Polar bears…on foot…with me!

Polar bears…on foot…with me!

As ever, it seems an eternity since I’ve sat down and been able to put a blog piece together, but, finally, here in the sanctity of London’s Natural History Museum, I’ve managed to drag out the laptop and put keyboard to screen, as it were (not quite as romantic as pen to paper….but, hey, it works!).

There’s been a quite a lot going on over the last few months, as regular visitors to the facebook page will have seen, and my photo trips to Uganda and Brazil have both proved very successful.

The first set of images from the former will be on public show for the first time in Harrogate in November, when I exhibit at the Art Fair there (more on that in a future post), but one will beat that deadline by going up for auction this Friday at the David Shepherd annual black-tie dinner at the Dorchester.

The image in question, “Clinging On” is only limited to 5 copies, with the sole aim of raising extra funds for our friends at DSWF.

Andy SkillenElsewhere, on the news front, I am able to share with you now that I will be leading a photographic tour with Churchill Wild in Manitoba next November.

Our aim is to be out on foot, face to face (don’t worry… we have armed protection!) with the world’s biggest carnivore to get truly exclusive photo opportunities.

I’ve put a link to more information about the tour in general at the bottom of this post, but in a nutshell, if you’ve ever wanted to take photos of polar bears… then this is THE way to do it.

Sure, you can stand on the back of a tundra buggy whilst they drive you round and point at bears sleeping in the distance; you can wrestle your camera onto the viewing decks and point down onto their heads when they get close; you can even watch them paw at the windows as they become steadily habituated to the buggy’s presence.

As you can see, I’m not a fan – I’m not saying it’s not the right thing for many people: the experience of seeing a wild polar bear is exhilarating in any format or location, and the affordability of such trips is far greater.

However, if this is a “once in a lifetime” quest, then you simply cannot beat that encounter on foot. Imagine yourself crouching down and holding your breath as a huge male bear ambles past you, giving you a casual glance as he does so!

The photo possibilities by being on foot are also unsurpassed.

You can choose your angle, your posture (do I lay down? Do I stand upright?), in fact, you can choose anything else you want to photograph when there’s no bear around!

I’ve had great encounters with arctic foxes (as you’ve probably seen in the newspapers and on this site), ptarmigan, caribou to name but a few.

This is a real adventure for the individual or couple looking for a real tundra experience.

After reaching Churchill, we transfer onto a charter plane that flies us north up the western edge of the Hudson Bay to Seal River Lodge.

After landing literally in the snow, we use this fantastic facility as our base for the next four days and head out on foot to capture all the wildlife we can during that period.

In the evenings, around hot fires and with a glass (or 3!) of wine in hand, we can relive the day’s adventures, keep an eye out for any late night northern light shows, and plan our following day’s activity.

At the time of year we are there, bears (and sometimes mothers with yearling cubs) are migrating north, right past our base as they seek frozen sea ice. We are essentially in “Bear Alley” for the week!

Of course, I will be on hand to make sure you get the most from your camera gear, and, more importantly, the experience in general as we seek to capture something unique that you will treasure forever.

Have a look at the link below, and feel free to contact me if you have any more questions. The trip can be booked directly with Churchill Wild – I will be leading the trip that runs from the 14-20 November.

Although it’s a year away… the number of people that get this opportunity every year is very limited, so if you’re planning your 2016 adventures now… then get this one on your radar!

I’ll also be leading some other very photo-focused tours next year too, with Alaska, Zambia, Uganda and Brazil amongst the destinations. More on this in a future post. Keep checking with facebook for the latest announcements.

Cheers for now!