Join John for a Polar Bear Photo Tour on the tundra on the western shores of Hudson Bay in Nunavut
Trip Departure Point: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Trip Dates: This trip is not running in 2023
Trip Price: TBD (all-inclusive from Winnipeg)
[There are currently no scheduled polar bear photo tours for 2023]
I’m thrilled to announce this year’s polar bear photography tour, revisiting one of my tours from years past — a unique opportunity to photograph one of the world’s most magnificent predators from ground level in the Canadian Arctic! This new trip is not just a polar bear trip, it’s an epic arctic experience in a rugged, wild setting on the remote shores of Hudson Bay. Rather than sitting high above the bears in a bus-like buggy in Churchill with hundreds of other photographers and buggies jostling for space, you’ll be photographing polar bears and other arctic wildlife with me on foot in a small group (just seven plus me!) on the remote arctic tundra 140 kilometers north of Churchill. This is a polar bear photography experience like no other!
This amazing arctic adventure begins with an hour-long flight on a private, turbo otter aircraft from Churchill north along the west coast of Hudson Bay on the exact same path that hundreds of polar bears are taking on their search for the first sea ice to form in the bay. It’s not uncommon to spot several polar bears from the air.
We land on the tundra beside a basic camp of comfortable, simple, arctic cabins (two participants per cabin), with full power and heat, surrounded by an electric fence to keep the polar bears out. During my scouting trip we had nine different polar bears come within ten meters of the camp’s fence during daylight hours, providing exhilirating photo opportunities that you just can’t get on a Churchill tour (the fence is quite easy to photograph through without affecting your images). The camp is often visited by individual polar bears, as well as mothers with cubs, so you may get to photograph bears sparring, playfighting, foraging for food, or doing bear yoga on the tundra.
And when there aren’t bears around the cabins, we’ll be making short, guided, walking excursions out on to the tundra to look for arctic wildlife and take landscape pictures with our Inuit guides who are specially trained to maximize your photo opportunities with the bears without endangering either you or the bears. These short hikes often provide more opportunities to photograph the bears, as well as arctic hares, arctic foxes, willow ptarmigan, and snowy owls.
This area is also one of the best locations in Canada for seeing northern lights, so if we’re lucky, we’ll spend clear nights out on the tundra photographing them.
Participants can look forward to photographing from 1-10 polar bears per day, along with other wildlife. I have chosen to run this tour in mid November to increase our chances of having snow on the ground, so participants can expect late fall arctic temperatures ranging from 0 to -35 C (there are excellent cold weather rental clothing packages available if you don’t have your own suitable clothing.
Expect the majority of the photography to be done from tripods or handheld from a standing or crouching position on the tundra. Participants should be mobile and fit enough to be able to comfortably walk 1-3 kilometers with a small amount of gear (on our hikes, the heavier gear like tripods and big lenses is usually put on an atv or snowmobile).
Maximum seven participants per tour (plus John). Participants will be required to sign waivers.
All Canadian Wildlife Photography Tours are non-smoking tours.
Please note that a $1750 non-refundable deposit via cheque or email bank transfer is required to reserve your spot on a Polar Bear Photography Tour. The balance owing, including gst, is due 120 days prior to your trip departure and is also non-refundable, however, upon cancellation, this balance owing may be transferred to another workshop or tour if John is able to fill your spot. We highly recommend all workshop and tour participants purchase independent trip cancellation insurance to protect against unforeseen circumstances.