Picture of the Month

August 2010



Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus)

81 degrees N., Svalbard


On a National Geographic cruise to arctic Svalbard this month, we plowed through the pack ice to search of polar bears. The ice had retreated from the coast, so we simply had to head north until we encountered the ice edge, and then begin to scan for bears. Fog and thin, scattered ice hampered the search, but eventually, the mist parted and revealed this handsome, curious bear that approached the ship casually and stayed for most of an hour. I thought this pose very un-bear-like, almost coy. But that's the way this bear was: relaxed and even playful, as if happy for the distraction.

In the end , we left it just where we encountered it, on a floating slab of ice, 60 miles from the nearest land, searching for its next meal. Seeing bears this way (rather than, say, on the shabby tundra of Churchill) is to appreciate how challenging their lives really are. And how dependent they are on the ice that is slowly vanishing from the Arctic.


Nikon D300 with Nikkor 300mm f2.8 lens

Life, Color, Drama, Reality .... No Digital Manipulation



Kevin will be serving as the National Geographic photo lecturer later this year aboard the "National Geographic Explorer".

November 2010 :  South Georgia and Antarctica.  For more information, click here.




Kevin Schafer Photography : HOME



Review a previous Picture of the Month:

Bathing Beauty Bear, 7/2010

Maned Sloth, 6/2010

Sarus Cranes, 5/2010

Black-winged Stilts, 4/2010

Macaque/Gibbons, 3/2010

Cormorants, 2/2010

Silky Sifaka, 12/2009

Amazon Dolphin Polo, 11/2009

Yucatan Bats, 10/2009

Gulls and Flies, 8/2009

Callanish Stones, 7/2009

Amazon Dolphins (2), 6/2009

Golden Langur, 5/2009

Island Foxes, 4/2009

Puget Sound, 3/2009

Border Fence, 2/2009

Amazon Islands, 1/2009

King Penguins, 12/2008

Darwin's Fox, 11/2008

Blacktip Shark, 10/2008

Greenland Fisherman. 9/2008

Ladyslipper Orchids, 7/2008

Wild Cassowary, 6/2008

Painted Hands, 5/2008

Zion Park, 4/2008

Marine Otters, 3/2008

Mt. Hood Sunset, 2/2008

Mountain-Biking, 1/2008

Tent Bats, 12/2007

Nunbird, 11/2007

Alaskan Otters, 10/2007

Amazon Dolphin, 8/2007

Madagascar #2, 6/2007

Baja California, 5/2007

Pelicans, 3/2007

Darien Gap, 2/2007

Grey Whale Calf, 1/2007

Galapagos Sea Lion, 12/2006

Rockhoppers, 11/2006

Hummingbird, 10/2006

Madagascar, 9/2006

Whales, 7/2006

Sea Lions, 5/2006

Tiger, 4/2006

Jaguar, 2/2006

South Georgia, 12/2005

New Generation, 11/2005

Childhood, 9/2005

Penguins, 8/2005

Sea Palms, 7/2005

Aster Flower, 6/2005

Siskiyou Mountains, 5/2005

Humpback Whales, 4/2005

Christo GATES , 3/2005

Eucalyptus Leaves, 2/2005

Alaskan Aurora, 1/2005

Nesting Turtle, 12/2004

Autumn Berries, 10/2004

Costa Rica, 3/2004

Aurora Borealis, 10/2003

To contact Kevin Schafer :



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