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Sunday 29 November 2009

Last Days at Hudson Bay (Adventure Concludes Day 8-9)

It's our last full day at the Seal River Heritage Lodge. I think we all sense how special this trip has been. There are lots of bears around and we continue to photograph them.Polar Bear - click for larger

It's difficult to work like I normally do. I see amazing things like the way the light hits the landscape. But I can’t just pick up my gear and react to it like I usually would. To head out of the compound, I need guys with shotguns and must go as part of a big group. It's a difficult way to work but very necessary!Hudson Bay - click for larger

A bear has been lying down just outside the compound. It's so close! We all take turns photographing it through the fence. I start with a 16-35mm wide angle lens and then switch to a 24-105mm. I have never imagined being this close to a wild Polar Bear. Andy warns me that they can move very fast. So I show him the back of my camera. He smiles. I'm sure he gets it. We can't help but shoot!Polar Bear - click for larger

Everyone was very accommodating of each other. It was so nice to see people working so well together.Photographers - click for larger

Photographing Bears - click for larger

Polar Bear - click for larger

Polar Bear - click for larger

I can't tell you how it feels to take these images. It feels privileged. Privileged to be in a place like this and to be so close to such a wonderful species. We spend the rest of the day much the same way we have since we got here - shooting. In the evening, Dennis puts together a selection of our favourite images for a slide show. Later we have dinner and head outside to enjoy a bonfire.

The next morning, I go outside and just kind of soak the place up. There are bears around and I shoot a few frames but the ship is pointed towards home. It's over. Or is it? I'm scheduled to fly out on the first plane. But currently, Churchill is fogged in and the plane can't take off. I hear the cook's father died 2 days ago and she is anxious to get home. I give up my seat to her so she can be on the first plane out if it comes. We sit and wait. I email home and let Lori know that I may not make it out today. I have a flight booked home tomorrow around noon from Winnipeg. It will be complicated if I don't make it out but what a place to be stuck!The Lodge - click for larger

The plane finally makes it out of Churchill. The first group heads out to the airstrip to meet it. We watch as two polar bears stalk them. Terry and Andy drive the bears off with snowballs and rocks. But the plane just sits there. We head into the dining room for lunch and hear that Churchill is fogged in again. That's why they didn't take off. They come back in for lunch. Riley has to stay and guard the plane with a shotgun because the bears are so curious they could damage it. Everyone wonders if we will make it out today. After lunch, a call comes in that the fog has cleared so off they go. After a quick trip the plane comes back for the next group. We walk out and are on our way. The plane flies low out over Hudson Bay. It's the most direct route and we make it to there without any trouble. We meet up with the rest of the gang, and have dinner in Churchill. Then we get on a plane back to Winnipeg. In Winnipeg John rents a car while I sit and listen to Scott and Robert banter like they've been married for 40 years. I'm laughing so hard I'm crying listening to them. Man we had fun!
The Gang - click for larger

Till next trip…

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Anonymous Lola said...

Truly amazing! The adventure & the photos! Thanks for sharing.

2 December 2009 at 18:46  
Anonymous Marta said...

That was wonderful. And you lived it! Great photos, great to read of your adventure. I agree - thanks for sharing.

4 December 2009 at 21:02  

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