This image is the fruit of great patience and perseverance. For Steven Barger his first polar bear trek did not go quite as he anticipated. He planned an eight day trip to Wapusk National Park, located in Manitoba, along Hudson Bay. Wapusk is one of the largest polar bear denning areas in the world.
Steven spend the six days in the frigid cold with his camera trained on a polar bear den. During that time, he saw no bears. In fact he did not see anything at all. He says he was thinking “…boy this is not one of my better choices.” Finally on the seventh day a bear poked its head out of the den. Steven was elated, this is what he had come for-Polar Bears. He snapped several pictures.
When he got back to his lodge his happiness drained away. He viewed the images on his computer screen and found that they were absolutely terrible. He says they looked as if the bear’s head was on a white platter. It was a laughable composition and of no value. Steven says these seven days were simply psychologically devastating.
Despite the angst of the previous days, on the eighth and final day of the trip, Steven again trekked out to the bear den and set up his camera. Waiting there in the frigid temperatures, his patience and perseverance were finally rewarded. A mama bear and her two cubs emerged from the den and came into full view. So after seven long, cold days he was able to take the photos he had imagined.
Polar Bear Info
Pregnant polar bears dig what is known as a maternity den into the snow. The cubs are birthed during the winter months and emerge with their mother during February and March. Polar bear mothers can give birth to up to four cubs. During the first few months after leaving the den, the cubs stay close to their mother. It takes some time for newborn cubs to develop strength in their back legs. Often the newborns will climb on their mother’s back while walking. Cubs will remain with their mother for three years before leaving to be on their own.
Nature Photographer Steven and his wife Suzanne Barger have travelled to many places to photograph wildlife. One of the greatest challenges they face is the difficulties of getting to the remote locations where they want to photograph wildlife. The length of travel time, the varied modes of transportation required, and the limitations on luggage space, all impact their ability to arrive at the desired location. Some places that they have visited are so remote that they must go along when supplies (and/or garbage) are being transported into and out of the area. All of these factors, along with the subject matter, make these pictures amazing.
A wide range of Steven Barger’s photography is available at Purple Paisley, Local Artisan Shop. We hope to have Steven and Suzanne in again to provide a talk about their travels – the journey itself as well as the events resulting in the images. The next time you are in the shop, look at some of his works and try to imagine how he got to the locale and then how he got the photo!