Sunday, January 18, 2015

Polar Bears on the Hudson Bay

When to Use Your Camera:
When there's no time to sketch.  
When the subject is moving so fast that you need to freeze the action  
For intricate features, lighting or details
                  abrieviated from David Rankin's book, Fast Sketching Techniques

In David's book, he includes a few more reasons but I think the above are the ones I relate to the most.  I would add, "when you want to see more than your eye or your binoculars can reveal".
To my naked eye, and even through my binoculars, this beautiful female Polar Bear appeared to be simply walking, wandering through the tundra vegetation sniffing.  To my surprise, when I viewed an image taken with my 400 mm lens and zoomed in to take an even closer look, she was actually pulling and chewing grass.

I found this delightful.  Female Polar Bears fast during the summer and fall months, while they are denning and nursing their cubs.  They live off of the layer of blubber that they have stored beneath their black skin.  The blubber both insulates them from the cold and provides nutrition during months when there is no sea ice.  It also provides the fat-rich milk that nourishes their cubs.
My trip to Churchill, Manitoba, provided for only one day on the tundra.  I wanted to internalize that experience as much as possible and observe everything I could about the bears' behavior.  She slept. She nuzzled her cubs.  She moved slowly, conserving energy.  She stood upright to her full height and sniffed the air.  Her fur appeared soft and thick.  Her walk was a fluid movement--and though there is no known nutritional value for her, she chewed grass--while she and her cubs waited for sea ice to freeze on the Hudson Bay.  
My images remind me of what I experienced and are my guide to sketching. I'm still practicing these subtle bear shapes and enjoying the recall of watching this female with her cubs.
Polar Bears are marine mammals and carnivores, at home in the water as much as on land. They rely heavily on the ecosystem that nourishes ringed seals which in turn, provide the nutrition and blubber that Polar Bears require to survive.  Sea ice is vital to bear hunting, resting, warmth and breeding.

For more about Polar Bears and my journey to Churchill, visit Journey to Churchill at Vickie Henderson Art.

Click here for Part 1--Polar Bears on the Hudson Bay
Link to my Polar Bear video
Ecological Society of America
Ecological Applications report of decline of Polar Bears
Hudson Bay Buggies and Bears with Rail Travel Tours
Learn about Polar Bears
Hudson Bay
Eskimo Museum
History of Churchill from Churchill Science
Churchill History
the impact of sea ice decline

1 comment:

  1. Lovely polar bears and beautiful aquarelles!

    ReplyDelete

Welcome! I am glad to hear your comments, questions and feedback! Vickie

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