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Image of the Month: April 2014

A comment by a former chairman of our club prompted us to raid the files of Mike Morley's Svalbard photographic expedition to pluck out another superb Image of the Month.

John Minary praised this photo, entitled The Last Polar Bear, for the way it connected with the viewer by stirring an emotion and because of its possible religious overtones. The sense of loneliness – or even abandonment – comes through strongly with this perfectly composed image. Polar bears tend to live solitary lives which means opportunities to capture them photographically can be few and far between.

Mike takes up the story as follows:

I called this photo The Last Polar Bear since global warming is reducing the pack ice around Svalbard and affecting bear habitats. Without the pack ice, there are no seals and, so, no main food for the bears. It is thought bears could be extinct from Svalbard within a generation. 

After photographing the animal close to the water's edge, we were leaving in the zodiacs (small inflatable boats) and the bear came and stood on a small ice-free ridge to watch us go and, for a split second, there was an angle with the clouds behind and I took this photo. I cropped it into a panoramic format and it leaves an impression of a lonely last stranded bear abandoned with no food on the top the highest mountain with no more ice left to support it.

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