This awesome photo, taken by Paul Souders and entitled “The Ice Bear,” was just named the grand-prize winner of National Geographic’s 2013 Photography Contest.
The shot beat out more than 7,000 other entries to win the title, which comes with a $US10,000 prize and a trip to National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Souders’ original captions reads: “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.”
According to an interview with Proof, National Geographic’s photo blog, Souders has photographed wildlife for the past 20 years. The moment he captured the bear underwater, however, was a special one.
“The bear swam up to the iceberg, ducked under and stayed underwater for several seconds as I moved my zodiac into position and then held out the camera on a six-foot boom near the entrance. I didn’t fire until she came up to breathe and take a look at me, and I kept firing the shutter as she submerged again,” he said to Proof. “She hung there, just below the surface, watching me, then came up for another breath before swimming away. I couldn’t see her from where I sat in my small zodiac boat; I was shooting blind with the wide angle. I sensed it was a unique situation, but the first thought in my mind was that I really didn’t want to screw up.”
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