Ice trekking and wildlife photography in the Canadian High Arctic
What does it take to get on the list of those who have tramped across the tundra at the top of the world? Desire, mostly. And a little help from Amos Nachoum and Big Animals Expeditions.
In mid-April, our arctic wildlife photography expedition travels by snowmobile and dog sled with Inuit guides across the magnificent Canadian Arctic. Our goal: to photograph polar bear families as they emerge from three months in their snow den. Mama Bear is very hungry, and she’s got a couple of Baby Bears who have not yet seen the sun. (Papa Bear, who’s usually twice as big as Mama, took off long ago, and that’s a good thing…this is not a nuclear family kind of animal.) The mother bear will spend a couple of weeks letting the cubs get used to being outside: they’re learning to walk and play, and while they’re stumbling and rolling around, she’ll graze on available vegetation, but that’s probably just to have something to do (not a lot of nutrition in plants for a polar bear). The real dining takes place when mother and cubs head out to the floe edge, and park themselves next to blow-holes in the ice, practically posing for great pictures. The bears are after seals. We’re after them.
The 18-hour days in April are perfect for spectacular wildlife photography, with long sunrises and sunsets filled with warm, golden light. Think of the images you’ll bring back, whether in your mind or in your digital camera: the Aurora Borealis…endless white landscapes and the purest blue skies…seals and whales peeking out of the water as icebergs calve in the distance…Inuit camp life…you, in a parka, with the three other guests on this trip…and of course, unforgettable portraits of polar bear individuals and families acting out the drama of apex predator life in the Arctic.
Magical? Absolutely. Possible? Even more so. All you need is desire.