When you see images of polar bears, they’re almost always in a snowy, ice environment, which is partly why photographer Dennis Fast’s pics of polar bears playfully frolicking in a flower field are so striking.
The majestic animals have a reputation for being extremely ferocious, but they obviously like to enjoy a beautiful summer day just like the rest of us. In this rare series of images, the cuddly-appearing white giants are seen in a field of fireweed in Northern Canada’s Hudson Bay, near lodges that are run by Churchill Wild out of Manitoba.
Fast explained his fascination with the animals to My Modern Met in an interview, remarking, “They have a slow, ambling gait as they drift about looking for anything that moves. It looks like they don’t have a care in the world, and that there is nothing they are afraid off. It’s not arrogance, exactly, but a quiet confidence that we often respect in humans and that translates well to the polar bear.”
He continued, “Most people are familiar with shots of polar bears in the ice and snow of Hudson Bay in Northern Canada and in other polar regions. They are so ingrained in people’s minds that you might think the North experiences only winter.
“It’s true that the winters are long and harsh, sometimes even for a polar bear. Imagine, then, how it feels for the photographer trying to cope in their environment! I have photographed the bears in conditions where the temperature hovered around -40° to -50°C (-40° to 58°F). Fortunately, it’s not always that cold, but it calls for multi-layers of clothing and special precautions with the camera. Frostbite is a constant concern, as is hypothermia.”
In the end, he says that he hopes his photos “inspire people to care about all wildlife and to do their part in ensuring that they are around for all future generations. It would be a shame to lose something as iconic as the polar bear.”