Polar Bear attack, Journey to Churchill


The title of this post could be a bit misleading, but it is what it is.  Here is one of Winnipeg’s young Polar Bears swimming for the first time in the Journey to Churchill.  He made repeated playful attacks on the zoo onlookers while they watched through the underwater tunnel.  Amazing sight to see in person, especially if you’re in direct line of sight with camera in hand.  I didn’t get so lucky, but managed a descent shot at this angle.  A fast prime lens and a camera with good ISO performance is certainly the way to go.  It’s a very tough photographic situation shooting through very thick plexiglass and cloudy water.

I’ve experimented with a variety of lenses and settings, this was shot with a 5D markIII and 24-70 f 2.8, I’ve had good luck with 24 and 35 f1.4 lenses as well, don’t bother with longer lenses as the cloudy water will degrade the image quality quickly.  Shutter speeds range from 1/800 and up using servo focus tracking.  Try shooting were the glass is flat and block stray light with your hand.  With a fast lens you could try a polarizer to reduce reflections, but bare in mind you will lose upto 2 stops of light.  I set ISO on auto, but will manually adjust it if I have time and the bears are in the right location.  If you have time and are patient, find the best position with good frontal lighting and wait, it’s better than chasing them around.  Good luck.


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