Bear bonanza

Adam Rice's Image

Adam Rice (USA) watches sockeye salmon, in splendid crimson and khaki breeding colours, evading a hungry brown bear.

After finding the perfect vantage point to convey the struggle, Adam caught the Sun at the perfect angle to light the scene. This bear's strategy of repeatedly swimming through a vast school might not have been the best, as Adam observed how 'the fish always seemed just out of reach'.

These salmon have returned to the river to spawn after maturing for several years in the Pacific Ocean. When the salmon arrive in summer, so too do the bears. During this time, the usually solitary brown bears will congregate in large numbers to fish.

Brown bears adopt various hunting tactics, from pinning the salmon down in shallow water or waiting to seize them as they leap upstream to stealing catches off other bears. A large, successful bear might consume 30 or more fish a day, eating just the richest pickings - the skin, brain and eggs - and discarding the rest.

Behind the lens

Adam Rice

Adam Rice


Adam is a wildlife photographer and wildlife guide focusing on Alaska and the Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Born and raised in Duluth, Minnesota, Adam and his wife Kate started photographing together as a way to enjoy the outdoors. After honeymooning in Yellowstone National Park, they moved west and now spend nearly the entire calendar year photographing wildlife in one location or another.

Image details

  • Sony α1
  • 100–400mm f4.5–5.6 lens at 226mm
  • 1/1000 sec at f5.6  •   ISO 3200
  • Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska, USA
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