I really got lucky on this day photographing the Polar Bears swimming underwater at The Journey to Churchill. My wife and I have been members and visited them well over a dozen times and only seen this behaviour once.
This Polar Bear at the Journey to Churchill in Assiniboine Park Zoo, Winnipeg had just dove in and continued by in a near perfect position. I’ve patiently tried for this shot quite a few times, finally everything came together. He almost looks like he could fly, just requires a photoshopped Superman cape.
This is without a doubt one of the most memorable things i’ve ever seen. Regardless of your personal views on wildlife kept in captivity, the Journey to Churchill at Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg is an amazing facility. In collaberation with The International Polar Bear Centre also located at Winnipeg’s zoo it allows visitors a chance to view Polar Bears in a very unique way. This is Kaska an orphaned female relocated from Churchill, Manitoba after her mother was shot and killed.
Shooting through the thick curved plexiglass and the variety of lighting and reflections is very tricky, but with a fast indoor lens and a little experimentation I managed a few keepers. Images were high iso, grainy and pretty soft through the glass and water, even the best autofocus systems have trouble through 6-8 inches of curved plexiglass, but it’s more about the moment than technical perfection.
Visitors viewing Kaska
For a brief period we watched two bears play under the water.