World class ground level polar bear photography tour designed to offer the serious photographer the very best chances to capture stunning eye level polar bear photography in small five person groups.
The location is Churchill Manitoba. Churchill is home to the largest concentration of polar bears in the world. Relax and let Michael & Julia Bertelsen organize your meals accommodations and pickup at the Churchill airport. Michael Bertelsen is a trained and very experienced Manitoba licensed guide with WMA permits. Michael has worked with National Geographic, Love Nature as well as BBC Films. He will offer you the very finest possibilities to capture stunning images of the animals that call Northern Canada home.
This is more than just a Polar Bear Photography Workshop. Cross, silver, red and arctic fox photography is also possible along with ptarmigan, arctic hare, snowy owls, gyrfalcon, wolf and even a small chance for wolverine.
Quality Not Quantity
Small groups of 5 photographers shooting on the ground, thus allowing:
- The ability to move and choose a better background or angle
- Overall feeling of the workshop is more intimate
- Feel more in tune with the surroundings and its species
The Churchill lodge is exclusive to our small group of photographers. Each room has a private 3-piece bath and refrigerator along with comfortable beds and individual thermostats for personal preference. There is a communal kitchen and room for gathering and working on images and sharing stories about the day.
Quiet times are between 9pm and 5:30am (no doors slamming & people talking in the hallways) thus allowing everyone a restful sleep.
Safety and Experience
Michael has 13 years experience guiding and guarding photographers for Polar Bears. 5 years was spent in Northern Hudson Bay working and learning from Inuit guides. Understanding bear patterns and behaviour is the key to success and safety. Michael carries a firearm for your safety.
Wide angle lens for landscapes & northern lights. Your most used focal length for wildlife will be in the range of 300 to 600mm. If possible bring 2 camera bodies and a sturdy tripod.
Temperatures range from +2C to -20C during this time.
- Insulated boots
- Warm winter coat
- Insulated pants to wear over your inside pants
- Large warm mitts
- Thin gloves you can use camera buttons with
- Warm hat and wool socks
Low to medium level of fitness is required. Very short walks in snow depth of less than a foot. Icy conditions may occur. Bathroom breaks are available throughout the day.
Morning fly from Winnipeg to Churchill, Manitoba. Michael & Julia will pick you up at the Churchill airport and take you directly to the private lodge. Once arriving at the lodge, Coffee, tea, and a light snack is provided along with a short safety and orientation and some winter photography tips before you head out in search of polar bears. That evening a dinner is planned at one of Churchill’s finer restaurants.
Early breakfast then at first light we are out in search for polar bears and other arctic wildlife in a 4X4 Tundra van with aggressive tires that carry 5 photographers very comfortably. All photography is on the ground. Landscape photography is also offered if light and clouds permit the opportunity. Break for a short lunch in the field. Driving back to town wastes too much of an already short day. Dinner together and review the day. Northern lights are a possibility when the sky is clear. Michael will offer an in-field Aurora Borealis workshop.
Breakfast then more polar bear photography in the morning. Midday, Michael, and Julia will take you to the Churchill airport where you will fly back to Winnipeg.
All WMA permits and licenses.
Personalized photography instruction always offered.
Use of communal kitchen and common room.
Trips to the town of Churchill to pick lunch and snacks to have in the field.
6 Day trip includes 5 nights accommodations. 5 Days of photography (4 full and 2 half days)
7 Day trip includes 6 nights accommodations. 6 days of photography (5 full days and 2 half days).
Not included: Alcoholic drinks, Hotel rooms in Winnipeg, All flights to and from Churchill, Lunch and Dinner. Please join Michael and Julia for every meal. Michael has lots of good stories and bad jokes to share with you.
Available Dates & Pricing
October 14 - 20, 2023
7 Day Trip
October 20-25, 2023
6 Day Trip
October 25-30, 2023
6 Day Trip
Oct 30 - Nov 4, 2023
6 Day Trip
November 4 - 10, 2023
7 Day Trip
November 10-15, 2023
6 Day Trip
Please contact me if you are interested in 2024 dates.
