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Posts Tagged ‘polar bear photo’

Churchill Wild 2010 Photo Contest Winners

Best Polar Bear Photo – 1rst Place

Best Polar Bear Photo 2010 Churchill Wild Photo Contest - Photo by Allan Gold

Freshly done nails… Photo by Allan Gold

The Churchill Wild 2010 Photo Contest has officially come to a close. Guests from all of our adventures submitted their favorite photos and it was great to see all those magical moments again!

We saw polar bears wandering the icy coast line, lazily lounging on rocks and some even sparring.  Guests got up close and personal with polar bears and some enjoyed an awesome display of northern lights.

No matter what the photo, each submission was good for one reason or another, which made this an extremely tough job for our judge.  We do like to keep him on his toes!  Dennis Fast was in charge of judging the contest this year and he has done a great job. It was very tough naming just one first prize winner for each category.

Please watch for all submissions to be posted on the Churchill Wild Web site next week. Without further adieu we announce the winners of this year’s photo contest.

Best Polar Bear Photo – 2nd Place

Best Polar Bear Photo 2nd Place Rudolf Hug

I can make your heart beat faster… Photo by Rudolf Hug

Best Other Arctic Wildlife Photo – 1st Place

Arctic Wildlife Photo Other Winner Sean Crane

Breakfast on the rocks… Photo by Sean Crane

Best Other Arctic Wildlife Photo – 2nd Place

Arctic Ground Squirrel Photo

Cheeky… Photo by Robert Postma

Best Arctic Landscape Photo – 1st Place

Polar Bear Walking on Tundra - Best Arctic Landscape Photo by Jessica Ellis

Solitary walk… Photo by Jessica Ellis

Best Arctic Landscape Photo – 2nd Place

Arctic Landscape Photo 2nd Place Howard Sheridan

On the prowl… Photo by Howard Sheridan

Best People Photo – 1st Place

Arctic People Photo Winner Photo by Robert Postma

Arctic romance… Photo by Robert Postma

Best People Photo – 2nd Place

Arctic People Photo 2nd Photo by Claire Wilson

Couples… inside and out… Photo by Claire Wilson

We tried to think of some fun taglines for the photos, but if you have some better ideas, please let us know. A heartfelt thank you to everyone who entered! And congratulations to the winners!

Polar Bears – A Walk to Remember

Polar bears standing and sparring near Seal River on Hudson Bay

No! No! No! Hold my right paw softer! Where did you learn to dance anyways?

by Andy MacPherson with notes from Terry Elliot – Seal River Lodge Polar Bear Guides

 with photos by Paul McAteer

I’m sure everyone woke up a sometime during the night to the sounds of the howling wind. I know I did. And we weren’t disappointed in the morning. High winds and blowing snow were busy creating a new landscape for those of us brave enough to explore it.

With the temperature hovering between -5 and -11, taking into account the wind chill, our first excursion was more of an exercise hike in white out conditions. Off we went to Swan Lake to look at the ice and five-foot snow drifts piling up on the lee side of the willow, birch and alder trees on the shore of the lake.

We left fresh signs of our lakeshore visit by creating numerous snow angels in the drifts to confuse and tempt any furry four-legged carnivores that might venture this way later. We saw flocks of ptarmigan and finally spotted two polar bears sparring on Two Bear Point at the end of our brisk jaunt, but decided to take an early lunch and join them later.

Polar bears sparring near Seal River on Hudson Bay

That's better! You're starting to get the hang of it!

After a hearty meal we headed north up the coast towards the point where we’d seen the bears sparring earlier. They were nowhere to be seen as we approached and made our way down the spine of the ridge towards the tip. Finally two white heads popped out of the thick willows, one chewing on the others ear, before disappearing out of sight. The polar bears were still here and still scrapping, but we could barely see them!

We moved the group in order to get a better vantage point, but when the bears noticed us they halted their play fighting and began to take more of an interest in us than in their game. They came closer, moving out into the open and laying down together in a comfy knot on a snow drift, one burying its head in the snow like an ostrich. Again we moved and waited patiently hoping they would find the energy to spar again.

Polar bears play fighting near Churchill Wild's Seal River Heritage Lodge on Hudson Bay.

If we keep going like this we might make Dancing with the Stars!

Ten minutes later one of the bears had recuperated enough to start a fight – bite a foot, chew an ear – and they were at it again!  Stand up, double shove to the chest, hay maker to the side of the head; take down, head lock, roll-out and jump four feet in the air pin wheeling; rear foot kick to the head – a stylized dance that they really seemed to enjoy – or maybe a cross between Greco Roman wrestling and Brazilian Jujitsu. They didn’t stop until a huge bear that had been bedded down just to the north of us caught wind of the sparring partners and decided he wanted in on the action.

