Thanks everyone for the kind comments.
cheffievrs wrote in post #17797294
Some real stunners there Scott.. I can't wait to till i go next year. i'd be interested on a bit of a trip report if you don't mind.?
Thanks Jason, I realise you already know a lot of what follows, but for the benefit of others...
- This was a photographic holiday arranged through Natures Images (a UK company - very, very highly recommended).
- 6 full days of photography - 4 days in a Tundra Buggy, 2 days in self-drive 4x4s around Churchill.
- There were 12 of us in the group including Danny Green the leader. (Danny is a Canon Explorer of Light, a thoroughly nice bloke and a supremely talented wildlife photographer).
- We had a Tundra buggy to ourselves - which meant we could sit and wait for opportunities to develop and position the buggy for the best light (within the rules of the Tundra of course). This is probably the most significant advantage of going as part of a photographic group rather than alone. We were really aiming for a small number of quality sightings rather than the most sightings.
- Having said that we had over 100 sightings over the course of the 6 days. We were incredibly fortunate.
- From the Tundra buggy, you can shoot from a window or from the open rear deck. I took a tripod but never used it. Others used theirs on the deck though. A good beanbag is essential.
- I was shooting at 600mm from the buggy and 420mm from the 4x4 mainly because we were looking for foxes from the 4x4 which we expected to be able to get close to. In the event, there were hardly any foxes but we did get some excellent bear sightings from the 4x4 and I got some nice environmental portraits with the shorter focal length. I had a 70-200 on a second body but hardly used it. The others were using similar focal lengths - mainly 500mm primes with/without a 1.4x and some 200-400s.
- The wind chill is brutal. You need really good gloves! We deliberately kept the inside of the buggy cold to prevent condensation.
- Timing is everything. If you go too early, there may not be any snow. Although you would still see bears (which TBH is reason enough!) the backgrounds would be muddy brown. If you go too late, the bay will have frozen over and most of the bears will have gone. We were there for the last week of bear season - and we got lucky**
- Food and accommodation were excellent. (See earlier post).
**Apparently the bay is freezing over a month later than it used to 30 years ago. That's a month more the bears need to go without food and a month less they have to feed. I really fear for their survival - and it may already be too late to save them, so if you want to see them in the wild then go soon. They may not be around in another 30 years' time. Also, please think about supporting http://www.polarbearsinternational.org
. I can highly recommend Ian Stirling's book, which you can get from PBI.