Inexperienced grass, blue skies and polar bears.
It isn’t a mix many individuals image when pondering of the burly creatures in Canada’s Arctic, but it surely’s one which was captured by Martin Gregus. His breathtaking and intimate pictures of polar bears having fun with the summer time solar earned him one among wildlife pictures’s most prestigious honours.
This week the Vancouver man received the Rising Star Portfolio Award on the Pure Historical past Museum’s 2021 Wildlife Photographer of the 12 months competitors, a prize given to younger photographers aged 18 to 26. His work shall be featured on the London, U.Ok., museum and later toured around the globe.
“It was only a dream come true,” he instructed CTV Nationwide Information of successful the award. “I have been doing pictures since I used to be eight years previous.”
Gregus and his workforce, which included his assistant and a bear guard, travelled to Hudson Bay for 13 days in 2020 and 20 days in 2021 to stand up shut and private with the native wildlife.
“We managed to doc some unbelievable behaviours, and it was so thrilling simply waking up within the morning and seeing these bears proper in entrance of your window,” he stated.
Nevertheless it’s not nearly being in the correct place on the proper time, in accordance with Gregus. A part of the work includes avoiding interference with the animals and permitting them to get accustomed to your presence — one thing that’s evident in one among his pictures, which contains a mom nursing two of her cubs.
“I get goosebumps excited about it,” he stated of the picture. “[It was] very intimate, and that is simply hours and hours of homework you set in with these bears to kind of introduce them to you.”
Different photos from the successful set included two feminine polar bears taking part in in shallow water, together with an grownup taking a day nap within the grass with a cub.
Lots of the pictures have been taken with using drones, which let Gregus observe the encircling wildlife whereas maintaining his distance.
It wasn’t all the time really easy, nevertheless, maintaining the bears at bay. Tenting within the wilderness and not using a lavatory in sight can depart an individual somewhat uncovered.
“Each time you’ll want to go, you are taking a gun with you and also you simply exit and discover a good space and also you conceal there and infrequently polar bears go by,” Gregus stated.
Gregus needed to beat out a large discipline to win his award.
“Wildlife Photographer of the 12 months is the world’s largest wildlife pictures competitors. It has been working for 57 years,” Natalie Cooper, competitors choose and senior researcher on the Pure Historical past Museum, instructed CTV Nationwide Information. “We had over 50,000 entries this yr and we needed to then slender these down to simply 100.”
The competitors this yr included awards in 19 classes and likewise provided plenty of commendations.
“What we’re on the lookout for is technically wonderful pictures however actually stunning pictures as properly, so issues that make you cease and suppose and wish to preserve taking a look at them,” she stated. “We’re additionally all for issues which have a narrative behind them, too.”
Gregus additionally wasn’t the one Canadian to be acknowledged for his wildlife pictures.
Gil Wizen of Mississauga, Ont., received two awards. One was within the “Behaviour: Invertebrates” class, for his close-up of a spider within the midst of weaving with its webbing. Two extra of his pictures acquired commendations beneath this class.
His second award was within the “City Wildlife” class, the place he photographed a big Brazilian wandering spider, seemingly guarding its new child brood, after discovering them beneath the mattress he was sleeping on.
Shane Kalyn of Vancouver additionally received an award within the “Behaviour: Birds” class for his close-up of two courting ravens.
Celina Chien was recommended within the “Photojournalism” class for her image of a Bornean orangutan gripping the bars between enclosures at a zoo, and Nichole Vijayan was recommended within the “11-14 Years” class for her picture of an jap bluebird feeding its chick.