TESTIMONIALS FROM OUR 2015 POLAR BEAR GUESTS:
I have to say that was the best trip ever!!!!! So many great photos and a really great group. I would love to go back, but I think the mark that was set would be hard to beat. –J. Furber
Loved our polar bear trip. Many thanks for putting together such a great trip. Am very pleased with my pictures and still trying to decide which ones to cull out. –J. Allen
Back from the shores of Hudson Bay on a polar bear photo safari with lots of images. Great adventure with expert assistance from Visionary Wild. The experience of a lifetime! –K. Cochran
Picture yourself standing on arctic tundra at the edge of Hudson Bay, photographing a pair of polar bears wrestling in the glow of sunset as they wait for the bay to freeze over so they can begin their annual hunting season on the ice. An arctic fox watches the action from the sidelines. The only sounds are the bears, the breeze, and waves lapping at the ice forming on the shoreline. Then imagine, as the light fades and temperatures drop, you walk just a few feet away to sit beside the fire in a cozy wilderness lodge – reserved for our group's use only – joining your fellow photographers for a glass of wine while reviewing the day's photographs, in anticipation of a gourmet dinner and excited conversation about the opportunities that await tomorrow. Keep your camera ready, though... the aurora borealis may well appear in the night sky.
Join Roy Toft and Chris Linder at Nanuk, a remote wilderness lodge positioned in prime polar bear territory on the shores of Hudson Bay east of the mouth of the Nelson River in Manitoba. This is a very special opportunity to intensively photograph polar bear behavior close-up in the wild. Our small group will photograph the bears from eye level, on foot, via short excursions onto the tundra and from the grounds of the lodge, where polar bears walk within inches of the fence line. This area is unusual in also enjoying excellent sightings of wolves, and it's also one of the few places on Earth where polar bears and black bears can be seen together.
Our 2015 Polar Bears – Eye to Eye workshop with Roy Toft was a great success, and our group was blown away by the quality of the photography and the overall experience. Nanuk is a very comfortable fly-in lodge that offers unique access to a high density of polar bears with a lovely landscape backdrop. To ensure you make the most of your visit, Roy and assistant instructor Chris Linder will provide highly attentive, thoughtful, and generous instruction throughout the trip, offering feedback and useful guidance drawn from their combined four decades of experience as professional nature photographers. They will provide recommendations on camera setup optimized for wildlife photography, teach strategies and techniques to empower you to anticipate and capture fleeting wildlife behaviors, offer advice on composition and working the available light and weather conditions for best effect, and more. In the evening, Roy and Chris will provide feedback and constructive critique of your images to ensure that the quality of your work improves significantly over the course of the trip.
Included in the package are round-trip flights (Winnipeg – Churchill – Nanuk Lodge), all lodging, all meals, all beverages, all photographic instruction and bear guiding, partial gratuities, and Canadian tax. Though most Visionary Wild workshops and expeditions are packaged and priced as single-occupancy by default, this workshop is packaged as double-occupancy at $11,950 per person, due to the limited number of guest rooms and beds at Nanuk Lodge (lodge normally accommodates sixteen guests, but we are limiting our group size to twelve and buying out the remaining beds to ensure that our group has exclusive use of the lodge), and the fact that their operating season is relatively short, which makes the single-occupancy supplement for this trip $6,550. We will be happy to help pair up individual participants of the same gender who wish to share a room, but we can certainly accommodate those who wish to book single-occupancy rooms.
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November 2 – ARRIVAL DAY IN WINNIPEG
Fly into Winnipeg International Airport (YWG) where you will be greeted by a friendly executive cab driver and transferred to The Grand Hotel, where we will gather in the restaurant for an introductory dinner at 7:00 pm. Overnight in Winnipeg.