6 Day Trip
Cost $5,395.00 cdn funds + 5% Manitoba tax
$1,500.00 cdn deposit required at time of booking.
Remaining amount of $3,750.00 cdn due 90 days prior to departure date.
Single occupancy available for an additional $1,175.00 + 5% Manitoba tax.
7 Day Trip
Cost $6300.00 cdn funds + 5% Manitoba tax
$2000.00 cdn non-refundable deposit required at time of booking.
Remaining due 90 days prior to departure date.
Single occupancy available for an additional $1,380.00 + 5% Manitoba tax.
Payment, Registration and Refund Policy
A deposit is required to reserve your spot. Once the deposit is received your spot on the trip is confirmed, and an email that includes a detailed itinerary will be sent to you. Balance in full is due 3 months before the tour start date. A reminder will be sent to you via email, but it is the sole responsibility of the participant to remember this due date. If the balance is not received in time, we will attempt to fill your spot from the waiting list. If the spot is filled, you will receive a credit towards another trip of your choice. Fees are based upon double occupancy. Single rooms can be arranged for an additional cost if they are available. We do our best to pair participants up with a roommate, but if a roommate is not found, the single occupant will be charged for the single supplement. Checks can be made payable to Wild Outdoors Limited and sent to Michael Bertelsen P.O Box 1012, Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, R0B0E0. Payment can be made through Paypal (add 3.5% surcharge) or e-transfer
Whenever travelling with Wild Outdoors Photography travel insurance and health insurance is highly recommended.
Wild Outdoors Photography does not accept responsibility for any losses or additional expenses due to delay or changes in air or other services, sickness, weather, strike or other causes. The tour participants shall bear all such losses and expenses. Wild Outdoors Photography will take all reasonable steps to ensure that services provided are of high standard. Wild Outdoors Photography will not accept liability for physical injury, loss, damage or expense resulting from circumstances beyond our control. By agreeing to participate in a Wild Outdoors Photography workshop, each participant agrees to release, indemnify and hold harmless Wild Outdoors Photography, its agents, employees, shareholders, directors, attorneys, and contractors as more completely set forth in the liability waiver that will be provided. The waiver must be signed and received by Wild Outdoors Photography prior to participation.
Contact Michael if you have further questions or to check availability and to request a booking.
"An Exciting and Fantastic Trip"
It was an exciting and fantastic trip. You and Julia did a fantastic job making all of us feel at home and comfortable in Churchill. My guys couldn’t be happier. In fact you were able to put together a group that was fantastic. I am still missing my daily poached eggs!! BTW, I am getting some great shots but the silver fox on Saturday afternoon was not the same fox we saw in the week! Please keep in touch.
– Bill B.
"The Photo Opportunities Were Fantastic"
Michael, A short note to say THANKS! I had a great time. The photo opportunities were fantastic. Your help on where to stand or kneel was invaluable in taking some great photos. Let the post processing begin.
– Randy S
"Exceeded My Requirements"
In my opinion, a great photography guide is knowledgeable not only about the area visited, but how to best capture a given subject. In addition, they must be able to make people feel comfortable with their settings and with each other. You guys exceeded each of my requirements. I look forward to having another fantastic experience with you in the future!
"So Many Memorable Photo Ops"
I am a first time participant in one of Michael’s workshops and boy did I luck out and choose the right one. First of all, I am veteran of photography workshops and this was by far one of the best for many reasons which I will summarize. We had a small group of wonderful people who got along extremely well (large groups are hard to shoot with). The transportation and lodging was prearranged including airport pickup personally. He arranged our wonderful meals and he was our driver, guide, bear guard and entertainer all in one. Michael is extremely affable and easy to talk to and ask questions and he pointed out tips in technique when necessary. He always ensured we got first crack at the shots before he even pulled out his camera. Foremost, he is an honest and ethical nature photographer. We had such a great time together and had so many memorable photo ops that I am going to sign up for more of his workshops. Thank you Michael!
– Karl C.