EuroNatur meets the Polar Bear

What happened before the click...Photographers tell their story behind a special picture. This time, our graphic designer reports on her trip to Arctic climes and a special moment.

A Polar Bear near Svalbard
© Kerstin Sauer/EuroNatur

The ship’s engine stopped, and the loudspeaker aroused us with the words “polar bear”. No more was needed to ensure that, within a minute, we were to be found up on deck, as quiet as church mice. There he sat, regally, majestically silhouetted against the light, his fur coat surrounded by a white halo of light. A young, inquisitive polar bear, around three years old. An unreal beauty, incredible that we had found him in the sheer expanses of ice.

In truth, I prefer to travel in warmer climes. But Peter Laufmann, a journalist with the magazine natur, and a jury member of the photo competition “European Treasures of Nature”, had so often enthused me with tales of his adventures as a guide in the Arctic. I simply had to take a picture of this ice-enchanted landscape. But, more ominously, he added that each time he went, he noticed more and more the effects of climate change. Thanks to him, my partner and I did not hesitate to sign up for an arctic adventure, when, at short notice, a double cabin became free on a small expedition boat. By a stroke of luck, this is a Svalbard expedition for wildlife photographers with Norbert Rosing, the pioneer of polar bear photography. We are in also good hands with Captain Kim, who has been sailing the Artic waters for decades with various research projects, using his own nautical charts. So it is that we set course for the isolated icy landscapes around Spitzbergen to search out and hopefully find these white rulers of the Arctic.

After six days of being tossed around on the high seas, we had finally made it. We had spent the day on deck at temperatures of -20°C. When the loudspeaker woke us, we seemed to have been asleep barely five minutes. Whenever I reflect on this experience, I can still feel the arctic ice crystals on my cheeks, but my heart feels a warm glow.

EuroNatur employee Kerstin Sauer
© Wilfried Dunckel

Kerstin Sauer has been the art director at EuroNatur for 13 years. Even in her free time, she is to be found on the hunt for special pictures of Europe’s natural wonders. Her motto is most certainly: A picture says more than a thousand words.


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