Polar Bears Mother and Cubs Churchill, Canada

Every photographer should experience this once in a lifetime opportunity. The winter polar bear mother and cubs is designed for the die-hard photographer and bear lover. It's cold, the air is crisp and then it happens, mom brings the newborn polar bear cubs out of the den for all of you to photograph. Fill up those memory cards and don't forget to breath.  Photograph mother and older cubs amongst beautiful wild flowers and take some incredible landscape images Manitoba has to offer.  If the stars align we will also have the opportunity to photograph beautiful northern lights. Our workshop has more photo days with the polar bears at the den site than other companies. 

March 03-12th 2020. 8 full days on the tundra photographing polar bears mothers and cubs at the den.  Only 2 spots left $10,995 USD per person. Book your flight arrival Churchill March 02- leaving March 12 evening 
Deposit: $2000 USD Price subject to change. Final payment due Dec.01.
Price $CDN $14,073.60 Deposit: $2480 CDN includes taxes. 
March 2022 / March 2024
This is a high demand workshop with limited space.  *Date of workshop may change.*Prices subject to change
Questions? info@hemmingsphototours.com 

 

David Hemmings has been photographing polar bear mother and cubs at the den for over 8 years. It's an amazing experience. 

The air is crisp and cold. There you are out on the open tundra scanning the snow drifts and open fields for the majestic and magnificent Polar Bear. Then it happens, right before you some 100 yards away you spot a polar bear mom with her 2 cubs. Your heart skips a beat as you behold a sight that will stay with you forever. Not only will the sight stay with you forever but so will the images that you are there to capture. On this amazing trip you will go to one of the best places on the globe to see and photograph mother polar bears with their cubs. We will see them as they emerge from their dens to come outside and frolic in the snow. You will see the motherly love that mom shows her cubs as the cubs tussle and roughhouse with mom.  
Includes: Lodging and meals when at the polar bear lodge in Wapsuk National Park. 

Flight destination: Churchill, Manitoba - Airport code: YYQ . Physical activity: Basic. Very cold temperatures.

Book your flights with Calm Air from Winnipeg to Churchill. A detailed itinerary will be provided. Flights $ not included. 

Pricing is based on accommodations starting the morning of day 1 until the morning of the last day at the polar bear lodge. Accommodations are 2-3 per room. No single occupancy is available. 
Not included: International airfare to Churchill, hotel the day of arrival and departure in Churchill approx $150/night ,food while in Churchill, alcoholic beverages, items of a personal nature, trip insurance. We highly recommend travel insurance.  

 

WORKSHOP  OVERVIEW:

This destination has long been a coveted secret of naturalists and avid nature photographers. For this trip we will be adventuring out into the tundra wilderness to stay at a nicely refurbished navy communications base turned tundra lodge adjacent to Wapusk National Park and the world's largest polar bear denning area. Their lodge stands 300 feet on top of an old beach ridge located about 40 miles south of Churchill, Manitoba. Our lodge has a commanding view of the vast Hudson Bay lowlands that stretch to the seashore of Hudson Bay dotted by stands of one-sided spruce trees, tundra hummocks, small lakes and willow lined creeks. This is the home of the world's largest land predator - - the Polar Bear. Experience the breathtaking beauty of this northern landscape while exploring the environment of our planets foremost Polar Bear denning area.

 

For this adventure we will have guides who are indigenous to the area and their expertise is second to none. The lodge and the guides have a perfect track record of safety and there has never been an incident between bear and human. 

 

We will have 8 glorious days of searching for and photographing polar bear moms out and about with their cubs. If we are lucky we might have a polar bear mother with 3 newborn cubs at the den. We will travel by Mattrack vehicles, which are basically panel vans on snow tracks. When our guides find the polar bears we hear the truck radio bristle and we are off to find them! This is also a wonderful place and time to photograph the Aurora Borealis (the northern lights) after dark. So bring that wide angle lens! Our typical day will consist of a hearty early morning breakfast followed by a great cup of coffee.

 

Typically we would like to find and photograph the bears and cubs every other day. Sometimes it can be tougher and it is not unheard of not to see the bears for a few  days. It is nature and it depends on a lot of different factors, none of which the least are weather patterns and the bears themselves. If we find and photograph the mothers and cubs every 3 days this is considered a very successful trip.

