My name is Stian Herlofsen and for the past 2 years I have visited the Finnish and Russian border close to a place called Kuhmo. This is a quite spectacular area to photograph wild animals like bears, wolves, wolverines and other birds. I had been looking forward for this trip for months now. This summer I had decided to travel to a place a bit more north together with a photo-group led by the professional photographer and my friend Tommy Solberg. This place is unique because its mostly bears with cubs here, and sometimes they come really close up to the hide. I have never been to this place before, but since my trip last year was a success, I thought this year would be great as well. One day I decided to lay in one of the hide called “the suicide hide”. This hide is like probably as you expect – pretty small, only a few square-meters – and its not good for my neck either. I had put some honey right outside. I saw some movements at the trees right in front of me, and that’s when this big bear came by.
This image was captured at 24mm with my Nikon D4, and it was such nice and close encounter. Memories like this are things that I’ll never forget. It’s interesting having a bear 10 cm away from my fingers at the closest.
I saw a lot of wild cotton while I was here, and for the next day I sat in a hide at an open field with a lot of wild cotton around. We got so many photos this evening of different bears. But I had a hoped to see some small ones, and not long after, these two little brothers came. I guess they were good friends. They played around the wild cotton, and it looked like they were having a great time. Even if they are small, they are still very strong with big claws.
The days passed fast, and in totaly, I took 13 000 photos on this trip. So many magical memories have been captured trough my camera. It’s not just a job to be a photographer but also a passion to capture and share these moments with others – people that may not have the opportunity to see things like this in their life. Back home in Norway I had a big job to do. Rating and deleting images takes time. Once I select the photos I’m happy with – I run them through Adobe Lightroom on my computer and then transfer them to my phone, where I use MuseCam for the final touches, to get the perfect look for my images.
A lot of the time, people ask me if I am afraid of bears. No, not at all. Actually, they calm me down. It’s more fascinating to watch and observe them, than to be afraid of them. As long as you stay calm, they stay calm to you. This was my third trip to the Finnish and Russian border, and one thing is for sure. I’ll be back soon.
For more of my work, including more great bear photos, follow my Instagram here.