Sunset Sunday-The Arctic Cold of Churchill, Manitoba

Everywhere I travel I always capture a sunset and my arctic adventure to Churchill, Manitoba proved no  different. On my first evening, I socialized the idea with my hosts and planned to capture it the following evening after we settled in.  The itinerary included three nights in Churchill and sunset photos were hardly high on anyone’s list, we were there for the Northern Lights.

Bowl of French Onion Soup at the Seaport in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada

I enjoyed a bowl every night

After a second night weather washout, I wondered if an opportunity might arise at all. On the third evening, with improving weather conditions I packed my camera bag for dinner. The opportunity seemed promising when after warming up with my “Manitoba Must,” a bowl of French Onion, I noticed the sun glaring through the window of the restaurant. It was time to put back on all my layers and brave the conditions.

I found extreme conditions not only provide learning points about yourself and your character, but also the equipment you use. When I walked outside I immediately decided to take an image from the porch, a test image, but my camera didn’t work. It wouldn’t turn on. I tried again. Nope, I quickly realized my camera battery was still in the hotel room charging. Did I bring a second? No time to check in the arctic air, so I took out my iPhone and snapped an image. I thought that could be it tonight, an attempt at the sunset spoiled by lack of equipment.

sunset image from seaport in Churchill, Manitoba Canada

you always left the car running, it's that COLD (iPhone)

But when I went back inside to the warmth and searched, I did have the spare I recently purchased for this adventure and loaded it up. You see, the cold -40ish temperatures, (yes -40)don’t just take a toll on you, but also a camera battery.  The extreme cold actually doesn’t drain the battery, but just stops the battery from creating a charge to take a image. In a sense it freezes and simply warming it up brings it back to life. Warming it up is no easy task and when taking pictures of the Northern Lights at night, so it’s best to have a spare ready while the original warms back up. You don’t want a lack of a battery charge to ruin the photography shoot.

After loading the fresh, warm, battery, I felt a resurgence and not only walked outside, but decided to brave the arctic cold and search for an unobstructed view of the sunset on the horizon. I crossed the street and walked down another street towards the train station and tracks.  The brutal wind whipped into my face and against my pants. This was a new definition of cold, a hostile cold. But I continued to only notice what I feared, a train had just arrived to “block” my view. Or did it? Perhaps, it created a unique wintry sunset image from the true great white north. Let me know what you think?

Happy Sunset Sunday

winter sunset image of the train in Churchill, Manitoba Canada

worth the cold?

stay adventurous, Craig

A special thanks to Travel Manitoba and also Frontiers North for providing passage so I can “enjoy” this sunset and a complete Arctic Adventure. More to come …. 





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  • Maria

    Ah! Another great sunset. Thanks for getting out there in truly frigid temps.

    The camera freeze used to happen to me often when I lived in Montana.

    Doesn’t have to be -40, It’ll getcha below zero, period.

    Think I saw a documentary on Churchill a while back – about Polar Bear watching.

    Did you see any?

    • craig zabransky

      Ah, thanks Maria… it was cold, no doubt. The camera freeze was completely new to me… a challenge as you know.

      Yes, Churchill is known for Polar Bears, it is the PB capital of the world. They are not around in March (when i visited), the best time to see them is fall just before the Bay (Hudson Bay) starts to freeze over.

      stay adventurous, Craig

  • Wendy Greene

    I do love this photo, Craig. Love the blue of the snow against the colours of the sun. I can almost feel how cold it is. I think the train adds interest to the photo too!

    • craig zabransky

      Thanks Wendy, i appreciate the comment as always. And see, I do travel to Canada… stay adventurous, Craig

  • Andrea Mueller

    I think the train adds an element of real life to the photo. LOVE it! Did you get to see the Northern Lights? Churchill is a dream of mine… can’t wait to get there one day!

    • craig zabransky

      Thanks Andrea, and yes I did see the Northern Lights, will post about it soon… it was SO amazing… make sure you go and see it – incredible. Stay Adventurous, Craig

  • Charu Suri

    Actually love this! One of my favorites

    • craig zabransky

      Gracias Charu… i know you have great taste, so i appreciate the compliment… stay adventurous, Craig

  • ycardozo

    Yes, definitely, the train added something special

    • craig zabransky

      Yes, it did… looking back glad it was there. Stay train spotting, Craig

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