cartoon of photographer jumping from sasquatch
Photographing sasquatch art by Tim Bower.

Q: What are the guidelines for safely and respectfully photographing Sasquatch?

A: Cryptid photography is dangerous and should only be attempted by hardcore professionals. Each year, we lose dozens of squatch photographers in the Alaska Triangle—no doubt eaten or, even worse, added to the harem of a Bigfoot. Don’t go into the field without training. Cryptid schools teach everything from how to take a dark blurry photo to the squatch phonetic alphabet. It’s your call whether you want to risk your life. All I can say is don’t get closer than 300 yards, and make sure you wear camouflage spandex so you’ll be able to move like a cheetah to escape. 

Q: Is it okay to take a bear’s picture without its consent?

A: Photographing a bear without its consent is increasingly viewed as being offensive, although, as of this writing, it’s still legal. Many wildlife photographers have tried to mitigate this moral quandary by carrying model release forms, but, most often, bears exhibit a strong disdain to filling out paperwork. Call me old school, but I believe in hand/pawshake agreements. There is some concern that verbal consent won’t hold up in court if a bear decides to sue. While it’s true that bears are particularly dangerous in the courtroom, statistically speaking, you’re much more likely to be struck by lightning than to suffer litigation from a bear. 

Q: I just quit my job to become a professional nature photographer. What’s the next step?

A: Congratulations! The next step is to move to Alaska. Your new career will have benefits like having no option other than to sleep under the stars all year round, a can of beans when things are good, and frostbite. You’ll also be given the chance to survive if you keep your wits about you and are lucky. Nature is brutal. So, be merciless, and remember most tripods can double as a formidable weapon against aggressive professional photographers that will likely try to raid your camp, abduct you, and then force you to carry all their heavy lenses and cameras until you’re a broken shadow of who you once were.

Q: What are some editing tips to make your photos from Alaska look more Alaskan?

A: Paste a beard onto the subject’s face in your photo—it doesn’t matter if it’s a person, a brown bear catching a salmon, or the aurora dancing above Mt. Denali. A beard will make any picture seem more Alaskan. Also, consider photoshopping in things like a sled dog team, a giant moose with Christmas lights tangled around its antlers, a breaching humpback whale, reindeer, Santa Claus, or that image of Sarah Palin holding a machine gun and wearing an American flag bikini posted on the internet back when things were good and the world made sense.


Bjorn Dihle is Alaska magazine's gear editor and a lifelong resident of southeast Alaska. You can follow him at instagram.com/bjorndihle or facebook.com/BjornDihleauthor.

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