Adventures in the Polar Bear Captial of the World with the Holga 135BC


A glimpse of the people, landscapes, and soul of the Canadian Arctic through my favorite camera, the Holga 135BC. This trusty plastic bodied companion has combated and made it through -50 degree weather, howling winds, and sea salt laden air. It has traveled to the middle of the Tundra to capture countless midnight suns, migrating bears, and beluga whales, the Canadian husky sled dogs, and the adventures of local arctic dwellers. Welcome to my home away from home, the most magical place on earth!

For the last 5 years, I have been migrating through northern Manitoba to a tiny community called ‘Churchill’ situated on the shores of Hudson Bay. Churchill is the “polar bear capital of the world” as several polar bears gather by the shore as they await the great freeze of Hudson Bay (that’s right! it gets so cold that the ocean freezes!) which allows them to journey on further north. The gathering of bears begins around the middle of October, and extends to the middle of November. During this time, tourists from all over the world flock to Churchill and cram into ‘Tundra Buggys’ to watch the bears and experience the magic of the North. The town itself doubles during the “Bear Season”, which means the restaurants and hotels need helping hands to see the season through. That is where I come in. I started out as a seasonal worker and ended up being a temporary resident. The eccentric locals, the beauty of the bay, the bears, the belugas, the northern skies, the northern lights, these things have captured my heart. Churchill has become a home away from home.

A poem I wrote inspired by the Arctic Sea:

Arctic Sea deliver me, from the fire burning me
I’m a stranger under your spell
No time for secrets, no time to tell

In your waves of dancing ice, your seasons change and you survive
Wisdom winter, sings of spring, summers chorus, falls refrain

Arctic Sea, deliver me
Your body’s moving, your body’s free
The wind is howling an ancient song
The lights are dancing old souls strong

The white owl watches from dusk to dawn
Colors from the old world gone

Arctic Sea, I plunge to thee
I’ll be brave, I’ll dive deep

If I die, I’ll be brave
Before I wake, I’ll be brave
From this sleep, my soul to keep
I’ll be brave, I’ll dive deep

When all is frozen, all is lost
A kiss of death in mornings frost
I’ll go up, with the great white bear…
Who will win? truth or dare?

A truthful hunger, a daring game
To survive, is its name

Arctic Sea, I’m on my knees
Give me peace, hear my plea
A blissful snowfall, my heart will stay
On the shore of Hudson’s Bay

The Holga 135BC will veil your images in mystery. “BC” stands for “Black Corner”, as this camera creates a shadowy vignette in corners of your photos. See this mysterious beauty in our Shop!

written by dreamgiver on 2011-09-19 #places #nature #landscape #location #arctic #select-type-of-location #escape-from-the-city


  1. thornohrfinn
    thornohrfinn ·

    Excellent!! I love the photos and the poem!

  2. jenguin
    jenguin ·

    Great article, these pictures are beautiful. I wanted to ask how you kept your Holga and film safe in such extreme cold conditions? I am heading to the North of Finland in just over a week and really want to take some Holga pics, but I'm concerned about the film snapping (I've heard that can happen) or damaging the camera. Any tips?

  3. lcf
    lcf ·

    This is incredible

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