Award-winning photographer Robert Postma loves storms, so much so that he went chasing them this spring in the American Midwest, but he always looks forward to returning to Churchill Wild for the polar bears.
Postma will be back on October 30 as the Photo Leader for our Polar Bear Photo Safari at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge and the Great Ice Bear Adventure at Dymond Lake Ecolodge. He’s been leading photo tours at Churchill Wild for six years now.
“The reason why I keep going back is the intimacy of the wildlife encounters,” said Postma. “Few people can say they’ve looked a polar bear in the eye at ground level, and that’s what Churchill Wild allows you to do. We’ve had tons of bears at Dymond Lake over the past few years, but I love all three lodges. They all have their own special appeal to me. I really like the landscapes around Seal River, when the that bay is freezing and the boulders are covered in ice, it’s amazing.”
Last year after finishing up with the Great Ice Bear Adventure, Postma led photo tours to India, France, Iceland, Africa and back to Canada to photograph Spirit Bears in British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest. This past winter he was in Chile to photograph Pumas and Hawaii to photograph landscapes. Most recently though, he’s been chasing storms in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas.
“Storm chasing keeps my fires burning,” said Postma. “I love the power. When I photograph storms I want to see the clouds. I want to see tornadoes too, but to me, being up close and personal with a tornado is not that exciting, it’s scarier. I want to be able to stand back, see the tornado, see the whole structure of the storm. We’ve had some great storms at Nanuk too.
“The unpredictability of the weather is the most fearful thing. You have a general idea of where a tornado will form but you’re never one hundred percent sure. And then there’s the possibility of lightning. You’re standing outside and you’re in a storm. But the biggest risk is probably the traffic. There are hundreds and hundreds of storm chasers. After the movie Twister came out storm chasing just exploded.”
Postma won’t be finding much traffic on his upcoming trips to Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan or Ivvavik National Park in the Yukon. He also knows he won’t have to worry about crowds at Churchill Wild, but he does love meeting and working with the guests.
“I would have to say, honestly, that my favourite part of these trips is meeting the clientele,” said Postma. “It’s a lot of fun. I’ve met some really great people through Churchill Wild, and through these photo tours. You just never know who you are going to meet. Some of the people I’ve met have now been on other photo tours with me. The connections you make through photography, and on Instagram later, are incredible.”
Last year Postma’s photo of a polar bear on the ice at Seal River Heritage Lodge was selected from among thousands to represent Manitoba in Lonely Planet’s announcement that the province had been chosen for their Best in Travel 2019 Top Regions list. Quite an honour on both fronts! Additionally, a number of Postma’s photos appear in our new anniversary book Churchill Wild — 25 Years of Adventure on the Hudson Bay Coast.
“The experience at the Churchill Wild lodges is exemplary,” said Postma. “It doesn’t get any better. The food, the (Reimer) family, the hospitality, the polar bears, the wildlife. It’s all superb.”