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Posts Tagged ‘polar bear photos’

Churchill Wild 2010 Photo Contest – Call for Entries

Polar Bear Photo Contest 2010

King of the Arctic

Greetings from Polar Bear Country!

You have been welcome guests in our Arctic adventure travel paradise and now it’s time to share your experiences and put your “best shot” forward in our annual photo contest. Please take a look at some of the fabulous photos submitted by our guests for the 2009 Photo Contest to stimulate your imagination!

It was quite a busy year in 2010 and the wildlife gave us many photo opportunities.  It’s now time to showcase your pictures from the season.  We’re looking for photos of polar bears in snow, grass or water.  And don’t forget the mothers and cubs or those unbelievable beluga whale photos you took on your Birds, Bears and Belugas Trip.  We saw a variety of birds this year so a bird in flight would be amazing!

We look forward to seeing all of your submissions.  Good luck!

Prizes in each category:

  • 1st – $1,500.00 off 2011/2012 booking
  • 2nd – Dennis Fast photography book

Categories:

  • Best polar bear
  • Best other wildlife
  • Best landscape
  • Best people

Submissions:

  • Submit to doreen@churchillwild.com
  • Must be jpeg or TIFF format
  • File size should be 1 to 3 MB
  • Feel free to add a caption
  • If you want to provide a paper copy please contact us for a mailing address

Deadline:

Please submit your photos by March 31, 2011 (EXTENDED) in order to be considered for the contest.  Winners will be announced April 15, 2011 and will be notified via email.  Upon completion of the contest all photos will appear on the Churchill Wild Web site in the 2010 Photo Contest gallery.

Judging:

A professional photographer will be selected by Mike and Jeanne Reimer to conduct the judging of the submissions.

Rules:

  1. Guests may submit one photo per category.  If multiple photos are sent for the same category, the first one received will be the one entered.
  2. Winners may reissue their $1,500 prize to a family or friend if they wish. The application of the prize is dependent on availability and must be used on a direct booking.

Writer and photographer show love for Churchill Wild’s polar bear walks

We’re finding quite a few good stories and photo albums about Churchill Wild on the Web these days! And they’re written (or photos were taken) by visitors who walked with the polar bears (and us – yes we were there too!) on the coast of Hudson Bay.

James Sturz

James Sturz

Freelance journalist and author James Sturz joined us at Seal River Lodge for the Birds, Bears and Belugas adventure last summer and wrote about it for the Adventure Travel Section of ShermansTravel.com and German wildlife photographer Rudolf Hug put together a beautiful photobook packed with polar bears from his trip.

Sturz, a native New Yorker, has written for over 70 newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, National Geographic Adventure and many more. His novel Sasso was also named one of the top books of 2001 by The Sunday Telegraph.

An avid adventure traveler and PADI-certified divemaster, Sturz’s accomplishments are long and impressive. You can read his full bio (and it is definitely worth reading) on his Web site at: http://www.jamessturz.com/bio.html.

Currently a contributing writer at Leite’s Culinaria  Sturz wrote the following paragraph to open his story Polar Bear Encounters in Manitoba, Canada for ShermanTravel.com.

“We’ve all seen pictures of polar bears on receding sheets of ice, but it wasn’t until I flew to the western shore of Hudson Bay, in northern Manitoba, that I understood you could get so close to them you could appreciate the fearsome moistness of their snouts, the awesome sharpness of their claws and teeth, or the fact that the thousand-pound predators still look like fat, furry white blobs you want to leap on and hug.”  Read full story…

Rudolf Hug

Rudolf Hug

We then invite you to slip over to the blog of Rudolf Hug to check out his exceptional polar bear photobook. The most important part of his trip to Churchill Wild?

The “impressive meetings with the polar bears,” said Hug on his blog. “To meet the polar bears on an eye to eye level in their natural habitat is an experience of a very special nature!”

You can check out Hug’s polar bear photos at his blog at: http://rudolf-hug-e.blogspot.com/2010/12/bilder-der-eisbaren.html

Polar Bear Photo Safari, Churchill Wild, earn high praise from photographer Larry G. Kinney

Polar bear and Arctic Fox photographed by Larry G.Kinney at Churchill Wild's Seal River Lodge

Polar bear and red fox at Seal River. Photo Credit: Larry G. Kinney

Professional photographer and world traveler Larry G. Kinney of Lexington, Kentucky was at Churchill Wild’s Seal River Lodge for the Polar Bear Photo Safari last fall and gave a glowing report of his first meeting with Manitoba’s polar bears.

“Having photographed wildlife worldwide, I can truly say that photographing polar bears at Churchill Wild’s Seal River Lodge is one of, if not the best experience I have had,” said Kinney.  “The eye-level photography, the amazing scenery and backdrops, and the polar bear-like weather make for an unbeatable adventure.”

High praise considering Kinney has been on some spectacular wildlife photography trips. From grizzly bears in Alaska to penguins in Antarctica, from crocodiles in Kenya to sea lion pups in Australia and more, Kinney has seen some very wild places. He’s now proud to include the polar bears of Northern Manitoba, Canada in his portfolio. But it wasn’t just the polar bears and the northern lights Kinney enjoyed.

