The bold and the beautiful

Todd Mintz has gone to the ends of the earth to take stunning shots of wildlife

Todd Mintz can vividly recall the distinctive sound that narwhals make before they dive — a deep inhale and a long exhale, repeated three times. Mintz is one of the few people on the planet who have been close enough to these elusive, ivory-tusked mammals to hear their breathing. Just the travel needed to view these wonders is a feat in itself, requiring seven hours of flight and another eight bumpy hours by snowmobile to reach a remote Arctic ice floe in Nunavut where the narwhals gather each spring. But for Mintz, a managing partner at MWC Chartered Professional Accountants LLC in Regina, a skilled wildlife photographer and accredited divemaster, the effort was worth it. Narwhals, he says, are fascinating creatures, and the Arctic, which he has visited nine times, is a starkly beautiful locale.

 

Photography has become a second career for the 50-year-old father of five, whose wildlife photos have been featured in magazines, have won numerous awards and have been displayed at various museums. In 2017, a number of his nature photos were featured in a solo exhibition at the Saskatchewan Science Centre in Regina. He titled the show “Endurance” because each day is a life-and-death struggle for wildlife and because endurance is something Mintz had to practise to obtain his striking images, which saw him diving beneath icebergs and exploring parched grasslands.

 

He has received other accolades as well. In recognition of his Arctic diving exploits and because he was the first to capture images of a bowhead whale shedding its skin on rocks, Mintz was recently accepted into the prestigious Explorers Club, a professional society composed of individuals who have contributed to the cause of exploration and scientific knowledge.

 

For Mintz, the appeal of nature photography is rooted in the exhilaration that comes with capturing a rare moment and the remarkable sense of intimacy one can experience in the wild. On a recent expedition to BC’s Great Bear Rainforest he got extremely close to a couple of white-coated spirit bears that were fishing for salmon; so close, says Mintz, that “they were sniffing at our jackets.”

 

As he explains, “Being accepted by a wild animal and being allowed to share the same space in its world carries a very special feeling. I hope that with my images I can inspire people to take an interest in wildlife and nature and discover the beauty that it holds.”