Photo by @daisygilardini | During a rainy afternoon one day in Alaska’s Lake Clark National Park, this young grizzly bear cub got very curious.
Despite constantly looking back at mama, maybe waiting for consent or maybe for reassurance, he came quite close.
In order to have an eye-to-eye perspective, I slowly braced myself on my knees. I was far enough away to keep using my big 600mm lens. I was fascinated by his expression and the funky look of his soaked fur.
Photo by @daisygilardini | Chinstrap penguins belong to the brush-tailed penguins group, together with their cousins, Adelies and gentoos.
Despite their healthy numbers overall, the population is decreasing in most of the Antarctic Peninsula nesting sites. Scientists attribute the decline to climate change, which affects the abundance of krill, their main food source, as well expansion of the commercial krill fishery, which affects krill numbers as well.
Painting by @davidmceown | In celebration of Polar Bear week , here is a repost of my painting , “Surfacing”, 30 x 22 inches watercolour. Over the years I have observed and sketched these amazing animals as they appear and vanish silently beneath the waters surface among sea ice floes and iceberg remnants while hunting for seals. (Giclee limited reproductions available, Please DM for information)
Follow david @davidmceown for more painting, images, videos and behind-the-scenes stories.
Photo by @DaisyGilardini | In celebration of Polar Bear week, in the next few days, I will be sharing some of my favourite Polar Bear images. Being able to observe cubs playing joyfully and tirelessly for hours is a photographer’s dream, but it’s certainly not an easy task. With temperatures that can drop below -50C, technical and physical challenges abound. Cold is a challenge for your equipment as well as you yourself. If you’re uncomfortable you won’t be able to focus on the job. You must be clothed properly to avoid frostbite and hypothermia. Knowing how and when to apply layers while avoiding perspiration is vital. Hydration is important but I’ve learned to manage my fluid intake as getting rid of surplus fluids is far from enjoyable in these conditions. Once you’re physically comfortable, you face the technical challenge of operating a camera with all its small buttons while wearing bulky gloves. Finally, you have to accept the fact that after a while parts of the camera will freeze, and you need to find a way to work around that. Batteries tend to freeze first, followed by the control panels and back monitor. It comes with practice. You must be skilled enough to work your camera in blind mode. The only way to learn is to keep shooting and hope for the best.
Photo by @DaisyGilardini | In celebration of Polar Bear week, in the next few days, I will be sharing some of my favourite Polar Bear images. Polar bear families generally emerge from their dens in March and April, when cubs are strong enough to survive outside and ready to make their first trek to the sea ice. Exiting the den is a slow process. The mother will stay at or near the maternity den for several days while the cubs get used to the cold and explore the surroundings. Once the trek proper starts, the mother will periodically stop to nurse and rest. In stormy conditions the mother bear will dig a “day den,” to protect her cubs from the elements. The bond between mother and offspring, and between sibling and sibling, is very strong. It’s the only social structure among normally solitary polar bears to be recognized and identified by scientists. Playing, chasing, wrestling, fighting, cuddling and napping together are all part of daily life for a young bear. The cubs engage in fun and games that prepare them for their roles in life later on. Once weaned the siblings will stick together for a while hunting and playing. #polarbearweek#motherhood#bear#polarbear#wapusknationalpark#canada#nikonswitzerland#nikonambassador@nikonswitzerland#lowepro#loweprobags#gitzoinspires#frametheextraordinary#framedongitzo@gitzoinspires#eizousa#visualizedoneizo#sandisk#daisygilardini
Photo by @DaisyGilardini | In celebration of Polar Bear week, in the next few days, I will be sharing some of my favourite Polar Bear images. Female polar bears reach sexual maturity between 4- and 5-years-old. Males reach maturity later, and begin mating when 8- to 10-years-old.
Mating season is generally in April and May, but delayed implantation — embryonic diapause — means that fetal development will not begin until September or October.
The delay assures that the cub is born during the best time of year for survival. It allows the female time to reach peak physical condition for giving birth, which in turn allows her to devote all her energy to nurse her newborn cubs.
If the mother is not in good health or doesn’t have sufficient fat reserves, embryonic implantation will fail.
Photo by @DaisyGilardini | In celebration of Polar Bear week, in the next few days, I will be sharing some of my favourite Polar Bear images. In each and every species on earth, when the maternal bond is established, it's one of the strongest feelings in nature. It starts at the moment of conception and grows deeper as the fetus develops in the mother’s body.
Photo by @DaisyGilardini | In celebration of Polar Bear week, in the next few days, I will be sharing some of my favourite Polar Bear images. “Hitching a ride” - In this particular episode a mother was resting with her two young cubs in a day den on her way to the pack ice to hunt. Day dens tend to be in wind-protected areas, where snowdrifts and trees form a natural shelter. Mama bear remained calm as our vehicle approached the location giving us the opportunity to photograph both her and the cubs for several hours before she suddenly decided it was time to leave. She flopped downhill in deep snow when one of her two cubs decided it was more convenient to hitch a ride on mama’s behind. The cub jumped up and held on with a firm bite on mama’s furry backside — a charming and totally unexpected behaviour. Wildlife photography is all about patience and perseverance. Despite the challenging conditions and long hours waiting for something to happen, the experience of witnessing something so rare is beyond price.
Photo by @DaisyGilardini | In celebration of Polar Bear week, in the next few days, I will be sharing some of my favourite Polar Bear images. Polar bears lead solitary lives for the most part. Every year, though, in October and November, they congregate around Hudson’s Bay in Manitoba, and wait for bay to freeze before heading out to hunt seals on the pack ice. Play fighting between sub-adults is common during the long wait for the ice to freeze. This behaviour is good practice for the more serious competition during mating season. Follow me @DaisyGilardini for more images and stories behind the scenes.
Photo by @daisygilardini | One of the things I love the most while on assignment in the polar regions is the isolation from the modern world. I simply love to wake up just before the sun, and get out to breathe the fresh air while observing giant icebergs passing by.
Photo by @daisygilardini | During my latest expedition to Greenland’s Scoresby Sound, we decided to photograph our ship, the 94-year-old, three masted schooner S/V Rembrandt van Rijn, sailing among icebergs.
What looked to be an easy task at first turned out to be a demanding and time-consuming challenge. The Rembrandt is a tallship, a traditionally rigged sailing vessel, which means all the sails have to be lifted manually, without electrical winches.
Once the sails are up, the challenge is to board a Zodiac while the ship is moving and hope for a bit of breeze so the sails are nicely rounded, and hope for some photogenic icebergs, both in the foreground and background.
After an hour or so of bouncing around in the Zodiac, feeling dizzy and seasick, it all came together!