Churchill Polar Bears - Day 4

You just never know what the day is going to bring.  We awoke this morning to the sound of a howling wind.  Snow was flying as we climbed into the van for the trip to the buggy launch.  Driving was a harrowing experience through the blowing snow in the pre-dawn darkness.

But out we went into the raging blizzard, hoping that skies would clear later in the day.  It was a heck of a ride, which included getting stuck and having to be rescued by 2 other buggies.

As the weather began to break, the bears began to emerge in the blowing snow.

As the day wore on, conditions just kept getting better.  Even the bears were ready to shake off the storm.

Skies were clear in the evening, and once again we were treated to a fantastic light show in the sky.

What a day.


Churchill Polar Bears - Day 3

The day dawned partly cloudy and cold. -15 F. actual temperature cold. The bears were more active today, and we were able to spot this fellow moving across the countryside.

It's a surprise to me that polar bears aren't really white. Their fur is really hollow and translucent, giving them their yellowish color. The color actually changes when the light does.

These great bears often seem like so many gentle giants, but every so often you get a glimpse of what might be capable for those jaws.

I find I'm fascinated by their great feet, which allow them to travel this great tundra, and also serve as great paddles when in the water.

Our special treat for the day was to sight an arctic fox. The animals are hard to spot on the wintry tundra, and can move very quickly.


Churchill Polar Bears - Day 2

The area around Churchill, on the shores of Hudson Bay, is an amazing place.  As winter sets in, it's pretty hard to imagine animals surviving, let alone thriving in a place with this climate.

Today was a cold snowy day, with wind chills down to -30 F. that made me huddle down in my coat a little deeper than normal.  There were fewer animals out and about, as if they too just wanted to get in out of the wind.  We did find some bears, though.  This one was digging out a snow cave to find some shelter, and appeared to just want a nap.

I got a real treat when we spotted ptarmigan in the snow.  In their winter coloration, they were really hard to see.

What could we use to top off the day?  How about northern lights?  We were treated to a real show, as bright, vivid colors danced across the sky.  It almost made us forget about the wind and the temperature as we shot images.

Now to see what tomorrow brings.


Churchill Polar Bears - Day 1

Each year, as winter closes in, polar bears gather in Churchill, Manitoba, waiting for the ice to form so they can move out onto the ice for the winter.  This makes it an ideal time to be there to photograph these magnificent bears.

It's exciting to see the bears wrestling and sparring in kind of a prelude to future competition in the search for mates.  It's amazing to watch, as it sometimes resembles playful wrestling and sometimes mock fighting.

Sometimes the bears' curiosity gets the best of them and they get up close and personal.

At other times, they're content to just relax and watch winter approach.

Stay tuned for more.



Yellowstone, Day 5

My last day in Yellowstone, and it began in amazing fashion.  Elk along the river.  What could be better than that?

Well, then the sun began to rise, and fog rose up off the river.

Every so often, you begin to realize that you're having a charmed day. Nothing could be more evident than when we saw this wolf running nearby.  After years of never seeing a wolf, this is the second sighting in two days!

A species I hadn't really been able to photograph all week was a good mule deer.  This big fellow truly topped off a fantastic week in the park.