A collection of winter activities and scenes from Churchill (Manitoba) captured on 16mm film. It’s pretty fun to look back at some of these vintage moments in time in the polar bear capital of the world!
What a cool moon shot over Inuvik, N.W.T. in the early afternoon. The light in the Arctic is like nowhere else on the planet and plays with the eye…especially in the winter. Every scene takes on an ethereal feel and presence that transcends time. Simplicity becomes an enigma as you travel north and above. Beautiful shot!
November 19 – Warm temperatures and light winds continued today. As the day progressed, conditions became foggy for periods and ultimately soft snow fell near the end of the day. On the tundra, many seals were spotted along the coastline. Polar bears, however, were not seen either on land or on the sea ice. An unusual sighting of an enormous flock of more than 150 ptarmigan kept photographers busy for quite a while. The highlight today, though, was an early morning sighting of two tundra wolves, one black and one gray, seen by groups leaving town at first light. This bear season has been exceptional for wolf sightings; most years no wolves are spotted.
November 20 – It was another snowy day with high winds and cold temperatures. Visibility was reduced to just a few hundred feet for much of the afternoon. Polar bears were not spotted, and very few smaller animals were encountered in the storm. Helicopters were grounded, and all but the main roads in town were closed due to drifting. The storm stopped abruptly at 8 pm, and by 10 pm, groups were gathered outside to enjoy a beautiful northern lights display.
November 17 – Last night the aurora came out for a short period, and many people came out to witness it. Added to the experience were brief sightings of Arctic fox, red fox, silver fox, and even a pine marten. Today, low clouds, heavy snow, and periods of fog made for a difficult day of wildlife watching. No bears were spotted and smaller animals generally remained elusive. Some helicopters were able to get up early before the storm in the morning and reported more than 20 bears seen out on the ice, including family groups.
November 16 – It was a great time for everyone out on the tundra today. There was one male polar bear out at the ponds near one of the Tundra Lodges that made the day. It came over to each and every tundra vehicle and smelled everyone’s feet through the metal mesh decks. Then it napped for an hour or so, got up and did it all over again. Ptarmigan and fox were also spotted. It was an exceptional day for those riding on helicopters as well. Countless bears were seen on the sea ice and several families were spotted. A silver fox has been observed for the past several mornings in town. Very light winds made the wildlife viewing very manageable, with temperatures above 0°F.
November 15 – Churchill was greeted with partly sunny skies today, with mild temperatures and light winds. Travelers spent the entire day watching bears on the ice. There were nine in total, including two families with cubs. Mostly they were at a distance, but the action was good. Some groups witnessed a male bear kill and eat a seal. Another male polar bear was following the cubs around. The day ended with red fox and gyrfalcon coming very close to the tundra vehicles.