The Challenge of Photographing Polar Bears

polar-bear2-blog

How do you photograph polar bears successfully? The bright white tones of the arctic present challenges, especially this time of year when the sun never sets. Luckily for us, the weather forecast is for party cloudy skies with daily average temperatures at, or just below, freezing – these are perfect conditions as far as I’m concerned.

The challenge of white on white arctic camouflaging

The challenge of white on white arctic camouflaging

So what do you do when you’re presented with bright whites of the ice and the dark blacks of the nose and eyes of the bear in your viewfinder? Pro tip: Use your histogram to ensure you don’t push your exposure too far to the right while preserving the dark tones.

Walking from Expedition ship M/S Malmö, http://www.expeditionorigo.se

Walking from Expedition ship M/S Malmö, http://www.expeditionorigo.se

When we’re out walking on the ice, safety is our priority. Our clients’ safety and the health and wellness of the polar bears are all taken into consideration. With that said, here are some polar bear facts I always keep in the back of my head when we're out on the ice:

  • Polar bears are the only mammal that will actively hunt a human
  • They can run the length of a football field in less than 10 seconds
  • They can smell their food up to 2 miles away. (I'm taking any and all suggestions on how not-to-smell-tasty!)