Somerset

Dave Sandford

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Somerset

Somerset Island, Nunavut, Canada.

*Semi-Finalist / Natural History Museum's Nature's Best International Photography Competition 2020*

A mother polar bear & her two cubs scale a cliff on Somerset Island in the high Canadian Arctic. To help try & put this image into perspective, I photographed it with my 600mm lens using a 2x teleconverter making the focal length 1200mm. These bears were about 300m above sea level on a steep cliff overlooking Bellot Strait (just across from the most Northern point of continental North America) and almost a km away. When on expeditions it is often these kinds of “polar dots” we are searching for in the distance. It was an awe inspiring moment to see these 3 as high up as they were on such a flat steep drop. The reason they were traversing such difficult terrain was because this was the safer alternative. On the sea ice below there was a number of large male bears who could have possibly been a threat to her cubs. A dangerous and difficult climb, but safer than facing the potentially dangerous males below. They eventually scaled their way to the top and out of harms way. 

©Dave Sandford.

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