Good Day!

Life is an everyday as if it were your last day!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Churchill Manitoba Polar Bear Trip November 11, 2010

As most of you know, I won a trip to Churchill Manitoba to see the Polar Bears.  Churchill has the highest density of polar bears in the world! The Calgary Herald ran a contest way back (I think it was Sept) to enter a trip to see the Polar Bears through Canadian Classic Tours.  I filled out an entry form, sent it in and  I was totally shocked when the Herald phoned me in October and said I had won.  A trip that Phil and myself had planned to do sometime down the road when we could afford it. Total value of the trip was valued at $3,400.  So as you can see, I was pretty pumped when I found out I won!

Phil and myself started our day off getting up at 3:15 am to dress and have breakfast before driving to the airport to catch our flight to Churchill.  It was suppose to leave at 6:15 am but didn't get into the air till 6:45 am.  Had a relatively smooth flight and while on board Les Stegenga our Tour Naturalist and Senior Animal keeper from the Calgary Zoo filled us in on some interesting facts about Polar Bears (see photos below of a Polar Bear skull and claw).  Did you know that  Polar bears can swim 60 miles without a rest and that they have a layer of fat which is 3 to 4.5 inches thick. This provides protection from the cold and adds to its buoyancy while in the water.  Most measure 6.5 to 10 feet long (excluding the tail) and males can weigh from 775 to 1,500 pounds, with females weighing less at around 550 pounds.

We arrived in Churchill around 10:00 am and took a 20 minute bus ride out to the Tundra Buggies. The buggies can't move fast as the terain is very rocky and marshy in some areas. Spent about 5 hours on the buggy taking pictures and enjoying the scenery.  As you will notice from the photos below the weather was overcast and dull and we had a small blizzard starting to blow in late in the afternoon. I was trying out my new Nikon D7000 camera and had to bump my ISO settings up abit to compensate for the poor lighting conditions.  I would say we had about 3 good hours of picture taking and after that it started to get very dark and was pitch black by 4:30.  Spent about 45 minutes in the small town of Churchill buying souviners and headed back to the airport.  Lots of snow was starting to fall and the wind was causing snow to build up on the runway.  We had to wait about 40 minutes for the runway to be cleared but didn't mind as we enjoyed free wine from the airline hostessess. Finally took off around 8:00 pm and arrived home around 9:00 pm (one hour time change).  It was a long day but well worth it.  I was amazed at some of my shots and have posted them for you to veiw.  Thanks to Canadian Classic Tours and the Calgary Herald.  An adventure of a lifetime!
Arriving in Churchill, lots of snow!

Preparing to get on board the Tundra Buggies, check out those tires!

Tundra Buggies on the move, starting to snow heavy in the afternoon!

Polar Bear.... yawning perhaps.

Mom and cub bear

One of the larger Polar Bears we saw.
Bear posing.

Mom and cub on the move.

Bear at the buggy, compare it to the tire which is about 5 feet tall!

Bear checking out one of the buggies..

Polar Bear face, looks cute but very dangerous!

Polar Bear on ice.  This is my favorite shot!
Posing prehaps!

Looking for something.
Loping bear!

Big bear walking

Big bear on the move. Check out those paws and claws!

Bear sleeping with Hudson Bay in the background

Polar Bear with the Hudson's Bay in the background.

Relaxing is tough on the tundra!

Two bears having fun.... maybe?

Sleeping bear closeup. Looks peaceful.

White Ptarmigan's the one and only bird we saw!  Very hard to get a picture...notice how they blend in.

White Ptarmigan with the face turned away...looks funny!

Skull from a Polar Bear

Front skull profile

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Millennium Park October 31, 2010

Skimming across the rail

Air shot

Cruising down the middle

Balancing act!

Panning for a shot

Just learning!

Caught in mid air!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Day in Bragg Creek, October 14, 2010

 Spent a day in Bragg Creek capturing photos for my finally assignment for my Scenic & Wildlife class. It was a beautiful fall day in Bragg Creek.