Visionary Wild, LLC • 2200 19th St. NW, Ste 806, Washington, DC 20009

E-mail:    •    Tel: 1-202-558-9596 (9am to 5pm, EST).

Justin Black – Managing Director: 1-202-302-9030 • Email:

Jennifer Woolley – Director of Operations • Email:

We look forward to hearing from you!


Limit 12 spaces | $11,950* Closed
Advanced November 2 - 8, 2016 | View other workshops

Polar Bears – Eye to Eye with Roy Toft and Chris Linder

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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.

Click "read more" at below right to continue...



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.


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.



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.



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.


Roy Toft

Roy Toft is one of the world's most highly accomplished wildlife photographers, in addition to being a biologist, natural-history educator, and a Senior Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP). Roy has received top honors in the most prestigious professional competitions in his genre including the London Natural History Museum's Wildlife Photographer of the Year, and Nature's Best. In 2007, Roy won first place and the Gerald Durrel Award for endangered species in the BBC Wildlife Photographer  of the Year competition. He is a well-loved figure among his professional peers, admired as much for his upbeat good humor, an engaging and compassionate personality, and generously collaborative nature as for his immense talent as a photographer.

Roy's photographic career started with getting his first SLR camera as a college graduation present in 1986. Two days later, Roy was in Alaska working as a biologist on a wolf population study for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Over the next ten years, Roy’s day jobs included bird trainer & educator for the San Diego Wild Animal Park, naturalist, elementary school teacher, natural history museum curator and collaborator with National Geographic photographer Michael “Nick” Nichols.

Nature, conservation and education have always been Roy’s passions and since turning to photography full time in 1993, his work has focused on wild animals and their fragile environments. His publications include National Geographic, Smithsonian, Audubon, Discover, Wildlife Conservation, Ranger Rick, and other natural history magazines and publications worldwide. His work is primarily represented by National Geographic Image collection and Getty.

Using photography as a conservation tool has always been important to Roy and in 2005 he became a founding fellow in the prestigious ILCP. Along with making images, Roy has always enjoyed teaching people about nature and photography. His first photo workshop was taught more than a dozen years ago in the Osa peninsula, Costa Rica, and since then Roy has led workshops in Africa, Alaska, Brazil, Papua New Guinea, Japan, and Madagascar.

Roy makes his home in the boulder-covered backcountry of Ramona, Ca. (30 miles north east of San Diego), with his wife Robin and their three Labrador Retrievers (Beau, Summer, and Tundra). Roy enjoys essentially everything active out in nature, including hiking with the dogs, surfing, and mountain biking. His favorite pastime when not traveling for photography is designing and cultivating his extensive garden, inspired by South African flora, including a wide variety of aloes and other exotic plants.


Roy Toft Photo Website

ILCP Fellow Bio

Roy Toft's Youtube Channel, with videos on his photo safaris and packing tips

Blast from the Past: Roy Toft appearance on the Chevy Chase Show (1993) as bird trainer for the San Diego Wild Animal Park


Chris Linder

Chris Linder is an award-winning professional photographer, filmmaker, and lecturer. Chris earned a master’s degree in oceanography from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and maintains a part-time affiliation with WHOI as an expedition photographer. For over a decade, Chris has focused on communicating science stories and inspiring the next generation of researchers. He has documented over 50 scientific expeditions and has spent over two years of his life exploring the polar regions.

Chris's images have appeared in museums, books, calendars, and international magazines, including Audubon, Geo (Germany), Nature’s Best, Outdoor Photographer, Smithsonian, and Wired.  He published the hardcover book Science on Ice: Four Polar Expeditions with the University of Chicago Press in Fall 2011.  He was the lead cinematographer and co-producer of the 2015 feature-length documentary film Antarctic Edge: 70 Degrees South.  Chris is a Senior Fellow in the International League of Conservation Photographers and a Fellow National in the Explorers Club.

His work is represented by Aurora Photos and Visuals Unlimited.

Assignments: coverage of 44 major scientific expeditions, including 25 to the polar regions. Recent assignments include the science trials of the new Alvin deep-diving submersible, climate change impacts on Icelandic puffin populations, and thawing permafrost in the Siberian Arctic.

Awards: Winner, 2015 Nature's Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards, Birds category; Highly Honored, 2014 Nature's Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards, Polar Passion category; Honorable Mention, 2012 International Conservation Photography Awards, Flora category; Highly Commended, 2010 BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards, In Praise of Plants category; Honorable Mention, 2010 International Conservation Photography Awards, Natural Environment at Risk category; Winner, 2008 Nature’s Best Windland Smith Rice International Photography Awards, Indigenous Cultures category.


The World’s Top Wildlife, Nature, and Culture Photographers by the iLCP, December 2015, Origin Magazine:

The New Stars of Photography, Smithsonian Magazine, March 2012 issue and online:

Can photos of ice help translate the science of climate change? by Jaymi Heimbuch, Mother Nature Network, February 11, 2014:

News From DC, The Polaris Project, And Reel Grrrls: interview with Marcie Sillman on Seattle's NPR station, KUOW, about my work photographing the Polaris Project in Siberia:

Recent Articles:

After the Revolution, Living Bird magazine, Winter 2016, feature story:

Southern Exposure, Audubon magazine, November-December 2015, feature story:

Science on Ice – Chris Linder's new book on polar exploration

Photographer's Guide to Cape Cod and the Islands, by Chris Linder

Visit Chris's website


  • Polar bears in their native habitat, easily approached on foot in a pristine and untrammeled wilderness setting perfect for first-rate photography.
  • Roy Toft and Chris Linder draw upon their combined forty years of experience as professional nature photographers to provide insightful guidance, recommendations, and feedback.
  • Constructive critique of your images to ensure that the quality of your work improves significantly over the course of the trip.
  • Wildly rugged and remote – the conditions in November at this coastal tundra location enable us to dedicate full days in the field getting up close and personal with Arctic wildlife.
  • Excellent photo opportunities for other Arctic wildlife, including caribou and Arctic fox.
  • Exclusive use of Nanuk Lodge. Positioned on Hudson Bay, it experiences a surprising number of clear days and nights, delivering great light by day, and and unobstructed views of the night sky for photography of the Aurora Borealis.
  • Excellent dining, featuring the finest food and wine in the Arctic. Mealtimes will be adjusted or delayed as required to ensure maximum photo opportunities.

Accommodations & Travel

Included are pickup at Winnipeg International Airport and transfer to our hotel, round trip flights (Winnipeg – Churchill – Nanuk Lodge) all lodging (double-occupancy; single supplement available), all meals, all beverages (including wine and beer with dinner), all photographic instruction and bear guiding, and some gratuities.

Nanuk Lodge

  • Cozy fireplace lounge for relaxation and storytelling
  • 8 guest rooms with ensuite bathrooms
  • Perimeter fencing and 24-hour safety patrol
  • No other human presence within 100 miles
  • Satellite telephone
  • Large picture windows overlooking the coast, passing wildlife, and bears!
  • Fabulous food – prepared from the lodge's famous northern cookbook series Blueberries & Polar Bears
  • ATV’s and touring trailers with emphasis on safety and environmental low impact

Inbound and outbound: accommodations are provided at The Grand Hotel near Winnipeg International Airport

airplane iconfoot iconweather icon
Round trip flights included from Winnipeg – Churchill – Nanuk Lodge. Most excursions will be on foot, though we will not need to walk more than a 1/2-mile or so per day. Some excursions may be via customized open tundra wagons. Weather at Nanuk in November is cold, but perfectly manageable with proper dress. Expect highs around 25F and lows around 0F. There is a small chance of snow.