Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Polar Bear Tracks

Polar bear tracks on wind-blown snow, Barter Island, Alaska.
Canon 1Ds Mark III, 24-105mm f4L IS, 1/50 sec @ f20, ISO 400

The strong winds of the arctic blow the snow vigorously across the tundra creating patterns on the hardened surface. The pressure of a polar bear foot upon the fresh snow remains as the snow around it is blown away, leaving a set of footprints that are raised upon the surface rather than depressed. Even the slight weight of an Arctic fox is enough to change the surface composition of the snow, and a track will remain as the snow around it is eroded by the wind. The shadows from the low angle light provide the necessary depth to distinguish the pattern details.

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