Photographing the Changing Arctic

Frances Beinecke, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council, and National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen discuss the changing climate of the arctic, which Nicklen has been photographing for years. The NRDC is awarding Nicklen with a first-ever BioGems Visionary Award for his Arctic photography. Nicklen, born and raised on Baffin Island, Nunavut, grew up in one of the only non-Inuit families in a tiny native settlement amid the ice fields of Northern Canada. His photography book Polar Obsession captures up-close documentation of the lives of leopard seals, whales, walruses, polar bears, bearded seals, and narwhals, and gives a vivid portrait of two extraordinary, endangered ecosystems. 

Bowhead Whale. From Arctic Obsession, by Paul Nicklen.
Bowhead Whale. From Arctic Obsession, by Paul Nicklen.

A bowhead whale surfaces from a dive at the floe edge, Lancaster Sound, Canadian Arctic.

( Paul Nicklen )
Leopard seal. From Arctic Obsession, by Paul Nicklen.
Leopard seal. From Arctic Obsession, by Paul Nicklen.

"The huge female leopard seal who tried to feed me penguins."

( Paul NIcklen )
Narwhals. From Arctic Obsession, by Paul Nicklen.
Narwhals. From Arctic Obsession, by Paul Nicklen.

Narwhals cross tusks as they jockey for a breath, Lancaster Sound, Canadian Arctic.

( Paul Nicklen )
A young polar bear leaps between ice floes. From Arctic Obsession, by Paul Nicklen.
A young polar bear leaps between ice floes. From Arctic Obsession, by Paul Nicklen. ( Paul Nicklen )
A mother bear and two-year-old cub drifting on glacier ice. From Arctic Obsession, by Paul Nicklen.
A mother bear and two-year-old cub drifting on glacier ice. From Arctic Obsession, by Paul Nicklen. ( Paul Nicklen )
Polar bear under water. From Arctic Obsession, by Paul Nicklen.
Polar bear under water. From Arctic Obsession, by Paul Nicklen.

A large male polar bear dives under the ice and the glassy calm surface of the Arctic Ocean.

 

( Paul Nicklen )
Spirit Bear with salmon. From Arctic Obsession, by Paul Nicklen.
Spirit Bear with salmon. From Arctic Obsession, by Paul Nicklen.

A five-year old male spirit bear with a pink salmon in its jaws.

( Paul Nicklen )
Spirit Bear. From Arctic Obsession, by Paul Nicklen.
Spirit Bear. From Arctic Obsession, by Paul Nicklen.

A spirit bear (also known as Kermode bear) looks for salmon on Gribbell Island, B.C.

( Paul Nicklen )
Spirit bear in trees. From Arctic Obsession, by Paul Nicklen.
Spirit bear in trees. From Arctic Obsession, by Paul Nicklen.

A young spirit bear settles into a mossy day bed at the foot of a giant western red cedar.

( Paul Nicklen )
A walrus guards her young pup. From Arctic Obsession, by Paul Nicklen.
A walrus guards her young pup. From Arctic Obsession, by Paul Nicklen. ( Paul Nicklen )
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