Polar bear chowing down at Seal River. Photo Credit: Larry G. Kinney

Polar bear chowing down at Seal River. Photo Credit: Larry G. Kinney

“Mike and Jeanne Reimer are excellent hosts,” said Kinney. “Andy and Terry (our guides) are very knowledgeable and safety conscious, and the staff were always busy taking care of the guests.  The food was great and the lodge, way beyond my expectations, was perfect.  In fact, the whole experience exceeded my expectations on every level.”

A photo gallery of Kinney’s trip to Seal River Lodge, along with his previous adventures, can be seen on his Web site:  http://InOurSight.com. Kinney’s next trip will take him to the Virunga Mountains of Rwanda to photograph gorillas, but a return trip to visit the polar bears also made the future agenda.

“It is my goal to return to Churchill Wild’s Seal River lodge and also visit their Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge for a very different experience”, said Kinney. “Mike and Jeanne, please save a space for me and thanks for an incredible adventure!”

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.

Polar Bear Diary from Great Ice Bear Adventure 2010 at Dymond Lake Lodge

Polar bear saunters towards Dymond Lake Lodge Dinner Hall

Polar bear saunters towards Dymond Lake Lodge Dinner Hall

Text and photos by Nolan Booth

We pieced together some of our notes to describe a week in the life of Dymond Lake Lodge at the Great Ice Bear Adventure. We’re always happy when Mother Nature cooperates with good weather and plenty of polar bears, but we know full well that she is always in charge!

Monday

This week’s guests are a very interesting and diverse group of Swiss, English and New Zealanders. They took a day to start talking, but the polar bear action really helped. They definitely feel special to have had one bear travel all the way home with them and walk right past the camp, and another sleeping 25 feet from their front window. They’ll be telling these stories forever…

Tuesday

The weather has gone from warm to cold and snowy and back over the last few days. It’s windy now and the snow is melting.  Our Inuit couple, Peter and Mary, who graciously offered to visit Dymond Lake to teach our guests a little bit about their culture and their way of life, have been working hard. Peter is constantly carving antlers into tools, toys and games. Mary is always cooking bannock or sewing.

Tupik at Dymond Lake Lodge

Tupik built by Inuit couple Peter and Mary at Dymond Lake Lodge

The Inuit couple have set up a summer tupik to show us what they would live in while traveling and hunting during the summer months in the north. The tupik is constructed of about 20 caribou hides and long skinny timbers.

Today Peter surprised me and built a one man igloo with the little snow we have. He shoveled a small pad on the ground and then cut blocks from a snow drift that had formed behind one of the cabins. As expected, the little snow hut is quite warm once you get in and block off the door. It takes nothing more than a candle and some body heat to stay warm inside.

No polar bear sightings yet but all guests are sleeping and I can hear “Mr. Big” back behind the garage. Right now our igloo blocks have shrunk by half so it may turn into a doghouse unless it gets colder soon.  Busy day checking all systems, everything is running smooth.  Just have to get rid of the Martin in the garage. He keeps eating anything that’s fuzzy.

Wednesday

Six polar bears today – amazing how things change, but once again, Mother Nature dictates the pace up here.  A mom and two cubs hanging around the wind sock; a big male circling camp all day; two 3-year-old bears dancing on the ice outside the dining room. Tonight we took the guests out with the spotlight after dinner just to hear the bears sparring – thumping each other, their claws scraping the cracking ice in the dark – eerie and amazing.

Thursday

Polar bear and guests meet outside Dymond Lake Lodge

Polar bear and guests meet outside Dymond Lake Lodge

New group of guests in today and the polar bears are already here. All outgoing guests are extremely happy.  Sam (our dog) got to show off his skills tonight after another bear walked right across the step of my cabin while Peter was on his way outside to have a cigarette. I told him he now has a choice between smoking or getting eaten by a polar bear that has now patterned him and knows that he comes out every couple of hours.  He says he’ll take his chances… and keeps me laughing while dancing around the cabin yelling “Polar Bear! Polar Bear! Polar Bear!” over and over.

Friday

Just came back and had a bear sleeping on the road 20 feet from the Wilson cabin. Woke everyone up and they had a great first day. Thirty photo-ops, lights on and off, then informed the guests I would have to chase the bear off later so that I wouldn’t have to sleep in their cabin tonight. The big bear is now sleeping and doesn’t even notice me yelling at him. Guests had a good laugh and in the end the bear did too. One screamer and two crackers had him sleeping 200 yards back in the bush. George and Sam are on high alert while I sleep… until George gets me up to see the northern lights…  Maybe tomorrow I’ll get a nap in.

Saturday

I think we have five different bears visiting us regularly and they have become more active over the past few days.  One is big and I was standing 30 feet from him last night. He does not like it when I yell at him and for now I’m hoping it stays that way because the garage door he was prying at doesn’t stand a chance.

Sunday

Polar bear Mr. Big outside compound at Dymond Lake Lodge

Good morning Mr. Big! Polar bear outside compound at Dymond Lake Lodge.

More bears today, banging on the garage, walking between the cabins, interrupting my speech. The guests love it but George does not like the bears looking into his bedroom. Tonight I will get little sleep. The big polar bear is walking around the cabin again. Thank goodness for the compound fence and George or I wouldn’t get any sleep.

Four wolves at the end of the runway, not sticking around but will be back. Five polar bears roamed passed the compound fence before the sun came up and one decided to stay awhile… sleeping 10 feet from the fence.

Good morning Mr. Big!