Expedition to the Arctic! | EXPOSED Wildlife Photography | EP 10


My name is John E. Marriott, join me for a
whirlwind journey through 20 years of adventures to the incredible Canadian
Arctic. I’ve been privileged enough to have been there 16 times, in this episode
I want to expose you to some of my favourite images as well as to the
dangers and potential disasters that can await when you venture north, way north,
in search of polar bears, muskox, and more. One of the hardest parts about going to
the Arctic is the cost. It can actually be cheaper to buy a first-class ticket from LA to New York than to fly directly into Iqaluit, Inuvik, or Igloolik. So when
the chance to go north and brave the elements fell into my lap in 1998 when a
tour company offered me a job as a photo guide for polar bears, in Churchill Manitoba, and offered to pay my way up there, I leapt at the opportunity. I came home from that trip with a newfound respect for photographing in Canada’s
Arctic. It was freaking cold up there. We spent most of the week holed up in the bus-like Tundra buggies out on the frozen tundra near Churchill in minus 30
to minus 40 degree weather. It was so cold that there were days that the film was cracking as I was trying to load it into the camera. But, I still managed to
come home with a few good images, and a desire to return back north as soon as I
could. I had to wait another four years until
2002 before I was able to afford another trip north. This time I drove up the
Dempster Highway in the northern Yukon across the Arctic Circle and into the
Northwest Territories, in the middle of summer. Unfortunately it wasn’t great
time a year to see wildlife and worse yet one of my wide-angle lenses was
broken the whole trip and I didn’t even know it, so I came home with hardly any good images. Almost a decade later in 2010 I finally got to go to the High Arctic for first time, well beyond the Arctic Circle, when it took a tour group to the spectacular flow edge off the north
coast of Baffin Island. Getting there was half the battle. I jumped on a plane in Calgary and flew three hours east to Ottawa, then got on a different plane and
flew three hours north to Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut, got on a different
plane again and flew another three hours north to the northern end of Baffin
Island to Pond Inlet. From there in 24 hours of sunlight we jumped in the back of Komatiqs, which are basically just wooden sleds pulled by snowmobiles, and we drove 70 kilometers out onto the sea ice. The trip felt like one of the most dangerous and thrilling adventures I had ever been on at that point in my career. We had to continuously jump open cracks in the ice, which is incredibly
nerve-racking when you’re riding in a plywood box behind a snowmobile. But the danger didn’t end there. We set up camp where the sea ice meets the open Arctic Ocean, and had to have a polar bear guide set up 24/7 to make sure that a bear didn’t walk into our midst and tear into one of the tents. The goal of
that trip was to photograph polar bears, narwhals, and icebergs. But just
because you’re up in the Arctic at the right time of year and the right terrain
doesn’t mean that you’re gonna have any luck. We saw 24 polar bears in that trip,
but couldn’t get close to any of them. We also saw a lot of narwhals but because of a poorly formed floe edge that year, the hunting pressure on the narwhals
was so great that we couldn’t get close to them either. Thankfully, the icebergs
did cooperate and we managed to get some pretty stunning images of these
spectacular frozen ice giants In the years since that flow edge trip I’ve
realized that you really do have to expect the unexpected when you’re in the
Canadian Arctic. Something almost always goes sideways with logistics, wildlife, or
the weather. When I flew north with a small group to photograph polar bears at a remote camp on the tundra near Arviat Nunavut in 2012, the wind was howling so
badly that we lost an entire day of the trip because planes couldn’t get in or
out of the camp. That same year we had a glorious week full of polar bears the
first week of November, and then hardly any polar bears in the second week. And
when people are paying 8,000 bucks for a polar bear photography trip, that’s a
problem. The only polar bear anyone got close to in the second half of the last week was one that got very close. It got through the electric fencing and right into the compound in the middle of the night. Thankfully nobody got hurt and the
guides safely got the bear back out again. In 2014 I experienced another side of
the arctic’s unpredictability. I took a small group to the 74th parallel to
Somerset Island in the High Arctic to photograph muskox, beluga whales, and
arctic fox. It rained or snowed every single day, and the bay that we were supposed to see beluga whales in stayed frozen the entire week. We had trouble even leaving the lodge and getting out on the land because the creeks and rivers were
all swollen to five to ten times their normal size. Thankfully, using a combination of boats, Unimogs, and ATVs, we were able to find some muskox, and a
beautiful arctic fox den with 13 little pups at it. They kept us entertained for
hours while we froze our butts off laying on the frozen tundra. In 2016 I returned to the floe edge north of Baffin Island for another go at polar bears and narwhals, but this time we ran head-on into the all too obvious effects
of climate change in the Arctic. We had trouble even getting close to the edge, as the ice was cracking and splitting and was melting far earlier than it would’ve even a decade ago. We ended up having to abandon the majority of our trip and
content ourselves with some good sightings of bowhead whales, and some
distant sightings of a couple of polar bears and walrus. We didn’t see a single
narwhal and we couldn’t even leave camp for several days because of the poor ice
conditions. But despite it all I continue to plan trips year after year. The rewards when you have a glorious encounter with a polar bear or a muskox
are totally worth the risks and the logistical hurdles that can come with
travelling in the Canadian Arctic. In April 2018 I’m planning my most
ambitious trip yet to the north. Subscribe now and you can join us for
the first-ever full Arctic adventure beginning in Canada’s most northern
commercial airport at Resolute Bay followed by a snowmobile trip across the
sea ice to Bathurst Island. Human population, zero. If we’re lucky we hope to photograph arctic wolves, baby muskox, Peary caribou, and polar bears. Thanks for joining us everyone, until next time, stay warm.

