After three days on a small boat looking for polar bears in Repulse Bay, Nunavut, Canada, Joe got lucky. 'We cruised at a distance, so we didn't disturb the bear. Once we were sure it was relaxed with our presence, I slipped quietly into the water with just a mask and fins, attached to the boat by a rope.' The polar bear now started to swim towards the boat. It didn't appear to notice Joe, and for 20 minutes he was able to take photographs from the water. But then the bear caught sight of its own reflection in the dome port and swam up to Joe. 'It's amazing when a huge, powerful animal comes beside you.' It came so close that its nose touched the housing, startling it. The second after Joe took this shot, the bear reached out and touched the dome with its paw. Then it turned and swam away, leaving Joe with an unforgettable image - symbolic 'of the power and elegance of a wonderful creature struggling to survive in a fast-changing climate'.
Nikon D2X + 10.5mm f2.8 fisheye lens; 1/320 sec at f12; ISO 400; Aquatica housing.