Polar Bear Waves At Camera!


Photographer Michael S. Confer spent months trying to get the perfect shot of the 29-year-old animal, named Coldilocks at Philadelphia Zoo, PA. Waves At Camera!

He said: “I have a zoo membership and had been going by the polar area on every visit, hoping to see even a splash. But I had no luck. I spent a long time sat next to her enclosure waiting for here to dive in.”Mr Confer eventually got lucky during a visit to the enclosure with wife Shannon, 38, a university lecturer, and daughter Normandie, three.

“I had lost hope and was 50 yards away leaving the polar area when my wife yelled for me to hurry back. I come running back to viewing pane that runs down one side of her pool. There was Coldilocks swimming about ever so gracefully.

“She swam for 8 minutes and after setting the camera I was able to take about 140 shots.

“Because of her movement, shooting through glass and dealing with other spectators, most images I got were either blurry or obscured by bubbles. But I did get these five stunning results.

“In the closer images she was only two feet from my face, separated by only a pane of observation glass.

“Looking through the zoom with her pressed so close to me there were a couple of moments where I thought I was a goner. Having such a powerful animal so close really made me feel like I was vulnerable and small.

“After watching her play with her ball she came up to the glass and really peered into the lens. She was really curious about what I was doing.

“I couldn’t believe it when she suddenly straightened up and seemed to give me a wave. Then she circled past me and pushed away using her legs like a swimmer. It was an incredible sight.”

Mr Confer’s intimate images have won a number of awards.

He was a winner in the Communication Arts 50th Photo Annual unpublished category.

The images were then published in their October photo annual issue. Communication Arts in the US is the largest global trade journal of visual communications .

Two of the images were also selected as winners for the American Society of Media Photographers New York photo competition. They were exhibited in August at the Farmani Gallery in Brooklyn.

Coldilocks was born at Seneca Park Zoo in New York and was moved to Philadelphia in 1981.

She is part of the Ambassadors of Education for the Polar Bear International Partnership. The non-profit project aims to improve worldwide conservation of the polar bear and its natural habitat through teaching people about the animals.



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