Published: February 2006
Steve Winter

What was your best experience in the field covering this story?

I saw a brown bear running through a river in Kronotsky Reserve. He had tremendous energy, and water was flying everywhere before he stopped to eat salmon. Then, just as the sun came out, he stood up. He had blood all over his mouth and water ran down his seven-foot-tall (two-meter-tall) body, dripping off his fur and claws. I had just enough time to snap one frame.

What was your worst experience in the field covering this story?

The summer I was on the Kamchatka Peninsula was the worst in 25 years. Seven cyclones hit nearby Japan, so I only got ten sunny days out of the seven weeks I was there. I started to go stir crazy cooped up in little cabins. I knew there were bears around, but I couldn't do anything when it was dark and rainy outside. It was a good thing I brought 35 books with me, because I read almost all of them.

What was your quirkiest experience in the field covering this story?

A young bear was splashing through the water, trying to get a salmon where thousands were spawning in the shallow area of a lake. But he was a terrible fisherman. Whenever he'd get a fish, he'd drop it and then start running all over the place again. He did this all day, and I never saw him catch a single fish. It was as if he didn't even care. It was funny, but I couldn't help feeling a little sorry for him.