Churchill 2013 Bear Season Photography Highlights- Mothers, Cubs, landscapes and Blizzards!

picture, image, photo of mother polar bear and cub, churchill manitoba, 2013
This is one of my favorite images I took during the epic 2013 polar bear season. I used a low aperture of f4 to achieve a shallow depth of field, so the mother bear’s face is sharp, and her tiny 1 year old cub is nicely blurred in the background.

Wow, sadly another incredible polar bear season is under our belts.   It is hard to list all of the highlights, a there were so many.  Although the sparring males were few and far between, and the bay froze early once again, my groups had amazing opportunities to photograph sows and cubs, foxes, arctic hares, and bears in severe blizzard conditions.   I would also like to mention that I had the privilege to train a very gifted new guide- Sean Beckett.  He just wrote the best blog post on Churchill I have ever seen- brilliantly insightful and creative writing style, and awesome images and videos- CLICK HERE TO CHECK IT OUT!   After you read that post, check out some of my best images of polar bear mothers and cubs, and polar bears in blizzards below!

mother and cub, churchill, manitoba, brad josephs image, photo, picture

A female and her 1st year cub turn around when they encounter vehicles on the outskirts of Churchill.

photo of polar bear female and cubs, mother and coys, image of polar bear sow and cubs,
A beautiful female with her two healthy first year cubs (also known as COYS for cubs of the year) retires from the outskirts of town and heads back towards Cape Merry on a frigid, sunny morning in Churchill. Canon 7D, 300 F4 lens, picture was cropped to 1/2 size of original.
churchill manitoba blizzard, canada, polar bear

Ill have to say my personal favorite condition to photograph polar bears in is the full-on white out blizzard. The bears always look so at ease in such adversity.  It was snowing hard, around 5 degrees far, and blowing around 45 mph.

Bears, above all else, symbolize wilderness. You can only capture this reality with images like this. A tiny bear among its vast landscape can be just as powerful as the tightest portrait. I learned this well while working with the legendary Andy Rouse in the past, and always encourage my travelers to build in these types of shots into their portfolios. This bear begins his long winter season of wandering the flat expanses of Hudson Bay ice, which was growing by the minute as the temperature sailed below zero (Far).



picture of polar bear, polar bear photography trip, expedition, tour

A large male polar bear takes a “snow bath,” or rolls and scoots in the snow to rub away dirt and oil from its coat to insure insulation during a blizzard.

mother polar bear and cub, L5, churchill

A female polar bear and her COY take shelter in a spruce thicket on the outskirts of Churchill. The weather had begun to deteriorate to severe blizzard conditions that night, and it was as if the female knew it, and found a safe, sheltered spot to ride out the storm.

churchill photo tour

A polar bear traverses a frozen pond in the rugged taiga and Canadian Shield landscape.

huge male polar bears, churchill

Two giant male polar bears socialize and enjoy the frigid conditions during one of the numerous blizzards which pounded Churchill this season.

Blizzard conditions do not stop one of my photography groups from exploring Cape Merry as a Parks Canada polar bear gaurd keeps a watchful eye on the horizon.

A stoic Parks Canada interpreter keeps polar bear watch on Cape Merry during a raging blizzard.

bill gent, churchill, natural habitat adventures

NHA traveler Bill Gent enjoys experiencing and photographing Cape Merry in severe blizzard conditions.

eric rock, NHA, natural habitat adventures

NHA head naturalist and photography instructor Eric Rock and an NHA traveler photograph the aurora at the Inukshuk behind Churchill on a clear, fridgid night.

I stuck my 7d with 16-35 mm out the window and fired off a few shots. This one captures the moment of excitement as a bear walks past our rover.

iage anna sembach, elise sembach

Anna Sembach and her 13 year old daughter Elise with a bear in the background.

image of polar bear mom and cub, brad josephs

one of the many magic encounters this season with mother polar bears nd their cubs.

arctic fox churchill image, picture, photo, brad josephs

Arctic fox with Hudson Bay waves crashes in the background, Cape Merry.

brad josephs, red fox, picture, image, natural habitat adventures, alaska, churchill

Brilliant red fox near Cape Merry.

plar bear, great white bear tours

NHA guide Annie Van Dinther’s Tundra Lodge group gets an up close and personal visit by a large male polar bear.

This bear swatted at my camera from less than a foot away! Too close for comfort!

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3 Comments

  1. Natasha Zapata says:

    Great photos Brad…..it was a wonderful week while we were there!!!!!

  2. […] “Polar Bear Season Photography Highlights: Mothers, Cubs, landscapes and Blizzards!” -Alaska Bears and Wolves […]

  3. […] Polar Bear Season Photography Highlights: Mothers, Cubs, Landscapes, & Blizzards! —Alaska Bears and Wolves […]

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