Walking with Polar Bears

I joined Glenn and Michele last week on another segment of their extended, six-month travels (Glenn and Michele’s Most Excellent Adventure™) – this time flying up to Churchill, Canada, to stay at a small remote lodge along the Hudson Bay and go out on guided walks to see and hug polar bears!  Well, not so much hugging really.  (But they do look so huggable!)


Click through for the full gallery of photos and video clips from the trip.

We stayed three nights at Dymond Lake Lodge, one of three small “eco-lodges” operated by Churchill Wild, looking for polar bears and other wildlife during the day and enjoying the wonderful meals and the stars and the aurora borealis at night.  We lucked out with weather.  At this time of year we should have encountered daytime highs no greater than the teens or single digits (in Fahrenheit) even before any wind chill (as in seriously cold, the primary reason Darlene didn’t join us), but we lucked out with temps way up in the mid-20’s!  Yes, below freezing, but really relatively balmy!  Just ask the polar bears!

Speaking of which, we were able to see lots of bears and even watch an unusual encounter between two different mama bears and their cubs.  The guides are very good at approaching and reading the bears’ behavior and working to keep the experience safe for everyone, including the bears.

After several amazing days of walking out amongst the bears, we returned to Churchill for an afternoon of dog-sledding with Bluesky Expeditions and then a full day on an arctic tundra safari with Frontiers North Adventures in one of their massive custom-built “tundra buggies”.

A video montage of our polar bear encounters and other activities near Churchill.

Click through for the full gallery of photos and video clips from the trip.  Here’s a separate gallery of pictures from just the dog sledding excursion.

Michele wrote a great detailed post about our Churchill trip in her blog:

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  • Hi – I’m going to be taking this tour this coming November and I’m curious what photography/video equipment you took with you (and if there’s anything you wish you had or found out you didn’t need).
    I loved looking at all your photos and videos and can’t wait for my trip to start!

    • Hi Kinsley, I brought two APS-C cameras: my newer, wonderful, more portable Sony A6000 and my old Nikon D7000 that it replaced. I did this in order to be able to keep my long lens (Tamron 150-600) mounted on the Nikon while keeping my Sony free for wide and mid-ranges and not have to be switching lenses very much. A sturdy tripod is of course a must as well as lots of batteries kept close to the body (because of the normally extreme cold). Having two cameras was also great for being able to record an encounter with two camera angles simultaneously (long zoom on the tripod and wide/mid handheld). If I didn’t have my older, second DSLR, I would have brought my nice compact Sony RX-100m3 as the secondary handheld camera.

      Also as much as I love having the live electronic viewfinder on the Sony, it was a nice backup to have my old Nikon with its optical viewfinder in this cold since the Sony can consume batteries so much quicker. (I still kept missing the what-you-see-is-really-what-you-get electronic viewfinder whenever I had to use my Nikon though.)

      Be prepared to leave your equipment hanging outside the lodge (in the elements) during the breaks of the day so as not to cause extreme condensation bringing it indoors.

      Nice to hear you enjoyed my photos and videos and good luck to you on your trip! I’m sure you’ll have a fantastic experience with Churchill Wild.