 

KEY LEARNING OBJECTIVES:

•How to properly expose our subjects under difficult white on white shooting conditions.
•When to use aperture priority and when to use manual and why.
•How to compose and frame the subjects.
•How to compose and look for pleasing backgrounds.
•How to take advantage of your cameras different focus point options to maximize your images composition

RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT:
•A minimum of 2 digital slr camera bodies. 
•A lens with a focal length of at least 500mm. 

A 600 or an 800mm lens would work well.
•Teleconverters
•A small range zoom such as a 70-200 or 100-400
•A wide angle lens for landscapes.
•San Disk Extreme memory cards or Lexar Professional series 

(good for cold weather performance).
•Extra batteries, at least 2 for each camera
•A tripod


Clothing: The climate in Churchill in March, October and November can be downright freezing. Minus 50 degrees is not unusual for a low night time temperature. It can be as cold as minus 30-45 with the wind chill factor during the day, yikes! Don’t despair, it can also be as high as a balmy zero degrees during the day. Obviously, proper clothing is essential for photographing polar bears. Proper layering is essential. Start with good quality moisture wicking long underwear. These will be available in abundance at your local outdoor stores as well as ski shops and other selected big box stores such as Costco and Sam’s. Synthetics such as polypropylene ("polypro") can keep you warm even when wet; combined with a Gore Tex outer shell. STAY AWAY FROM COTTON OR REGULAR THERMAL UNDERWEAR!

Next you will want to wear a pair of heavy pants such as wool or mixed material. Stay away from cotton for cold weather layering. You will also want to layer in a heavy wool or similar sweater up top. Fleece also works extremely well for this layer. For your outerwear a goose down parka is recommended such as those made by Canada Goose or similar. Buy the warmest highest insulation rated boots you can find. Let’s not forget about socks. Thick wool socks will work well with inner polypro socks to wick moisture away from your skin. A great idea for the face is a full balaclava. Now for the hands. It is highly recommended to wear a pair of thin insulating gloves under a pair of very warm mittens with the flip top for the fingers to pop out when needed. That brings us to the last but not least piece of warm weather wear, the chemical hand and feet warmers. These are an invaluable tool in extreme cold. They can be wrapped around your tootsies or just placed in your boots. I recommend putting one below the toes at the front of the boot and even on top if there is room in your boots. For your hands they can either be placed in your coat pocket to put your hands in when not shooting or they can be placed in between your thin inner glove and the outer mittens. Read more about Preparing for Cold Weather Photography

CDN$  POLAR BEARS

Check out Wild Wolves
CUSTOMER REVIEWS
We have taken over 50 photographers on the Polar Bear Mother and Cubs Workshop.

The Polar Bears Moms and Cubs photo adventure in Wapusk National Park in March 2016 was an outstanding and amazing experience!  Words can hardly describe what a thrill it was to be able to photograph the interaction between the polar bear moms and their cubs – it was magical and mystical all at the same time.  Then, to cap things off, the Aurora Borealis lightshow at night was an awesome sight to behold.  From the time we arrived at the lodge, we were treated to the warmth and hospitality.  David, you are such a wonderful instructor and I don’t care what anyone else said…we loved your jokes!  Jennifer, your arrangements went off without a hitch.  You are a great team! We look forward to many more wildlife encounters with Hemmings Photo Tours (Natures Photo Adventures) and to spending time with the two of you! Anne & Stan Westfall, USA

My husband and I have been on 5 photo workshop adventures with David Hemmings in the past 2 years and we’re booked for the Wild Wolves Photo Tour next year. That we keep going back for more is, in itself, great testimony to what  Hemmings Photo Tours  has to offer.  For us it is foremost about the experience – nature, wildlife, camaraderie, and an expert workshop leader. You get that right and incredible photographs are the result.  David Hemmings gets it right!   We not only have wonderful photos from The Alaska Grizzly Bears, Northern BC Grizzly Bears, and Polar Bear Mother & Cubs at the Den Photography Tours, but the unique adventures that go along with these wild encounters.  As a more knowledgeable photographer, capturing wildlife is now even more fun and rewarding. Thank you David Hemmings!  Becci Crowe USA

Hemmings Photo Tours info@hemmingsphototours.com (David Hemmings - Natures Photo Adventures)