Sunday, March 16, 2014

2014 Polar Bear Safari Days 5-10

Polar Bear Blog Day 5
Today the temperature warmed up to 0 degrees. The cub came out again and all was good until we looked at our images. Across the board 20 photographers had blurry images. The cold of the snow hit the warmth of the air and it created a heat shimmer and all of our images were “soft”.  They may be acceptable for a photo album, but not even close to the tack sharp images that we are looking for. Thankfully in the evening the weather cooled down and the mother and cub came out for a few minutes to check us out. The light wasn’t great, but it was nice to see them interact for a couple minutes so we could get a few images for the portfolio.

My images polar bear cub images from this safari can be found on my wildlife photography website

Day 6
Today we had a blizzard. The bears didn’t come out of the den. For that matter we aren’t even sure that they are still there. It was in the -40’s with a really strong wind. Hopefully it will clear up for tomorrow.  Today I spent the entire day in the van. Even if the bears did come out, I wouldn't be able to get clear images through that blizzard anyway. The video however shows just how miserable it was today.

Day 7:
No bears today. The den we were photographing the bears at was completely blown over. As it turns out the bears had left before we got there on day five and we were staring at an empty den in the blizzard all day. Today we drove around and opted to come home early. There is a den to the south on Luvit lake but it is 8 miles away and will take 90 minutes to get to.
We’re going to check it out tomorrow. On a bright note, the northern lights were fantastic! I have been setting my alarm and waking up a couple times each evening to check them out and this was the best northern lights evening.

Day 8:
The lunch bus broke down so we all piled into three vans and headed out. We traveled an hour and forty minites to the den site on Luvit Lake. At the den the mom peeked her head out for a couple seconds twice and the cub peeked out for a few seconds three times as well. We are hoping there are at least twins in that den. We’ll see.

Day 9 and 10 consisted of pretty much the same thing. An hour and forty minute drive out to the den, an hour and forty minute back from the den and 8 hours of staring at a hole in the snow in between. On day 9 when we came back and noticed that there were no footprints in the snow I had a sinking feeling that we were going to have a couple unproductive days. I would suspect that the other photographers may spend a few more days just staring at a hole in the snow with the ocassional “peek-a-boo”. The good news for them is that the bears have a long way to travel from that den site, so they may be able to catch up with her again at some point after she leaves her den.
This is what a den opening looks like before the mom and cub(s)  come out.
We stared at this hole for three days. A few heads popped out, but that's it. In
the next day to a week a mother and cub(s) will come out of that hole and the
cub will see the outside world for the first time.

The day after we left the other photographers only saw a couple short peeks from the mom or cub. There still hasn't been word on how many cubs are in that den.

Partly due to the lack of polar bear sightings, I went out each evening to check on the northern lights. I had some success and they too are on my nature photography website.

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