Stopping in at the Igloolik airport for refueling on the way up to Resolute Bay.
Welcome to Igoolik!
Landing at Pond Inlet. Breathtaking from the first step!
Entering the Pond Inlet Airport. These northern airports are such a contrast to the big southern airports, and so much more fun than the hectic pace down south.
The low evening sun casts a warm glow over the community of about 1,500 people.
The sun was just starting to hide below thwe horizon slightly when we arrived at Pond Inlet and made for some great lighting.
A river runs through the hamlet, adding the ambiance of the Pond Inlet. Of course the fantastic background didn't hurt either!
A couple of local Inuit boys walking around.
A couple of boys curious about what we were up to. Their friendliness was just the tip of the iceberg as we were to discover that folks in Pond all seemed to be like that.
The first evening in Pond. Our flight arrived around 8pm, but the late light allowed James Smedley and I to get settled in and still have enough time to explore until about 1am.
Looking across to Sirmilik National Park on Bylot Island. What a magical place.
Enookie Inuarak of Parks Canada and I chatting about the trip plans.
Passing icebergs on our way up to Tay Bay on Bylot Island. Tay Bay is a 5 hour boat ride from Pond Inlet. It takes a great effort to explore up here, and working with Carey Elverum, Sirmilk National Park Superintendant as a Parks Canada volunteer was integral to making this leg of my journey a reality. Thanks Carey!
The beautiful and ever-changing forms of an iceberg.
I love ot mix in filming on my treks as there is just no possible way to paint everything I see. Yet all these experiences while travelling feed my art and help me to know my subject more intimately. Not only does this lead to doumentaries, but playing the footage itself in the studio while I paint brings back memories of being there.
The mountains along the Bylot Island change dramatically as we boated past them. This rock formation caught my eye in particular and made me think of a desert.
The foggy skies made a backdrop that really set of the blues of this recently split iceberg.
Stopping for coffee on a long boat ride.
James Smedley filming as we head out from Pond Inlet. I met James back in 2001 during my Coast To Canvas project.
A Polar Bear waking along the shore as we approached the mouth of Tay Bay.
The 3rd Polar Bear we saw while entering Tay Bay. This one had just exited the water from a swim. As the tide drops, the rocks are covered in green slim, making it almost impossible to walk on them But this guy had no problem. What a beast!
One of numerous gulls hanging around as there was a nesting colony nearby.
The view on the way into Tay Bay looking to the north. Awesome.
Yet another Polar Bear on the way into Tay Bay! This one was number 4. All in the space of about 10 -15 minutes. Even our Inuit park staff, raised in Pond Inlet and around bears all their lives, were surprised at such a dense concentration of them.
James grabbed this great head shot of one of the Polar Bears swimming. The bears swim with complete ease as their fur helps them to float.
Ever though already wet, this bear decided to dry off his head a bit with a shake.
James photographing some of the stunning surroundings.
An old whale bone on the beach.
Enjoying a bit of evening light catching the mountains.
Setting up camp on the beach. The entrance to Tay Bay is beyond the point and to the left,whicih is where we saw the bears swimming. After seeing 4 bears, Brian and Enookie set up a large electric fence for added safety.
Rows of wire being strung as part of the fence set up.
Camp all set, with a fabulous view. My Sony EX1 in the foreground ran during the entire set up to capture a nice timelapse of the process and the changing light.
The sun setting over our Tay Bay camp on Bylot Island.
Camp all set its finally time for dinner, or is it breakfast? What do you call a meal at 1am?
As we prepared to turn in, at about 2am, we noticed a little problem arising. Rising is actually more like it as a steram began to flow through camp and threatened to soak our tents. But there was no stream nearby. The culprit was the rising tide. As the oceans level rose, it seeped through all the way through the gravel beach below our feet. Digging a couple of inches down between our tents revealed the top of the water surface. It was close, but in the end, we stayed dry.
Brian coming back from the boat. Critical up here to make sure that its well anchored when going to bed!
