Person in puffy winter jacket takes selfie with purple bear wrapped in feather boa.
Art by Tim Bower.

My husband wants to stare into the eyes of a bear and have a spiritual moment. How much will that cost?

It varies depending on whether you want a black, brown, or polar bear. There are many guiding companies to pick from, so do your research. Lately, augmented bear viewing has grown in popularity and for good reason. Add a little flare to your life and try a “show bear.” It’s like Vegas and Alaska in one package. It costs a little more considering the hair dye, feather boas, and sequin leotards but is totally worth it for the selfies and social media. 

What is the best camera for photographing wildlife in Alaska?

The brand doesn’t matter but no camera setup should be under 60 pounds. You need at least six lenses. Any telephoto less than four feet is a joke. Otherwise, you will be unable to capture a decent image of nature and other wildlife photographers will make fun of and likely attack you. My camera looks very similar to the Gatling gun Arnold used in Terminator 2, and I’m an amateur. I’m considering upgrading but only have enough money to hire one porter.

How’s the dating scene in Alaska?

Hot and heavy, but you need to know how to dig a rutting pit and be willing to lose fingers and eyes fighting over courtship rights. I was nearly eviscerated by a walrus competing for my missus, but I won her affections when I took her to dine on a caribou I’d just killed. I made sure she got the kidneys and other tastiest organs. Pro tip: buy as much Gusto trapping lure as you can before entering the AK dating scene and cover yourself with it. There’s no such thing as too many pheromones.

Why are photographers so weird?

It’s likely a result of the trauma associated with alien abduction, as well having unresolved daddy issues. Nothing else explains photographers’ strange behavior. Wildlife photographers are the worst. When I come across one in the wilderness, I shake them by their shoulders and yell, “No image you get will ever be good enough for your daddy!” I also place a tin foil hat on their head (a must for travel in the back- and frontcountry) and tell them about my numerous experiences with aliens. It makes them feel less isolated. None of us are alone. They’re always watching.


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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