Churchill in the Canadian arctic is world famous for the high concentration of Polar Bears that head to the shores of Hudson Bay to wait for the ice to reform so they can head out to hunt there preferred prey of ring seals during the winter months. This really is the best place to photograph this king of the arctic. We have secured our own Tundra Buggy for our small group and so we won’t be jostling for places with other guests and we will have complete flexibility of where we can go and we won’t be under pressure to move on. Playing fighting adult males, females with young cubs and being able to work in the best light of the morning and evening is what we will be looking to do. We also have exclusive use of 4×4 vehicles because Churchill is not just about the Bears as we can encounter Arctic and Red Fox, Arctic Hare and Ptarmigan. This truly is a wonderful experience to witness this iconic predator, King of the High Arctic.
Itinerary Open +Close -
Day 1: We are all due to arrive at Winnipeg Airport from our chosen destinations at roughly the same time. Our first evening will be spent in a comfortable hotel in Winnipeg and over dinner we will be able to discuss our plans and expectations for this unique adventure.
Day 2: In the early morning we will then transfer by bus to Winnipeg Airport for our flight to Churchill, a frontier town on the shore of Hudson Bay in the Canadian Arctic. During the late fall high numbers of Polar Bears descend onto the shores of Hudson Bay just north of the town in anticipation of the reforming of the ice. This area is the first for the ice to form and as a result many bears from adult males, females with dependant young cubs and also adolescent bears can be found just waiting for this natural event. The bears have had a tough time during the summer months and are eagerly awaiting the onslaught of winter so they can get out onto the ice to hunt their preferred prey of ringed seals. For the duration of this trip we are governed by the weather conditions so the overall shape of the itinerary is determined by this so we have to make the most of our photographic opportunities. Our first afternoon will see us in the town of Churchill which we can explore at will.
Day 3: It will be an early start and after a hearty breakfast we will head out on to the tundra in our specially designed tundra buggy. We have secured our own tundra buggy for our small group so won’t be sharing with other people or groups and because we have exclusive use there will be lots of space which photographers need. This really is the best way of working from the Tundra Buggies as everyone has a window on both sides to shoot from and so no waiting your turn for other people to finish, basically you won’t miss a shot. If we come across a good situation as well we won’t be in any rush to move on either and so can wait for the action to unfold instead of searching for it. This is the best way of working in Churchill and during our sorties on to the tundra we will come across many different bears in many different situations. We will also be looking out for the beautiful arctic and red foxes. We will be out until dusk which again gives us the opportunity of working in the best possible light.
Days 4 – 5: We have secured our tundra buggy for four full days for our exclusive use and so these days will follow the same pattern of day 3. Our main target will be the polar bear and we will be searching for mothers with dependant young, young male bears which spend a lot of time play fighting and also spending time looking out for arctic and red foxes. We have timed our trip to run with the best possible chance of capturing these iconic arctic species in the winter landscape. We will be out all day and so a packed lunch will be provided, the days will last until dusk.
Day 6: We will have the use of our 4×4 vehicles. Our mornings will consist of an early start so we can head out on to the tundra looking for subjects in the very best light. After breakfast we will head out for our first full day in our 4×4 vehicles looking for subjects to photograph. We will hopefully be coming across some of the other Arctic specialists of the tundra like arctic fox, arctic hare and ptarmigan. All these species will be in their winter finery of white coats and plumage. We should also come across the beautiful red fox too. If we find a subject we will be looking at spending as much time with it as possible. We will also have to be on the lookout for polar bears at all times and we will get the chance to photograph these too. We feel by adding the chance to work from the smaller 4×4 vehicles gives us a much better chance of finding the smaller subjects and also gives us a different perspective for our images. Lunch will be provided in town and we will spend all morning and afternoon on the tundra so it will be a long day. At dusk we will head back to town for a deserved hot dinner.
Day 7: We will again have access to our 4×4 vehicles which will give us a completely different perspective from the tundra buggy. We will again be searching for polar bear, arctic fox, red fox, arctic hare and ptarmigan. The unique opportunity to work from a small vehicle will give us some amazing opportunities to capture more intimate images too. Safety is paramount though and so we will constantly be on the lookout for polar bears.
Day 8: We will be heading back out onto the tundra in search of these iconic arctic species for one more day on the Tundra Buggy. After our last day on the Tundra we are due to catch our internal flight back to Winnipeg. We will have an overnight stay in our hotel in Winnipeg. Dinner is provided after a long day.
Day 9: Unfortunately we will be heading home from Winnipeg after our stay in this Canadian Arctic outpost but hopefully with some amazing images and memories of these iconic species of the far north.
Day 10: After a long flight we arrive back in the UK/Europe.
We have to be very flexible with our itinerary for this trip so timings can change at the last minute. We can of course bump into anything along the way, polar bears are our top target throughout this trip but we will also be targeting some of the smaller Arctic species like arctic and red fox, arctic hare and ptarmigan. The very nature of working from a smaller vehicle will allow us some unique opportunities but we will constantly be monitoring the polar bear situation throughout our time. The best opportunity for polar bear images will undoubtedly be from the tundra buggy as these unique vehicles allow us to photograph in complete safety. We will also be monitoring the possibility of photographing the natural light show of the Auroa Borealis each evening too. We have timed this trip so we maximise our chances with the polar bears and also the winter conditions. Too early and the first snow hasn’t arrived making the environment look unnatural for the bears.
If we leave it too late then the ice would have reformed on the Hudson Bay and the bears will have disappeared from the surrounding tundra. It is therefore a fine line in choosing this trip and is something you have to take into consideration. Over the past 10 years winter has arrived later in the Churchill area than has previously been recorded and therefore the bears have usually started to head out onto the ice by late November.
What our customers say
“I liked the combination of Tundra Buggy and Jeep, which gives more opportunities”
“My expectations before going on the trip were very, very high but hand on heart the trip exceeded them”
“Danny and Mark made sure I was able to make the most of all the photographic opportunities so a big thank you gentlemen”