But this bear was too big. He was also sporting a jail-house tattoo from the Churchill detention centre. A big green spot, meaning he’d been a participant in the Polar Bear Alert Program Churchill – a bear with a record. The two buddies gave him a wide berth before moving in as a pair to challenge the big bear, pushing him away and over the ridge where he finally bedded down.

The original two bears checked out his trail, scenting carefully, before splitting up. One followed him over the hill and out of sight while the second walked to the edge and posed for us, front feet perched on a rock, looking first for the big bear and then back at us, silhouetted against a dark grey sky. Beautiful! We left the bears at this point, making our way back to the lodge for wine and appetizers while watching the sun set in a clearing sky.

John Grady, a previous fishing trip guest at Webber’s Lodges’ North Knife Lake Lodge, was on the walk today, accompanied by his wife and two daughters. It was their first polar bear tour at Seal River Lodge. He turned and shook guide Terry Elliot’s hand, thanking him for a rare and special walk with polar bears.

Polar bears getting ready to dance at Seal River on Hudson Bay

Hold on a second! I'm not ready!

“My whole life could be described as a series of long walks,” said Grady. “Today’s experience was and is one of the most important and memorable walks of my life. I first met this amazing family at North Knife Lake Lodge five years ago. What started out as a single fishing trip with Webber’s Lodges turned into a number of fishing trips, culminating with this exotic trip to the land of the polar bears with my whole family and some dear friends. I never thought I would see this country in the winter, when it is such a playground for these amazing bears.”

“I thought you could only see this on TV,” continued Grady.  “When I asked my family if they wanted to go on this trip, they thought I was kidding. They couldn’t imagine that you could really do this. That’s the point. The staff and owners of Churchill Wild and Webber’s Lodges make all of this an absolute reality. I hope my kids learn to never let life pass you by. Thank you.”

The wind and snow of the past few days was abating, hinting at an evening of shimmering northern lights. Could there be a better ending to a perfect day… and a walk to remember.

Churchill Wild guest Claire Wilson makes semi-finals in Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition

On the Rocks - Photo Credit: Claire Wilson

by Claire Wilson

We visited Seal River Heritage Lodge on Churchill Wild’s Great Ice Bear polar bear tour at the end of October 2009. I have always had a huge fascination with polar bears and was extremely excited about visiting the Seal River area in search of polar bears.  I tried not to get my expectations too high however, telling myself that we might only get a distant glimpse of a bear.

How wrong I was!

As soon as our plane touched down at Seal River, we could see several bears around us. Within an hour, there were two bears play-fighting a few feet from the front door of the lodge – amazing! I felt like I had died and gone to wildlife heaven!

We were lucky to get a mixture of conditions – the weather was dry and bright when we first arrived, but we then had plenty of snow and at one point the temperature cooled down to -27 degrees.

Polar bears wrestling near Seal River Lodge on Hudson Bay. Claire Wilson photo.

High and Mighty - Photo Credit: Claire Wilson

Our whole three days at the lodge were jam-packed with photo opportunities. Terry and Andy, our friendly and knowledgeable guides, were ready to take us out for hikes at any opportunity, and we saw plenty of bears every time we ventured outside.  Everyone learned a great deal about these majestic animals and their environment, and every day we all came back with full memory cards on our cameras. My husband Pete and I took about 3000 photographs between us!

Upon returning home, I was so proud of some of my photographs that I decided to send a few into the Wildlife Photographer of The Year competition, now in its 46th year and organized by The Natural History Museum, London and BBC Wildlife Magazine. This is a huge competition which has tens of thousands of entries from all over the world every year. Last year there were over 43,000 entries, and apparently there were well in excess of this amount for 2010.

I was absolutely stunned when I recently received an e-mail advising me that three of my entries had made it into the semi finals!

One photograph entitled “High and Mighty” (Semi-Finalist in the Category Animal Behaviour: Mammals) was taken on our first full day at Seal River when we went for a long group hike. The two bears seemed to want to perform for the cameras!

Polar bear photo Clash of the Titans taken by Claire Wilson at Seal River near Churchill, Manitoba on Hudson Bay while on Churchill Wild's Great Ice Bear Tour.

Clash of the Titans - Photo Credit: Claire Wilson

I shot “On The Rocks” (Semi-Finalist for the Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Wildlife) the next day, literally feet from the lodge. And the third photograph I submitted, “Clash of the Titans” (also a Semi-Finalist in the Category Animal Behaviour: Mammals) was taken on our last morning at Seal River Heritage Lodge just a few minutes before we had too, reluctantly, leave this wonderful location.

