Photo and story by Redeana Villeneuve
When I decided to go and photograph polar bears, I knew I wanted to go someplace where I could be out walking with them instead of photographing them behind barriers. I felt so safe being amongst the bears in their natural habitat. The day this picture was taken was our last day on the Polar Bear Photo Safari at Seal River Heritage Lodge and we were experiencing 70 km/h winds, which made the temperature feel like minus 40°C.
Our plane was delayed so while we waited for the winds to die down we decided to gear up and take a few more photographs. Just before I took this picture the bear, who we dubbed “Hollywood Bob”, had walked by us. I asked my guide, Tara, if I could step out into the path, so I had a shot that would be directly behind him. He was a very curious bear, as we learned throughout the week, and as he started getting closer to the other group they all started calmly walking up the hill towards the lodge, while the guide watched carefully.
This trip was an experience I will never forget and I feel so fortunate to have been a part of it. The winds never settled enough for the plane to land that day, so we had to go back to Churchill by helicopter, another first for me!
Editors Note: This photo was taken with a telephoto lens, which makes the bear appear closer than it actually is. But it was still an adventure!
Redeana graciously provided this photo to help us share the Churchill Wild experience with wildlife enthusiasts from around the world. Her photo also appears in our recently published Churchill Wild 25th Anniversary Book, which features a number of images from our polar bear lodges that include “The Story Behind the Photo” as provided by the photographer.
Copies of Churchill Wild — 25 Years of Adventure on the Hudson Bay Coast are now available online at McNally Robinson Booksellers (we just dropped off another order for them) and at our head office. There are also a limited number of copies available at our polar bear lodges from July through November, during our polar bear walking safaris. For more information please call 1.866.UGO.WILD (846.9453) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.