Unsurprisingly after two staggeringly successful Spitsbergen Expeditions we have had a barrage of bear images. We have created an online gallery here of the runners up. Picking a winner was virtually impossible, but there has to be one, so congratulations to Carol Barker for 'In his/her master's steps he trod': see image below for explanation. Please click on any of the pictures to view the full sized version and marvel at these great bear photographs.
Judged by Paul Goldstein
Anyone who enjoyed these shots may be interested in the two special Spitsbergen Charters for next year which are already filling up. Departures are on 16 June and 16 July.
The Photo Competition Finalist Selection of Pictures for August 2010
In his/her master's steps he trod
I was guiding on both of these expeditions but got nothing like this; beautiful diagonal lines sweep down the slope, composition is perfect with plenty of space in front of mother's nose and very nice light. But it is the stereo steps that provide the alchemy with both front left paws in perfect harmony. Bears on ice or snow are hard currency for any photographer or wilderness fan, literally hundreds of gigabytes of images were shot on these days, few got anywhere near this one, well done Carol.
Stands and delivers
This was a magical moment - rarely seen - in the South of Spitsbergen. This bear was close to the ship so the temptation to zoom in too far undid many photographers on board. Charles resisted and has caught the moment superbly. Charles is a veteran of the Vavilov and was on board three years ago when we hit gold in sea ice with not one, but two bear families. He agreed that this year surpassed this; praise indeed from a very competent photographer.
Why the long pause
The bear is close again but is not going to get airborne here so timing is everything. The composition is very good with the diagonal ice but a moment too soon or late and 'delete' would have been a brutal but truthful option. This is the moment - sharp, dynamic, fantastic. Nice work Ken.
The photographer nailed this from big distance from a Zodiac inflatable. It is perhaps a touch too central and the crop a little full but a mother and ascending cub in front of a dark glacier in this sort of light ticks just about every box. What an evening that was, thanks for reminding me Barry and Pam.
His Royal Airness
Big air is big news with wildlife - this is about as big as a many-tonned bear can get and this shot is right at the top of the parabola - top action photo. For those who think they can tick off bears from a tundra buggy in Churchill fine, but don't expect anything like this, many miles from shore in glittering sea ice.
Time to Reflect
Light, motion, poise, reflection, colour - wow ! Good work Jonathan.
Ditto above, same photographer too, a more pensive pose, lacks the degree of difficulty of the previous shot but stunning all the same. Two in the gallery Jonathan - fantastic effort, sorry no cigar...
The perfect Moment
Two years ago a shot of a bear stranded on a small bit of ice won a big photo award from the BBC. It was dull and out of focus. This did not stop global warming societies and the Democratic Party championing it as their figurehead. This shot beats that in every department. Bears need fast ice, not fractured fields so not only is this a very beautiful portrait with a stunning reflection, it is also profound. It means something. I often say it needs to be not only a brilliant shot but also a provocative subject to grace the pages of a calendar. I would happily look at Jackie's bear for a month.
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