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The Ice Bear, by Paul Souders

The Ice Bear, by Paul Souders

Paul Souders

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The 2013 National Geographic Grand Prize and Nature winner

A polar bear peers up from beneath the melting sea ice on Hudson Bay as the setting midnight sun glows red from the smoke of distant fires during a record-breaking spell of hot weather. The Manitoba population of polar bears, the southernmost in the world, is particularly threatened by a warming climate and reduced sea ice.

About the piece:

Interview with National Geographic:

Paul Souders

For nearly forty years, Paul Souders has traveled around the world and across all seven continents as a professional photographer. His images have appeared around the globe in a wide variety of publications, including National Geographic and other international magazines, as well as thousands of publishing and advertising projects. 

Traveling solo in a 22-foot powerboat, he has covered thousands of miles of remote coastline photographing polar bears in the Canadian arctic. Those travels were the subject of his first book, Arctic Solitaire: A Boat, A Bay, and the Quest for the Perfect Bear, and the images have drawn wide acclaim, including first place awards at the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition in 2011 and 2013, the National Geographic Photo of the Year contest in 2013 and Grand Prize in the 2014 Big Picture Competition.

Over the last three decades he has mounted dozens of solo photographic expeditions and visited more than 65 countries. Paul has been kissed by dolphins, slapped by penguins, head-butted by walrus, terrorized by lions and menaced by vertebrates large and small. He once spent 27 hours digging a bogged safari truck out of the Seregenti mud using only a sauce pan. He still thinks he has the best job in the world.

"For much of my adult life, I have been lucky enough to get paid doing the things I love most. My work as a itinerant travel and wildlife photographer has sent me around the world and across all seven continents. In addition to my work in Africa, I have traveled extensively in Alaska, Australia, Antarctica and Asia. I try to see one new thing every day. The world is an enormously varied, infuriating and beautiful place, and I'm regularly delighted by a job that lets me see and visit so much of it. I also enjoy the physical and technical challenges of getting to some of the wilderness places I've visited. I like traveling solo, and if that means lugging an inflatable Zodiac boat and 250 pounds of camping gear halfway around the planet, all the better. There's something deeply satisfying about learning an entirely new set of skills, whether it's scuba diving, boat driving or African safari guiding, and putting them to work to produce new images."