The photographer: Steve Fritts of Citrus Heights
Behind the lens: My wife, Donna, and I have always been fascinated by animals in the wild. Last November, we embarked on our most unusual and exciting adventure, viewing the magnificent polar bears on their yearly migration to the ice cap of the northern Canadian wilderness.
Our base was Churchill, Manitoba, a small rustic town on the edge of huge Hudson Bay. Our daily excursions into the icy tundra included helicopter flights, dogsleds and the lumbering 37-passenger tundra vehicles. Our party of 11 had plenty of room to scurry back and forth to catch the bears doing their activities.
The most interesting ones were the younger bears, a year or two old, often siblings, play fighting with each other. The mother was sometimes nearby, and the older males explored alone for food.
The polar bear fears nothing, being the largest animal on the tundra, and anything that moved, or not, was subject to being eaten. Our guides constantly reminded us that out there we were dinner if we went outside the vehicle!
The scenery was wondrous, the temperature just right, so that you could actually see the ice form before your eyes. Of course, the stars were the bears, gigantic fur-covered lumbering creatures that were well adapted for the climate.