An iceberg way in the distance looking back to the west.
James photographing the arctic landscape for his first time.
A bit of light pokes through the cloud cover in the distance.
Great texture and ridges of the nearby mountains accented further by the sun.
The view from my tent. Just have to be careful not to touch the fence when I get up and am walking around all groggy.
Having a bite to eat under the cover of my tent while it rained. Good old peanut butter and jam: never leave home without it!
The sun slowly setting.
A morning hike to check out the views from a nearby ridge.
A gull flying around the nearby cliffs.
Waiting to fly like mom some day.
A baby gull wondering: where did everyone go?
Near the back of Tay Bay, after being dropped off by boat and hiking almost an hour, Brian and I take a break while I assess painting options.
Got the painting wrapped up just in time as the entire back of the bay filled in with fog by the time we got back to camp.
Some arctic cotton along the river's edge and a nice rock.
An iceberg moves in close to Pond Inlet.
An Arctic Tern sitting comfortably on top of a small glacier as we passed by.
Always have to watch for icebergs, and small pieces of iceberg floating around, when cruising the ocean. Fortunately Brian has been boating here all is life and has lots of on-the-water experience.
Success! Enookie holds up a chunk of ice to melt into some amazing drinking water and coffee.
Enookie and the ice chunk.
Breaking off smaller chunks of ice for the kettle.
Stunning Bylot Island views on the way back to Pond.
Heading to the east end of Pond Inlet and beyond to see what we can see.
Local children playing a cat and mouse games with the ocean waves.
"Boat at Rest". Not sure if this is the title James would give his photo, but as I'm the one typing, there it is.
An iceberg moved into the bay just outside of town. How convenient!
Down along the shoreline a whole new world of rock and water awaited us.
A big, cool rock that up close almost looked like petrified wood.
Painting amongst the rocks.
An evening in town.
A little Inuit boy we met while out trying to catch some char. While he was in a sleeveless t-shirt, James and I were bundled up with several layers each and even hats. I guess we weren't raised in this environment like he was.
A nice old wooden boat.
The cross at the cemetery just south of the hamlet.
A few boats down at the Pond Inlet "marina". There are no piers here: boat are all launched from the sand, and with the tides rising and falling all the time, it can make for some really soft sand at that.
A raven enjoying a nice light snack.
The beach northeast of Pond Inlet.
Lots of boulders to explore.
Kind of like a rock castle.
First time I saw the moon rise during the entire trek.
Evening sky over Pond.
Glacier on Bylot Island across from Pond.
I walked around town for a few hours one evening and had some great light ot play with. I light the way the fog in the distance warmed up as the sun went down.
Looking past the airport strip from the south end of town.
Charming houses lined up one behind the other.
Crosses from the cemetary closest to town.
So many things to look at here in Pond. A boat sitting anchored off from shore takes on a whole new look as it casts a long shadow across the water.
Pond Inlet is a great place to catch a sunset, especially at this time of year as it takes its time going down at about 11pm.
A cruise boat drops by for a visit. Pond receives a few of these each year.
A solo kayaker making his way back to Pond after exploring the area for weeks.
One of many bergs on our way to Oliver Sound, about 3 hours to the south of Pond Inlet by boat.
Heading to Oliver Sound, part of Sirmilk National Park to the south of Pond Inlet.
How different bergs look with the varying angles of the sun as we boated around them.
Icerbergs within icebergs and a beautiful, and colourful, arch captured by James.
Come around the iceberg a little more and another one shows up in the distance.
Taking some shots on the run of the surrounding mountains.
A side bay on the way to Oliver Sound with its own captive berg.
Entering the Oliver Sound Fiord.
Filming from the front of the boat on the way down the fiord.
Checking the lens for dirt and water. Didn't want to spend too much time doing this as the scenery was more interesting. But it's gotta be done.
Andrew Maher of Parks Canada pointing out some features of the landscape.
Running down the fiord, the waters became more and more calm.
The end of the road: a glacier overwhelms the end of the fiord.
