Polar Bear Tracks


Svalbard, Norwegian Arctic Left on the sea ice from a polar bear that we could just see on the horizon in Svalbard. This is going to be a much rarer sight as the extent of sea ice is diminished every year, which is the important platform polar bears need to hunt for seals.

The fact that the bear has left his prints on the very surface that it depends on creates a very powerful narrative about the problem these animals face today.

Looking for a unique approach to polar bear photography I saw these tracks I knew this would help complete my polar bear portfolio as nobody really shares photos like these. So much about these animals is written in the snow: The long hair around the paws of the bear have brushed the surface of the snow and left streaks in exquisite detail, illustrating how the bear seems to shuffle across the ice. They can walk at great speeds on the ice but have to be careful not to overheat given the relative warmth of the Arctic summer and their great adaptations in conserving heat. The wide spread of the 12 inch paws act like natural snowshoes keeping the bear above the surface for optimal arctic travelling.

Photographic details: Taken with a 400mm lens shooting downwards from the bow of the ship as we parked ourselves in this ice flow. The tracks were actually barely visible with the naked eye given the flat light. I had to open the raw file and darken down the image considerably to get more detail out of the image. The results were far more detailed than I could have ever seen in real life, making for an image that actually captures the drama behind these animals.




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