American nature and wildlife photographer Paul Souders is very well-travelled around the globe. In one of his exploits, we have his series of images shot in the ice capped shores of Churchill, Canada. Souders took his Zodiac boat to Hudson Bay in midsummer and waited there for three days before he finally saw a bear, a young female while on sea ice around 30 miles offshore.
“I approached her very, very slowly,” said Souders, “and then drifted. It was a cat-and-mouse game.” When the bear returned into the water, Souders waited. “There was just a flat, world of water and ice and this polar bear swimming lazily around me. I could hear her slow, regular breathing as she watched me below the surface or the exhalation as she surfaced, increasingly curious. It was very special.”
This was a moment he had been waiting for weeks to happen. 51-year-old Souders kept his composure to get these incredible close-ups. “I didn’t feel threatened, but I knew that I was on a razor’s edge – I had no margin for error. I watched her reaction very closely looking for any sign of aggression.” Souders spotted just two bears, and was only able to approach one. He had with him 226kgs of gear, which included a boat motor, camera paraphernalia and shotgun for obvious reasons, just in case.
“It was exhausting work, hour after hour staring at the ice trying to find that white figure against the snow white background. But it was worth it when you get such an encounter as I did.” Souders continued, “I didn’t want to stress or injure the bear, and I didn’t want to get hurt out there so far from shore.”
He used a remote camera mounted on a seven-foot pole in addition to a camera encased in a special underwater housing to get the shots. “It was exhausting work, hour after hour staring at the ice trying to find that white figure against the snow white background.”
See how Souder’s work paid off in these amazingly close shots of the beautiful animal here.