A beautiful light surrounds me as I work on a new canvas.
One of several glaciers on the way back up the fiord.
Enjoying the rough ride back to Pond.
Boating back up the fiord offered visual gems along the way as a turn of the head to look down a side bay would reveal a bit of light catching the landscape light this.
Icebergs, icebergs, icebergs...
Bergs become silhouettes under the evening light.
Could look there all night.
Brian hoisting up the anchor rope.
The moon rises above Pond Inlet as rocks spell out the hamlet's name for those who look up.
A very nice looking sail boat stops in for a visit.
Another angle on that neat old boat.
The burnt out remains of the old boat look like a skeleton.
This boat has seen better days, but seems to fit right in with the environment.
Teh "culvert" house. A unique looking house desigined and built by an architect trying to develop an inexpensive and easy to build house for the north. He was apparently able to pretty much put it together by himself.
The front entrance of the cool "culvert" house.
Doing some filming on the way to the Bylot Island hoodoos.
Filming the hoodoos on Bylot Island. Though we didn't have time to take the door off, the open window worked out perfectly to get some really nice footage.
The Bylot Island Goose Camp. Notice the backdrop of glaciers.
The chopper that took us to the hoodoos.
Snow Geese in Sirmilik National Park on Bylot Island.
Field operation of the Goose Camp in Sirmilik National Park on Bylot Island. For over 20 years, a research group from the University of Laval in Quebec have been coming up to study snow geese and other wildlife. This is one of the best breeding regions for the geese. Researchers often stay out here the entire season, from May until August, sleeping in their tents. That's dedication!
Snow Geese waiting to be processed. That sounds a lot worse than it is! Processing is what the researchers call the banding, measuring, weighing and other forms of data collection. The geese are then all released afterwards.
A fresh one getting ready to be banded, weighed and measured. Flying by helicopter allows the researchers to spot flocks on Snow Geese on the ground and then, once once on foot, round them up using nets. The geese are molting at this time of year and can't fly away making this process doable. Ideally flocks of about 500 are gathered up temporarily before being released after the data is collected.
Carey Elverum, Simirlik Park Superintendent, got in on the action as we dropped in to visit the Goose Camp researchers.
Crimping on a new leg band.
Another glacier, as viewed from the chopper.
Carey at the hoodoos in Sirmilk National Park.
We landed part way up the valley side where hoodoos where more sparse but still really cool.
Flying over some of the hoodoos. We almost didn't make it in because the clouds were sitting too low on the mountain ridge that separated us from them. Fortunately, we were able to come in from around the coastline and work our way up the valley from a lower elevation.
A nice drop off point near the hoodoos.
Looking up at some dramatic hoodoos.
What follows are a number of hoodoo photos that I just couldn't resist including. I may run out of captions...
The fog on top of the mountain ridge that could us to come in the back way. The mountain's dark tones made a nice background for the hoodoos.
Even on an overcast day the hoodoos looked really amazing.
We had a few hours to explore and start a painting, but man it would have been neat to camp here for a few days to check out every nook and cranny.
A big sandstone playground.
Sand and rock. You really have to watch your step because some times the rock looks like the sand, and on a slope, that means loosing your footing really fast.
A Polar Bear mother and its large cubs that we saw cuddled up on a big rock as we flew back to Pond.
Pond Inlet caught in the evening sun on our way back from Bylot.
The Pond "marina" from the air.
Flying low over Pond Inlet gave James a great angle from which to photograph those neat row houses from. Not to mention Bylot Island in the background.
I think I will have to do this one larger back in the studio.
Every step a different view.
I loved the grass knoll on top of this hoodoo. Fantasy land.
James filming the hoodoos.
A lot of the hoodoos had bits of shells embedded in them.
The fog never lifted while I was there, but the light to poked through a little stronger just before we left, helping to show of off the sculpted forms better.
We moved to the bottom of the valley as there is where I finally set up my easle. The helicopter was able to land there too, saving us a hike back up the sandy valley side.