Nov 3 – WINNIPEG – CHURCHILL – NANUK LODGE
We depart for the airport to catch an early morning Calm Air Airlines flight to Churchill, Manitoba. After arrival in Churchill, we will be transferred by DeHaviland Turbo Otter aircraft to Nanuk Lodge. This exciting flight takes us out over the historic Churchill River, and then southeast along the rugged Hudson Bay coast over a landscape that is home to healthy populations of caribou, seals, wolves and of course the great “Ice Bears.” Upon your arrival, our hosts will provide a tour of the lodge and get you settled into your room. A thorough orientation on travelling in polar bear country will be provided prior to any outings. Then it's time to grab our gear and head out for our first excursion! Overnight at Nanuk Lodge.
Nov 4–6 – NANUK LODGE
Nanuk Lodge is in a wildly rugged and remote location that rewards the dedicated wildlife photographer willing to respond to opportunity and spend significant time in the field getting up close and personal to the Arctic wildlife. We will be in the heart of polar bear country, with stunning snow and ice backdrops of the sea and landscapes surrounding the lodge. The location also enjoys an exceptional number of clear nights for northern lights photography.
Our meal service times will be adjusted to accommodate photo opportunities which are the priority, so meals may be interrupted at times in response to what’s going on outside. Breakfast is generally served at 8:00 am, lunch as required; with appetizers at 6:00 pm followed by dinner at 7:00 pm. Evenings will be spent near the fireplace downloading images, sharing the day's adventures, or taking in an informative lecture or slide show. Bedtime is at your leisure. If the night watchman spots a dazzling display of northern lights, be prepared for a wakeup call (optional). Overnight at Nanuk Lodge.
Nov 7 – BACK TO CHURCHILL AND WINNIPEG
After another hearty breakfast it’s time to pack for the flight back to Churchill, say good-byes and snap a few more pictures. After another exciting aerial tour, we arrive in Churchill where your bags will be stored for you until our flight back to Winnipeg later in the day. We are then free to explore this frontier community. Points of interest include Cape Merry, the Port of Churchill, the Eskimo Museum, as well as the Parks Canada exhibit. After flying to Winnipeg in the afternoon, we will transfer to The Grand Hotel for our final group dinner and overnight.
Nov 8 – CATCH FLIGHTS FOR HOME
Breakfast, and then we say farewell and safe travels. Transfer to the airport by taxi from the hotel at your leisure.
We are very pleased that Roy Toft and Chris Linder will be leading this workshop. Ever since Roy and Visionary Wild founder Justin Black participated in an International League of Conservation Photographers field project in 2009 they had been trying to find the time to lead a trip together. Their first Visionary Wild expeditions together occurred in 2015, first on a Serengeti safari and then on our first Polar Bears – Eye to Eye workshop on the shore of Hudson Bay. Roy is a natural "campfire comedian," keeping everyone in stitches every night. A Senior Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers, Roy is widely recognized as one of the best wildlife photographers working today, published regularly in National Geographic, Smithsonian, Audubon, Wildlife Conservation, and Discover magazines, as well as other notable publications.
He is a highly talented, caring, and generous teacher too. Each year, Roy leads several small group photo tours and workshops for photographers of all levels to destinations in Latin America, the Arctic, Africa, and Asia. With a background in wildlife and conservation biology, he is adept at helping others capture images of animals in the wild that that convey a sense of the animal’s character and spirit.
Chris Linder brings to the table tremendous expertise and experience photographing the world's Arctic regions for Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He recently co-led our recent epic adventure in western Greenland with Frans Lanting and Justin Black, where his contributions as a teacher were greatly appreciated by our guests. Chris impresses with his photographic insight and skill at digital workflow and multimedia production. His conscientious character, engaging personality, and flair for logistics management make him a pleasure to travel with. Chris's clients include NASA, National Science Foundation, Smithsonian, Audobon, Science, and Outdoor Photographer. He has been recognized with awards in prestigious photographic competitions such as BBC Wildlife and Nature's Best, and is the 2015 winner of the Windland Rice Smith International Award in the Birds category, for a portrait of a Great Grey Owl owlet in the Arctic boreal forest of Siberia.
This duo is perfectly matched to maximize the quality of this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Be sure to join these two remarkable instructors for this stellar wildlife experience.