I See You!

On a small ship in Scoresby Sound in Greenland, we were taken to an area that was expected to possibly provide pixel bears–sight of a bear or bears a LOOOOONG way off. Instead, we spotted one a few hundred yards away on an ice floe, and we coasted slowly toward it. The bear was sleeping on the floe, but occasionally would raise its head, turn in our direction and sniff. I joked that it was trying to decide which one of us would taste best. Our naturalist guide told us that it was no joke. Finally, the bear could stand it no longer and ambled over to the edge of the floe, jumped in and swam over to us. He (?) was possibly 25 yards away, again sniffing. Finally he decided he could not get to us on the ship and gave up, swam back to the floe, shook off the water like a wet dog, then jumped back in and swam away. Very exciting!

Type of Critique Requested

  • Aesthetic: Feedback on the overall visual appeal of the image, including its color, lighting, cropping, and composition.
  • Conceptual: Feedback on the message and story conveyed by the image.
  • Emotional: Feedback on the emotional impact and artistic value of the image.
  • Technical: Feedback on the technical aspects of the image, such as exposure, color, focus and reproduction of colors and details, post-processing, and print quality.

Specific Feedback and Self-Critique

I took several shots of this pose, but this one had the bear looking up, as if he were looking at me–probably was. I like the connection with the bear, coupled with his reflection. I wish I had his full reflection, but excitement ruled at the moment. Is the ice or the light area of his coat too bright? Should I crop? Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

Technical Details

1/500, f/8.0, ISO 200, 428mm. uncropped, basic panel Lightroom editing.



Great moment and yes very exciting. I personally love polar bears…this cute furry animal that is pigeon toed but considering us for dinner at the same time.

Cool shot…you can feel the bear’s power and readiness. Must have been very hungry. Would also have loved for that full reflection.

On the other hand, by not having it, it puts the focus on his face and head. You feel that sense of being hunted. So in this case it works. I might have also zoomed out and tried to grab a shot of that full reflection. Reflections only work when the water is still.

The snow and his coat look great. I would tone down that highlight on the flank so it doesn’t distract the eye.

Agree that the eye-to-eye connection with the bear is the focal point of this image.

I will say it to you too, I would use a higher ISO and get more shutter speed. You don’t know what this bear will do and given it being active, you might also grab a high action shot.

Hope that is helpful,


Thanks so much for the suggestions. Yes, I agree that the highlight on the coat should be toned down. Yes, in the excitement of the moment, I didn’t get the full reflection with the bear or alone. Thanks for the tip about using higher ISO/shutter speed. I’m not very experienced in wildlife photography.

Wow – what an incredible encounter!! You got a wonderful trophy and I’m glad the bear didn’t get one of you for dinner. Congratulations on the EP – very well-deserved!

Wonderful action shot in a tough lighting situation. The partial reflection doesn’t bother me at all.