Churchill Wild photo leader Robert Postma is a celebrity of sorts in his home territory of Yukon, but that fame may become more widespread soon.
Since being approached by Canada Post to have one of his grizzly bear images appear on a collectors’ series of stamps featuring iconic Canadian bears he says, “I get recognized a lot more now. Now I’m ‘the guy with the stamp.”
How did he become the-guy-with-the-stamp? Well, it almost didn’t happen.
In an interview with Canada Post he said, “you need to stay open to serendipitous moments” to capture photos like this. There must have been some serendipity at play, working in Robert’s favour.
While out storm chasing last spring, he felt compelled to check an email account he rarely uses. What he found was a message from Canada Post, sent a month prior, asking him for permission to license his photo and print it on a stamp. Thankfully, he wasn’t too late, and it worked out for designer Andrew Perro to use his image.
The image itself came from a chance encounter during an early spring evening nearly 10 years ago. Robert was out for a drive just outside a community called Tagish near his hometown of Whitehorse. The aroma of the earth waking up after a long, cold winter hung in the air and the sun had just dipped below the trees when Robert came upon a mama grizzly with her two cubs.
“Wildlife likes the new growth of spring,” Robert explained. As he approached in his car, he saw the threesome “frolicking around in the flowers on the side of the road.” Mama bear sent her cubs up a nearby tree and Robert started snapping. He was able to spend about 45 minutes with the bears before they meandered away.
Though it’s not quite as easy as jumping in his car when it comes to photographing polar bears, it’s definitely worth the multiple plane rides it takes to get to one of our lodges, where Robert leads photo safaris in October and November. His 2019 departures are nearly sold out, but he’s coming back in 2020 for our Great Ice Bear Adventure and Polar Bear Photo Safari at Seal River Heritage Lodge, so you can also catch him then!
Robert loves wildlife photography, but his talents don’t stop there. He recently returned from leading a trip to photograph the fall colours in Yukon and he will be heading to Algonquin and Lake Superior Provincial Parks shortly for more foliage photos. He also did a trip this summer to Ivvavik National Park on the northern tip of Yukon, where he witnessed the 110,000-strong Porcupine caribou herd migration.
One of Robert’s favourite trips is to Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan, his self-described “place of peace.” He does this trip solo, each year at the end of June. This is where he nurtures his “affinity for wide open places with very few people.”
Everyone should have a place of peace, real or imagined. Like Robert’s, my own is very real, and it’s at our polar bear lodges along the shores of Hudson Bay. Polar bears and people co-exist peacefully here, and the only thing I have to worry about is how many layers to put on before heading out on the tundra to walk with the wildlife…
A living Canadian stamp.
Robert Postma has been a photo leader with Churchill Wild for six years. A number of his photos appear in our 25th anniversary book, Churchill Wild ~ 25 Years of Adventure on the Hudson Bay Coast. You can see more of Robert’s photos in the gallery below. You can also connect with Robert on Instagram @RobertPostmaPhotography, on Facebook here or on his Web site at RobertPostmaPhotography.com