In a breathtaking, short film showcase recently shared by National Geographic, we get a glimpse of what it takes for nature photographers like Joshua Holko to document polar bears in their harsh natural habitat. Being a nature photographer often involves working in remote locations with the toughest shooting conditions. National Geographic gives us an idea about what a day out in the field looks like for polar photographer Joshua Holko in a short film titled Ghosts of the Arctic.
Joshua says the cold is his home, and we can see that it means having learned to embrace the stories unfolding in the extreme temperatures of Svalbard. To capture these stories, he needs to brave the conditions of the Arctic archipelago, and be at the right place at the right time. “In order to connect with my subjects, I need to fully immerse myself,” he also says, which is not a mere feat given the unforgiving wilderness and often unpredictable subjects. He comes to the Arctic during the winter, when temperatures can drop down to -40 C. His mission is to track and photograph polar bears and capture them against the raw beauty of the Arctic wilderness. That’s definitely tough for both him and his gear.
He follows their tracks amidst the white expanse of snow and ice, until finally, after three days of searching, Joshua catches a rare sight of a polar bear mom and her cub, and we see him take his shots. Nothing stands between him and the beautiful creatures. As a nature photographer, moments like these are what he lives for. Short documentary films like this, done in the classic National Geographic style, give us a front row seat into what goes into the exceptional nature photographs we see online and in print. You can watch more of these eye-opening stories on National Geographic’s Short Film Showcase.
Screenshot taken from the video