Nature's Witness

Vision in White

  • Photo by Michelle Valberg
  • PhotoZone
  • Oct 04, 2022

WHILE KNEELING ON A RIVERBANK in British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest, Canadian photographer Michelle Valberg (below) watched a regal spirit bear move upriver, hunting salmon. Coming ever closer, the huge bear suddenly dunked his head and held it underwater as he searched for salmon roe, a behavior Valberg had never seen before. When he burst up for a breath, he shook like a puppy, sending out a halo of spray that gleamed against the dark forest beyond. In that brief moment of eye contact, Valberg felt they were “deeply connected in a way that is hard to describe.”


A photographer for more than 35 years, Valberg focuses on wildlife, sharing her love of nature through her work and during guided photo expeditions. On a recent trip to Norway to photograph polar bears, her group witnessed a mother bear and her cub leaping across ice floes not far from their boat. “We all felt emotionally connected to that vision, those bears. We all become spirits of this natural world.” For Valberg, that’s the power of nature photography. “Hopefully, it sparks people’s imagination,” she says. “It’s a magical way to show the world what we have to lose if we don’t take better care of it.”

More from National Wildlife magazine and the National Wildlife Federation:

Keeping the Wild in Wildlife Photography »
Shared Moment: Polar Fleece »
See Last Issue's Nature's Witness »

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