Archive for the ‘Polar Bears’ Category

Polar bear cub photo

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015
Polar bear cub, ANWR, Alaska.

One fat young polar bear cub, sitting back on his haunches, totally chilling. It’s great to see a happy polar bear. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

hey folks,

Just thought I’d wrap things up for the year with another polar bear photo. This one I took a couple of years ago, but I ran across it this evening doing some editing and so on and thought I’d post it. I just love the pose and feel of this shot.

Due a cancellation, I have some space on my 2016 polar bear trips. Please let me know if you’re interested, the few spots for this trip typically fill up early.

Hope you all had a good year, and wish you all the best for the holiday season and the coming year.



Free Polar Bear eBook

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

Hey Folks,

Here’s a free ebook, available only to subscribers of my Expeditions Alaska newsletter. And, even better, here a bunch of absurdly great reasons why you want this ebook.

  1. It’s free
  2. It’s a great eBook
  3. Over 80 polar bear photos
  4. My newsletter is awesome
  5. Polar bears are super cool, and
  6. Nobody should need more than 5 reasons for this eBook.

So what is it? It’s a collection of photos of polar bears. Over 80 of them. I’ve written a piece or two about the bears as well. I think it’s a pretty cool little project. Download a copy and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear your review of it.

Just click on the image below.

Polar Bear photo ebook by Carl Donohue and Expeditions Alaska

Thanks so much,



Male Polar Bear Photo

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014
A large male adult polar bear (Ursus maritimus) stalks across the frozen, snow-covered tundra of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, in Alaska.


Alaska Polar Bear Video

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Hey Folks,

I thought I’d share this video on my site here. I wrote the tune, a number of years ago, and recorded it with some friends in Atlanta, GA, when I lived there. Great musicians all of them, and it was a treat to record with them. I played the guitar parts.

The video and stills I shot in 2013 on my Alaska Polar Bear Photo Tour in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. One or 2 of the clips were shot by clients on the trip, and thanks go to Sue P and Munir K for their permission to use their clips. See my collection of stock polar bear photos here.



Polar bear photo and sunrises

Friday, January 31st, 2014
A young polar bear on the prowl, silhouetted at sunrise, on the frozen ground of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), Alaska. Polar bear, Ursus maritimus, Alaska.

A young polar bear on the prowl, silhouetted against a colorful sunrise, on the frozen ground of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), Alaska. Polar bear, Ursus maritimus, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Everyone loves a great sunrise or sunset, right? And everyone loves polar bears; seriously, does anyone NOT love polar bears? So who loves the 2 together?

We set out this morning with high hopes, clear skies and the beginning of color on the horizon. Everyone hoped for a nice sky and some polar bear activity. Hoping, and getting are two different things.

So how does it play out? The sunrise turned out to be, in a word, spectacular. The morning itself, frustrating.

We found some polar bears relatively soon, but they weren’t really in a great location. On top of that, they were asleep. certainly, polar bears are so photogenic that even asleep, they make a great subject. But they were sleeping just below a short embankment, with the colorful sky above and beyond and so we couldn’t find a way to really make it work. One option might have been to shoot multiple exposures, steadily, and then blend the 2 together to properly capture detail in the foreground and the background. I shot a couple of images like this, but even as I was photographing, I knew it wasn’t really happening. OK stuff, but nothing grand. (more…)

Polar Bear Sleeping in a Snowstorm

Monday, January 20th, 2014
A polar bear sleeping on the snow covered ground of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Polar Bear, Ursus maritimus, ANWR, Alaska.

A polar bear sleeping in whiteout conditions, on the snow covered ground of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Polar Bear, Ursus maritimus, ANWR, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

A quick post for while I’m gone; given the current weather most of the readers in the Lower 48 states are experiencing, this one might be somewhat apropos. A polar bear, sleeping in a snowstorm. See folks, it really isn’t that bad.

Polar bears are simply ridiculously photogenic. Even asleep, on a blanket of snow covered ground, and a foggy misty background, they simply look great. It’s a good thing though. Photographing polar bears, or grizzly bears, involves a lot of watching the bear sleep. And sleep. So it’s a nice experiment to see if we can come up with decent photos of the bears sleeping. (more…)

Polar bear image and the Brooks Mountains Range

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013
A Polar Bear and the Brooks range in the background, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, ANWR, Alaska.


