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge. This small community, home to only a few dozen residents, stands as one of the two villages on the western shores of Kodiak Island. Positioned at the gateway to the refuge, Karluk offers an ideal entry point for exploration and immersion in the natural wonders of the area.

Experience Karluk River at one of the best facilities Kodiak has to offer, with easy hiking, hotel quality accommodation and ultimate bear viewing, especially for FAT BEAR WEEK during out late season workshops. 

Come and join Professional Photographers Dan M Lee and Jessica Haydahl Richardson on a truly unique Alaskan adventure / workshop.

Both Dan and Jessica are seasoned professional photographers ready to lead you on an incredible experience in partnership with our amazing Cabins and Lodge, located on the historic Karluk lake

Enjoy peak bear viewing of the worlds largest brown bear, the Kodiak brown bear !

Award Winners Best Photo Workshop in Alaska
Kodiak Brown Bear Center

Why Join Our Photography Workshop

Every bear viewing spot provides a distinctive perspective into the daily lives of these majestic creatures, showcasing the splendor of Kodiak Island.

Therefore you are guaranteed an exclusive and unique experience as our group is small and the only one in the area, we will have the best possible bear viewing experience while minimizing the impact and disturbance to the bears. 

Bears can get accustomed to humans quickly and making the groups small we can manage and limit the contact bears have with outside influences. This means we truly see bears as they are meant to be, wild ! We take no more than eight clients at a time to one of our bear viewing locations throughout Karluk Lake, plus we have permission to explore some native land.

The O’Malley River, nestled between two significant salmon spawning lakes, is a brief yet shallow watercourse that presents optimal feeding opportunities for bears. Notably, the bear feeding area along the river is the sole section within the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge restricted to the public.

In 2011, our host lodge secured the exclusive special use permit for bear viewing on the O’Malley, granting us the sole privilege to share this extraordinary location with our guests.

Accessing the O’Malley River proves to be one of our more challenging bear viewing experiences due to its rugged, brushy, and uneven trails. Consequently, we limit visits to days with favorable weather conditions, ensuring a safe and rewarding adventure for our guests.

Workshop Profile

Fitness Level
Bear & Wildlife Viewing

Enjoy all-inclusive food, soft drinks, lodging, float plane flightstours and photographic experiences.

During your stay at the lodge on Kodiak Island, you will see the many animals and creatures that call Karluk Lake its home, get close and personal with all kinds of animals. 

Our Kodiak Island workshops are open to hobby and professional photographers.

Come and create stunning visual imagery and work alongside Dan or Jessica as they show you the beauty of Kodiak Island. From Wildlife photography, landscape and editorial photography, you will have an opportunity to try your hand at capturing images from a large array of wild subjects.

* Editorial * Landscapes * Wildlife * Macro * Story Telling

* Editorial * Landscapes * Wildlife * Macro * Story Telling

Watching Brown Bears in their natural habitat is one of the most life changing events you can experience

-Dan M Lee

Sample Photo
Workshop Itinerary

Arrival Day

Arrive at Island Air float plane base for your 45 min flight to the lodge. on Karluk Lake, flights normally depart around 11am /12pm.

Welcome lunch / dinner and site orientation.

You will be welcomed and shown to your allocated cabin, lunch will be provided and head out to see your first glimpse of Kodiak bears

Day 2

Breakfast in the lodge around 7-8am.

Head out for a day of exploring are locations at Thumb River, O’Malley River, Karluk Lake Outlet and all the surrounding shoreline.

Head back to the lodge for lunch & dinner at the allocated times.

Evening of photography editing and mentoring if you want it.

Day 3

Breakfast in the lodge around 7-8am.

Head out for a day of exploring are locations at Thumb River, O’Malley River, Karluk Lake Outlet and all the surrounding shoreline.

Head back to the lodge for lunch & dinner at the allocated times.

Evening of photography editing and mentoring if you want it or kayak the lake, we may take an evening trip out until sunset.

Day 4

Breakfast in the lodge around 7-8am.

Head out for a day of exploring are locations at Thumb River, O’Malley River, Karluk Lake Outlet and all the surrounding shoreline.

Head back to the lodge for lunch, around 1pm catch your flight back to Kodiak via a 45 mins float plane right back to base

Evening of photography editing and mentoring if you want it.



* We highly recommend staying in Kodiak and day before you arrive to get early flights, and stay in Kodiak after the workshop is completed so you can enjoy Kodiak. All fly outs and bear viewing by boat or plane are subject to weather. Make sure you have the required travel insurance that covers cancellation of trips as the weather sadly is beyond our control.


Based on dual occupancy, starting at:

$7,850 / 3 Nights, per person, 2 sharing

Getting Here To Karluk Lake

It is just a 40 minute flight from the town of Kodiak to Karluk Lake from the flat plane base on Kodiak, but don’t wait to get here before your adventure begins, it’s begun already.

The island is deeply cut by sapphire-blue bays surrounded by jagged tall mountains. In the summer when Kodiak Island is carpeted in deep shades of green it is easy to see why Kodiak Island is called the Emerald Isle.

After take off you’re in for a treat, get your camera busy clicking each view, that is only surpassed by the next one. With postcard views out of every window, in every direction.

Keep an eye out for mountain goats, Kodiak Bears and “sitka” blacktail deer. In the bays it is not uncommon to see whales breaching the water surface. Also in the bays, purse seines are busy trying to surround schools of salmon and set nets can be spotted extending out from shore.

Local air taxi to the river is INCLUDED in your price. 

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What Clothing To Bring

The weather will be very mild June reaches around 47.0°F low and 62.3°F high with July a low of 51.5°F and highs around 65.3°F so bring layers and a waterproof shell at the very least. Contact us if you have questions about weather. 

Bring enough socks (expect them to get wet) and some decent waterproof hiking books and day pack. 

A heavy and a light waterproof jackets are essential. 

Waterproof hiking shoes, please don’t wear regular “sneakers”. Xtra Tuf style boots are available to hire free of charge.

Water bottle that can attach to your bag preferably metallic and some hand sanitizer.

Camera Equipment

Highly recommend the following equipment for your Alaskan photography workshop to be a success.

  • Carbon fiber tripod (such as Sirui W-2204) with a ball head.
  • Long lens like a 70mm-400mm f/4 or better.
  • Wide angle lens 15mm-30mm f/4 or better.
  • Circular Polarizer and UV Filter (Tiffen or Hoya at a minimum spec).
  • Waterproof backpack.
  • Full frame camera is preferred, APS-C and MFT with long glass.
  • Many batteries and chargers (5 batteries and 2 chargers as a suggestion)

What Cost Am I Responsible For ?

You will be responsible for your flight to and from Kodiak. 

You MUST have comprehensive travel insurance.

Price Includes

Lodging, meals, nonalcoholic beverages, guided wildlife viewing.

Admission for two people, sharing one cabin, single occupancy is available for an additional 20%.

Photography tuition and workshop classes, signed limited edition copy of “Creative Photography : The Professional Edge” by Dan M Lee.

20% off camera protection gear at outex.com with our exclusive partnership, included with every booking.

Roundtrip Float plane transportation from Kodiak City to Karluk Lake

Price Excludes

Flights to and from Kodiak Island

Alcohol is not included nor served. If you wish to drink, please buy your own alcohol in Kodiak City before flying to camp. 

Tips and gratuities are included, you can tip online on this page to tip our photo guides. 


Single Travelers

All cabins have a 2 pax occupancy, if you want to travel alone you can join our waitlist and we can try and match you with a another traveler.

Either click the Book Now button and add yourself to the wait list or click here to join single traveler list.

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