<< Previous Next >>

Polar Bear Kill

Polar Bear Kill
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2004-07-27
Categories: Mammals
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/350 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): some blood, but it's nature, Franz Josef Land, Polar Bears (Ursus maritimus), The predator with the Prey 2 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-04-24 10:11
Viewed: 10244
Points: 39
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I took this shot from a zodiac in – as usual bad light – using a Canon 10D and my 300 2.8 lense and 1.4 converter. There was a lot of movement and the shot was difficult because the top half is dark and the bottom mainly white. This is also not a good time to find out you have no idea how to change the ISO speed! The buffering on the 10D was really slow and shortly after I moved to the Canon 1D MkII.

This shot was taken from the shores of Stolichky and Appolonov Islands in Franz Josef Land. The islands are famous for their walrus colonies. The walrus here form part of the same population as those on Spitzbergen, although here the population is predominantly females and young. Just before we arrived this polar bear had killed a walrus pup and the colony was in uproar. One of the walruses actually attacked one of the zodiacs and punctured one of the floatation chambers with its tusks. Here you can see the polar bear with an Ivory Gull looking for scraps – just beyond is the pup’s skin which the polar bear has literally shaken the carcass (lying just above) out of.

Polar Bear Information In areas where long-term studies are available, populations are showing signs of stress. Canada's Western Hudson Bay population has dropped 22% since the early 1980s. The declines have been directly linked to an earlier ice break-up on Hudson Bay. A long-term study of the Southern Beaufort Sea population, which spans the northern coast of Alaska and western Canada, has revealed a decline in cub survival rates and in the weight and skull size of adult males.

Climate change is the main threat to polar bears today. A diminishing ice pack directly affects polar bears, as sea ice is the platform from which they hunt seals. Although the Arctic has experienced warm periods before, the present shrinking of the Arctic's sea ice is rapid and unprecedented.

Franz Josef Land (Russian - Земля Франца-Иосифа, Zemlya Frantsa-Iosifa) is an archipelago located in the far north of Russia. It is found in the Arctic Ocean north of Novaya Zemlya and east of Svalbard, and is administered by Arkhangelsk Oblast. Franz Josef Land consists of 191 ice-covered islands with an area of 16,134 km² and is largely uninhabited.

At latitudes between 80.0° and 81.9° north, it is the most northerly group of islands associated with Eurasia. The extreme northernmost point is Cape Fligely on Rudolf Island (ostrov Rudolfa). The archipelago is only 900 to 1110 km (560 to 690 statute miles) from the North Pole, closer than all land masses except for Canada's Ellesmere Island and Greenland.

The archipelago was possibly first discovered by the Norwegian sealers Nils Fredrik Rønnbeck and Aidijärvi aboard the schooner "Spidsbergen" in 1865, who according to the scarce reports sailed eastward from Svalbard until they reached a new land. Whether they were ashore, what was denoted Nordost-Spitsbergen (Spitsbergen was the contemporary name of Svalbard), is not known and the new islands were soon forgotten.

The officially recognized discovery took place in 1873 by the Austrian polar explorers Payer and Weyprecht, who named it in honour of the Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I. As the expedition was only privately sponsored and not official, these islands have never been part of Austria. In 1926 the islands were taken over by the Soviet Union, and a few inhabitants came for research and military purposes. Access by ships is possible only for a few summer weeks and requires a special permit.

vizion, jaycee, septama, stevkds, PaulH, Evelynn, Dan, MMM, ramthakur, Adanac, MommaMiaX3, nainnain has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Adanac: Following meJamesp 1 04-25 07:25
To vizion: Getting thereJamesp 2 04-24 18:34
You must be logged in to start a discussion.

Critiques [Translate]

Hi James,

Great to see this. A real drama scene. What a big fat polar bear, he seems to have plenty of food there. Can I ask how you got to Franz Josef Land and how it can be arranged?


Hallo James,
Photo natural wild life and interesting note.
Best regards, Pawel

The shot is so tell the story of survival, really well composed with good contrast between dark gravel in upper part with white ice covered bellow, I also like the detail of the bear fur, worth to say this is a superb shot, although it made in difficult conditions

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2007-04-24 10:41]

Hi James,

A marvelous capture of a fact of nature. The bear is beautiful and your shades of white are wonderful. You even have a bird in the act. You took good advantage of a wonderful opportunity.


Hi James.
Dramatic shot... Dangerous hungry bear. Great atmosphere.tfs. Stev

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2007-04-24 11:19]

Nice shot of one of the planets most threatened animals. It's good to see he's feeding, but the future doesn't look good for these majestic animals does it? A poingant and topical photo, thanks very much for sharing.


My goodness.... now you take us to Russia! Your life makes my head spin.
Who cares if the exposure isn't perfect.. .Just look at that subject! Wow! Actually your exposure of the bear IS perfect.
Thanks for sharing such an interesting shot and note.

Evelynn : )

Hi James,
it's great to see a picture of a polar bear taking in the wild.
I know how a 10d works but you manage to get a great picture.
Good details, well composed and nice colours.
Well done.

  • Great 
  • Dan Gold Star Critiquer [C: 113 W: 0 N: 2] (18)
  • [2007-04-24 11:56]

Hi James, You show us an image of life and dead
on close conection, bear, seagull and walrus.
I always like yours tales concerning the photos realization.
TFS, Dan

  • Great 
  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2007-04-24 12:06]

Hi James
Very nice shot.Good composition and excelent details from the fur of the bear.Good POV
TFS Michel

Hi James,
A very dramatizing image. A very gruesome yet true reallity when life becomes difficult for the survival of animals facing hardships and lack of natural resourses, if I could I would fling my body to the adult bears if it would help stop them from eating their cubs...wait a second, what the hell am I talking about, forget what I said. Nice pict. :)

Another powerful documentation of life in one of its grimly stark aspects at another remote location on the earth, James.
The value of this image lies exactly in its rare documentation. The contrast between the dark and the light in this picture is just reality; I wouldn't expect an eye-catching landscape view here.
Your note, as usual, gives me the necessary perspective I need to admire your picture.

Nice shot.
Indeed difficult conditions.
Never knew the butt of polar bears could be that dirty (the risk when dressing in white)
Perfect composition.

Another marvelous effort James you certainly had some amazing experiences with wildlife I think you did very well under the extreme dynamic range requirements nicely composed too tfs rgds Necip

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-04-24 22:04]

Hello James

Another exotic locale,and super nature shot.That has got to make the adrenaline flow.Nicely composed with very good detail.Well done.TFS


  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2007-04-24 23:11]
  • [+]

Hi James,
I would like to follow you around for a while, I need an adventure. Excellent image captured in a far away place, I'm jealous James.

Hello James, :)

Me again! Okay so picture me sitting at my desk, cruising the Gallery of TN. Hmmmm...this looks interesting a Polar Bear Kill, who do you think pops into my mind? Yes, that would be you! My 9 yo son is still talking about the B-15!

This is an amazing photograph showing the natural way of survival. Fantastic detail and sharpness, amazing that you were in a moving vehicle! WOW!

I'm with Rick, I want to come along too! I swear I'm an easy keeper.

Take care, as always a pleasure.


bonjour JAMES
effectivement il faut lire la note pour comprendre, tres interressant
bonne photo nette, bonne luminosité
bien vu, bravo et merci

great note
good picture , not easy
aleks ;)

wonderful "cold wild life" scene and good exposure/colors
well done

Calibration Check