Viewing this image still sends chills up my spine. The expedition ship Endeavour sat motionless along the ice edge. This young bear continued to come closer, jumping between ice floes until she was in range right below the bow of the ship.
And then she tested the ice. A polar bear will test the ice before jumping, doing a couple of pushups along the edge to see if it the ice edge will hold its weight. This tips you off to be ready.
As I focused on the bear I whispered to myself, “take the leap!” The young bear launched itself like an Olympic diver. I held my breath, squeezed the trigger, and captured a sequence of frames with motor drive. Perfect form, toes pointed.
A still photograph freezes a moment in time. This image begs the question, “did she make it?”
Location: Svalbard, Norway
Photograph Date: 2000
Medium: Chromogenic Print