Sweet Dreams; Polar Bears

Dec 31, 2005
Perfect in every aspect. Deserving of all the credit about to be heaped on you. Thanks much for sharing this here.
Jan 26, 2005
Marysville, WA
I am SO (insert words of exclamation, expletives, awe here) jealous. Jealous first that you were there and I wasn't. Then jealous with your great treatment of the subject matter. Wow.
Jan 2, 2009
...I was going to say I would take a bit off the top if it were mine, but that was an hour ago. I look at it now and can't decide.
I can't decide either, Allan. When I first processed it I actually cropped it to a 2x1 format, partly to get the horizon offset from center. Later I re-worked it to bring out the snow a little more and then liked it in the original format which I have since printed on both canvas and metal and it looks great. But then again it looks good in 16x9 on a screen too.... I guess that means the bears are what matters to the overall image.

Like West, I would like to know the story behind the image.
There's not much of a story though I guess there is a bit of a lesson in it. The image was shot in Kaktovic, AK, which is within the bounds of the famous Arctic National Wildlife Refuge(aka ANWR). You can't set foot on the ground there so have to shoot from a boat(which isn't a bad idea anyway). There are a few workshops held there but another photographer that I know made some contacts and we were able to just hire a native guide with a small(20ft) boat. So we had the boat to ourselves and the guide pretty much did whatever we asked him to do.

We spent an entire afternoon with this sow and cub. The sun was coming and going between dark clouds making for some good lighting situations but it was bitterly cold. The sow played with the little guy, nursed him, then they lay down for a nap. The guide wanted to go find us another bear but the lighting conditions were promising so we just sat with them hoping for something to happen. And here's where the lesson comes in. It's the old bird in the hand thing. When you're on an animal and shooting conditions are good, patience Grasshopper. For just a couple of minutes a snow flurry blew through and I made this shot. In five days of shooting the opportunity for this photo lasted no more than a minute or two. And it is without doubt my favorite shot of the trip.

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