31 Replies to “Expedition to the Arctic! | EXPOSED Wildlife Photography | EP 10”

  1. What about the impact on the environment by traveling so much to the Arctic? πŸ™‚ Cause sadly you can't really witness this beautiful part of the world without going by plane etc. :/

  2. Literally would be a dream come true, a knock off my bucket list to head up north the the Canadian Arctic to photograph all those amazing creatures that call the arctic home.

  3. Thank you for giving us access to great images and stories, you really connect us to these wild ecosystems. I can't wait to follow your 2018 journey!

  4. Bring back more episodes! Love this show, such incredible information and amazing to see the process behind your photography.

  5. One of the most talented (if not the most) photographer I've ever seen. You have so much potential only issue is we wait for a long time for a video to come out. :/

  6. I would give anything to make a trip with you and have the opportunity to enjoy mother nature’s show, and of course photograph it πŸ™‚

  7. Man John is is very inspiring and his videos are always in great quality keep it up John feels like im watching animal planet πŸ‘

  8. I would really like a summary of your cost$…planning to go 😊
    Thanks you for sharing πŸ‘‹
    Incredibly beautiful and inspiring πŸ‘ŒπŸ‘

  9. What a great opportunity to offer to your subscribers. A trip up north to photograph is on my bucket list. Love your content and hope to see more from you soon.

  10. I always learn something from your videos John. It's nice to see someone who points out all the possible reasons for failure instead of the usual promos that make it look as if nothing could possibly go wrong.

  11. Really .. I personally believed that you exposed some kind of unexposed things. Love this episode man..

  12. Awesome video. Here in Eastern Canada I live in the remotes and gets a lot of good footage. I lost my good cameras in a canoe mishaps so the content is good but the camera work isn't great but I am in the process of buying a new camera. https://www.topbuzz.com/profile_v2/video?pgc_id=6540711953143169546

  13. Hi! I was wondering if anyone or you John can help me out with buying a camera. I would like a body and lens for under $500 which is super tight but I can’t spend over. I’m okay with buying something used as long as it is still in working condition. I am not a beginner anymore but I’m not completely professional yet. Canon,Nikon or Sony is my preference.
    Thanks

  14. You arΓ© a great photographer, I like to watch your videos, and Id like to see more pictures on your Instagram, thanks for sharing your photos

  15. Hey John, huge fan of this series.just wondering, if you have planned release dates for the videos of this series, can I ask when the next video will be out? Also, will you be releasing the episodes in a group or like a television series?

  16. By far the best series about the wildlife and wildlife photography. Host is great, intro is perfect. Please make some more:)

  17. I don't actually understand how such kind of Documentary/Episodes gets such lower number of views and very few Subscribers for such kind of channel! People nowadays don't follow things that they should follow actually. Rest then that, you are doing outstanding job sir, and I would like to get more and more videos kinda this one! Almost finished watching every videos provided by you. Kindly keep up the good work!

  18. Please don’t forget me John I love your videos and can’t wait to see your next one! Thank You so much ❀️

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