For his amazing photograph of a polar bear submerged in water, Seattle-based photographer Paul Souders recently took home the prize in the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition’s “Animals in Their Environment” category. We were happy to learn that the wildlife photographer had many more breathtaking images of the large, gorgeous animals swimming in their natural habitat.
Polar bears swimming in Hudson Bay (near Manitoba) are frequently photographed from a distance, but Souders is able to get up close and capture the animals from rarely seen angles. He acknowledges that his collection of pictures was difficult to capture. It was a strenuous task to try to find a polar bear in the expanse of white glaciers after carrying nearly 500 lbs. of equipment and working 12 to 14 hours a day.
It was laborious work, Souders says, spending hours staring at the ice in search of that white on white shape. It turns out that finding polar bears on the ice is extremely difficult, at least without a helicopter and a large sum of cash. Never before have I spent so much time and effort looking for a topic. I only saw two polar bears during that time, and one of them quickly vanished into the pack ice.
The photographer’s lengthy, laborious efforts have finally been successful. One polar bear in particular finally approached him after diving beneath a chunk of sea ice and poking her head through a hole. She poked her head up less than three feet from the camera, and he thought he might have a pretty cool shot, he recalled. I didn’t have time to look through all of my digital files until a week later, as I was traveling south on the train from Churchill to Winnipeg.
I was completely taken aback when I noticed the outline of her lurking beneath the water’s surface and looking back at me. I immediately changed into the crazed traveler showing everyone on the train his vacation photos.
Paul Souders website
All images courtesy Paul Souders