Polar bears on thin ice

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013
Polar Bear on sea ice, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

Standing on thin ice a polar bear curiously approaches. Polar Bear ice, in the Beaufort Sea, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Here’s a polar bear photo from my trip to the arctic last month. Given the predicament bears in the Beaufort Sea find themselves in (declines in accessible food due climate change), I thought the image a particularly relevant one.

Polar bears are classified as marine mammals, not, like their darker coated brethren to the south, mammals who earn their living on good old terra firma. Polar bears hunt, almost exclusively seals, and particularly 2 species of seals; primarily ringed seals (Phoca hispida) and less often, bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus). That alone makes polar bears particularly susceptible to population declines; any animal whose primary food source s merely one or 2 other species is somewhat vulnerable. This applies no less to herbivores who may exist on one or 2 types of plants. A crash (or boost) in the abundance of their food source will have an enormous impact on the population of their own species; a look at the lynx and the snowshoe hare cycles illustrates this.

So climate change has shifted the world for the polar bear; here’s a quick, and rough, summary of how.

The most productive waters in the arctic ocean are under sea ice, in the shallower areas over the continental shelf. Deeper water doesn’t hold light as well, and so tiny little critters like plankton and what not don’t do as well. They feed on the algae that grows and collects on the bottom of the sea ice. So where the plankton population is higher, so too is the population of the little critters that feed on plankton; shrimp and such. Fish eat shrimp, and bigger fish and regular size fish, and seals eat bigger fish. Where there’s no sea ice, there’s no algae growing. And if there’s no algae, no plankton, no shrimp, no regular size fish, no big fish, no seals and, you guessed it, skinny, hungry polar bears swimming around wondering why they can’t find any food. (more…)

Wildlife Photography

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Hey Folks,

Huge congratulations to all those who did so well in the recent BBC and Natural History Museum Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. Overall winner Greg du Toit has a remarkable image in “Essence of Elephants”. The winners of all the various categories should be proud of some fantastic photography.

I saw an interview with Paul Souders, winner of the “Animals in their Environment” category on BBC here. Congrats to Paul for an incredible image, and a great job in the interview. Paul deserves huge kudos for getting out their, on his own, and doing the work. He doesn’t simply trek off to a well known and much favored hot spot and follow the hordes with their long lenses to do his photography. Sure, Churchill is one of the great polar bear photography meccas, but no tundra buggy and over-sized group for his trip. Just himself, his boat and hours upon hours of exploration trying to find a subject; it’s worth noting Paul spent over a week on his trip and saw only 2 polar bears, after spending 12-14 hours riding up to 30 miles a day on the ocean; the first of the 2 promptly raced off never to be seen again.

This should be inspirational to so many of us who do this work. We don’t need a dozen bears in the vicinity, and we don’t need to follow the footsteps of the masses and we don’t need to shoot gigabytes of images to make a great image. We need to be creative, diligent and persistent. And, of course, having your own boat doesn’t hurt either!

Congrats all.



Polar Bears and Critical Habitat Designation

Monday, February 18th, 2013
Polar bear (Ursus maritimus), Alaska.

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) on a barrier island of the coast of arctic Alaska. Please click the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Recently, a federal judge in Alaska, handed the US Fish and Wildlife Service (F&WS)  some homework, when he decided that the agency had been a little overzealous in their designation of critical habitat for the polar bear. In 2010, the Obama administration set aside nearly 190 000 square miles of onshore and off-shore critical habitat for the polar bear. That’s an awful lot of land (larger than the state of California). But polar bears, it seems, are an awful lot of bear.

Last month a federal judge ruled that it’s apparently ‘too much’ land. Which is in itself noteworthy, as the judge isn’t really there to decide what’s too much and what isn’t too much land for a polar bear. The judge is supposed to simply review the decision and see whether it follows the law.

The judge also said the F&WS decision had some “procedural deficiencies”; much better. This means, they hadn’t quite followed the law. So what was one of those deficiencies? How about this one?  Section 1533(i) of the Endangered Species Act (more…)