My trip to Cape Churchill was an incredible experience filled with new friends and great moments that I will never forget.
I am not really a nature photographer, but I love photography and ever since I moved to Los Angeles I have enjoyed photographing the beauty of nature. Working in a new environment has broadened my scope of photography and opened my eyes to seeing things in new ways. I always mention the things that enhance our lives when I speak. The people we meet, the places we go and the books we read. Cape Churchill has changed me forever and because of that I must put this experience in a story.
Tomorrow I will photograph the second part of my Polar Bear experience and share the complete story here after publication. For now I want to discuss the Cape Churchill part of my shoot. I was invited to go on this journey by a good friend who loves photography but who is not a photographer by trade. As a matter of fact out of the seven people on the trip only two make their living as photographers, but we all share a passion for photography and travel. There were all types of camera in the group but I took my A900 bodies and the new 550 which has the ability to shoot white on white situations in an amazing manner.
To pack for the Cape Churchill trip I brought the following:
2- Sony A900 bodies
1- Sony A550 body
1- 300 2.8 lens
1- 70-400 lens
1- 24-70 lens
1- tele 2x converter
1- 24-70 lens
1-Window mount bracket with ball head
TONS of extra batteries fully charged (The cold weather drains batteries faster than normal).
I used every lens that I brought and wished I had more available. I was very happy I had so many camera as I used all of them. There were times when I had a body with the 400 and a bear would come close by and I had to grab a shorter lens, so having a body ready to go was critical to capture the shots. My new friends travel together often and have done theses types of trips all over the world so they were better prepared than I. My friends all had "Really Right Stuff" gear and I was very impressed with it so I am adding that to my Christmas list of must have gear. One of the guys on the trip has every Canon lens made and in my 23 years as a photographer I have never seen this, and he doesn't make a living as a photographer but everyone on the trip was very knowledgeable about their hobby. I was very impressed!
This was an extreme trip and once we landed in the Cape and took a helicopter to the vehicles we never touched ground again until the day we left. We spent the entire trip in the tundra vehicle's and the tundra base sleeping vehicle. Polar Bears look sweet and innocent but they are anything but so we had to be cautious at every turn. At one point in the trip our vehicle hit a hidden rock and we lost a tire. To walk outside the vehicle required shotguns and everyone looking out for polar bear. That same night one of the vehicle's went to fill up with water but got stuck in the ice. They couldn't get the vehicle out at night because it was too dangerous, so we were without running water for a night. An amazing fun filled trip all the way around and I can't wait to head out on my next adventure but in the mean time I am hard at work to spin my trip into a photo story. There is so much more to tell about this trip but this blog would turn into a mini book so I have to stop here but stay tuned for more soon.
The last two days I've been casting and tomorrow my crew will come together to shoot a story inspired by a good friend and my trip to Cape Churchill. Thanks Kevin G!
Always dream big and put your life experiences into your images!
Matthew Jordan Smith