Sparring polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba.

Polar bears sparring on the Churchill Tundra. Brad Josephs photo.

Being prepared with all the right gear is the best photo tip I can offer from years of working with professional photographers in the field. If you’re not a full-time wildlife photographer that could be tricky. As we all know ,camera gear is pricey, so when going on an once -in – lifetime trip like Churchill to see polar bears, renting equipment might be the best option.

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You don’t need to spend a ton of money on different filters, meters or other accessories but you should absolutely try and acquire the longest lens you can. A 600 mm or even a 800 mm or longer lens to get up -close and personal would be optimal.

The FL 880 f/8 provides high contrast even at pictures taken at long distances.


Many times you are close enough in the polar rovers to utilize general photography lenses such as 200-400 mm telephoto types. However, to capture many of the shots like the sparring bears above from Natural Habitat guide Brad Josephs you need the longer lenses. Again, if you are not going to be using the lens on a regular basis, consider renting for the week of the trip. It’s well worth the expense to get those amazing shots. Mixing the up-close photos with the landscape and horizon shots allows you to tell a deeper more personal story with your camera.

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