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Alaska's North Slope
MAY 2006
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Photo captions by Michael Klesius
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Alaska's North Slope Gallery Photo

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Shorebound
Photograph by Joel Sartore

 A polar bear and a flock of gulls share a whale carcass on Alaska's North Slope, a Utah-size chunk of land stretching from the Brooks Range to the Arctic Ocean. Rich in both wildlife and petroleum, the slope crystallizes the question: Should we expand oil and natural gas exploration in the Alaskan wilderness?

Polar bears are indirectly suffering the fallout from global oil dependence. To survive, they hunt for seals on pack ice. But a warming climate—accelerated by the burning of fossil fuels—causes pack ice to form later in the fall and melt earlier in the spring. So the bears—getting hungrier and thinner—must roam the shores for what food they can find.

Photo Fast Facts
Camera: Nikon F5
Film Type: Fujichrome Velvia
Lens: Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8
Speed and F-Stop: 1/15 @ f/2.8
Weather Conditions: Overcast and windy
Time of Day: 7 p.m.
Lighting Techniques: Slow shutter with flash
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