We had such a great time with Churchill Wild! I can’t wait to return for our next adventure!

Polar bear photos, arctic wildlife, landscapes and people highlight 2009 Churchill Wild Photo Contest

Churchill polar bears high-five each other at sunset on Seal River

Churchill polar bears high-five each other at sunset on Seal River - Winner! Best Polar Bear Category - Photo Credit: Wendy Kaveney

There were some spectacular photos taken by Churchill Wild guests during the 2008 season! Many of the guests proved to be fabulous photographers, as evidenced by their submissions to the 2009 Churchill Wild Photo Contest.

There were four categories in our first annual contest: Best Polar Bears, Best Wildlife, Best Landscape  and Best People.

Wendy Kaveny was the winner in the Best Polar Bears category for her excellent photo of two happy polar bears high-fiving each other at sunset.  Joy Roberts won in the Best Other Wildlife category for her incredible photo of a Snowy Owl.

Best Landscape honors went to Judi Pennock for her gorgeous sunset over the Hudson Bay rocks at low tide and Best People photo honors went to Gary Potts for his picture of 11 photographers trekking out on to the tundra in the snow to photograph the mighty polar bears and more.

Churchill Polar Bears Wrestling - Photo Credit: Gary Potts

Polar bears wrestling - Photo Credit: Gary Potts

Churchill Wild offers the only arctic adventure vacations in Canada that allow you to actually walk with the polar bears and get up close and personal. And that makes for some great photographs!

A big thank you to all of our wonderful guests who participated in the 2009 photo contest! We’ll be running  another photo contest this year and would love to have more of your awesome photos!

To view all the entries and winners in the 2009 Churchill Wild Photo Contest please visit our Wild Things Gallery page at the Churchill Wild Web site: http://www.churchillwild.com/2009-photo-contest.cfm

Polar bear joins guests for lunch at mouth of Seal River

Have you ever had a polar bear join you for lunch? We have – on a regular basis. They also come for breakfast and dinner. At Churchill Wild’s Seal River Lodge both the guests and the polar bears come for the food.

At some point during your stay it is quite common to have a bear join you for a meal. The bears just always seem to know when meal time is at the lodge. They show up and walk by the window in the dining room as the guests are sitting down to eat. They then always seem to wander off to the far side of the lodge, taking the guests out of the dining room with cameras in hand to chase them from window to window.
But what happens when a Great White Bear decides to join you for your picnic lunch?  We had that happen one week when the guests were out on a 6-wheeler trip at the mouth of the Seal River. Luckily the guests had already eaten, and had left the 6-wheelers for a bit of a hike.
When they returned a couple hours later, they witnessed a young polar bear munching down on their leftover caribou sandwiches and chicken noodle soup. As you can tell from the photo, the cooler was ripped apart, and later became a tool bin in the garage. The soup container had some new scratches on it, and the latch was broken, but it was quickly replaced the next day.
Our two guides did an excellent job of chasing the bear away, but not before the guests got a few shots in with their cameras. Once the bear was gone, a quick clean up was done, and everyone returned to the lodge, happy that the polar bear hadn’t come along before they ate lunch.
What kind of warranty does Coleman have on their coolers?
Polar bear eats Caribou sandwiches and chicken soup for lu

Polar bear eats Caribou sandwiches and chicken soup for lunch at Seal River

Have you ever had a polar bear join you for lunch? We have – on a regular basis. They also come for breakfast and dinner. At Churchill Wild’s Seal River Lodge both the guests and the polar bears come for the food.

At some point during your stay it is quite common to have a bear join you for a meal. The bears just always seem to know when meal time is at the lodge. They show up and walk by the window in the dining room as the guests are sitting down to eat. They then always seem to wander off to the far side of the lodge, taking the guests out of the dining room with cameras in hand to chase them from window to window.

But what happens when a Great Ice Bear decides to join you for your picnic lunch?  We had that happen one week when the guests were out on a 6-wheeler trip at the mouth of the Seal River. Luckily the guests had already eaten, and had left the 6-wheelers for a bit of a hike.

When they returned a couple hours later, they witnessed a young polar bear munching down on their leftover Caribou sandwiches and chicken noodle soup. As you can tell from the photo, the cooler was ripped apart, and later became a tool bin in the garage. The soup container had some new scratches on it, and the latch was broken, but it was quickly replaced the next day.

What the polar bear left for the cleaning staff

What the polar bear left for the cleaning staff

Our two guides did an excellent job of chasing the bear away, but not before the guests got a few shots in with their cameras. Once the bear was gone, a quick clean up was done, and everyone returned to the lodge, happy that the polar bear hadn’t come along before they ate lunch.

What kind of warranty does Coleman have on their coolers?