I probably took, oh, 100 or so photographs during my most recent trip to Churchill, Manitoba - the "polar bear capital of the world" - last week. Somewhere in the region of 90 were of this sunset, as it played out over the tundra on what seemed like the only period during which the clouds parted and the visibility lifted even a little bit. For much of the rest of the time, we drove around in near-whiteout conditions, driving snow making it all but impossible at times to see more than a matter of feet in any direction. Not that there were many bears to look at anyway: conditions were very cold, more like a typical season in the beforetimes rather than in these extra-warm recent decades, and Hudson Bay froze up swiftly. As soon as it did, most of the bears were gone, out onto the sea ice to begin a fall, winter and spring of seal-eating. Given that they managed an early start, they should come off the ice next year fat and happy - good news for the bears, if not necessarily us would-be bear-watchers.
As always, I am extremey grateful to my friends at Polar Bears International for making the trip possible. I am hopeful that I will be publishing some articles about it in various publications in the coming weeks and months.