It may be cold out there, but these pictures will warm your heart. Taken by Lana Tannir, talented ethical wildlife photographer and advocate for animal welfare around the world.
There's something magical about snowy landscapes. Maybe it's the way the ethereal look of glistening snow in the sunshine, maybe it's the out-of-this-world feeling you get when you're surrounded by fluffy snow as far as the eye can see.
Photographer Lana Tannir is an expert at photographing wild animals in freezing climates, from Norway to Germany, spending hours standing in sub-zero temperatures to get the perfect shot.
Lana is an advocate for ethical wildlife photography, championing the philosophy of leaving no trace behind and not disturbing the animals.
She shared some of her favourite winter photos with us, and told us a bit more about the stories behind them. Over to you, Lana...
1. Northern Gannets
One of the largest seabirds of the North Atlantic, northern gannets are primarily found in Arctic regions. During the summer months, the gannets return to their nesting sites, where bonded pairs meet to breed and raise a single chick. Every time one of the parents returns to the nest after hunting for fish, the mated pair greet each other by standing face to face, wings out, knocking bills together and bowing. This image was capture in Northern Germany, where I witnessed a large colony of seabirds raising their chicks.
2. Arctic Fox
Arctic foxes are frequently seen in and around Longyearbyen. In winter, the foxes have thick, white fur. This serves as camouflage in the snow and protects them from other predators and extreme minus temperatures. In this photo, the fox is shedding its fur to prepare for summertime. During the summer, arctic foxes usually have a dark brown or black coat color to blend in with their environment.
3. Orcas in Norway
This photo was taken during my expedition in Skjervøy, Norway. My mission was to document the conservation efforts of two innovative whale watching companies in the area. One afternoon, we were out on the boat and this orca appeared right in front of our boat for a few seconds. I was very lucky to capture the stunning scenery and the light in the area.
4. Spot the differences
Male and female orcas can be distinguished by the size of their dorsal fin. Compared to female Orcas, males tend to have larger dorsal fins. During my time in Northern Norway, I came face-to-face with this beautiful male Orca during an afternoon at sea – a moment I will never forget!
5. Reindeer in Norway
The Svalbard reindeer is a small subspecies of reindeer found on the Svalbard archipelago. Reindeer in Svalbard roam freely and are acclimated to human presence. This image was taken in the vicinity of Longyearbyen while on expedition in Svalbard.
6. Sled dogs
This image was taken during my expedition in Svalbard in May 2019. Since there are only about 50km of road in and around Longyearbyen (the northernmost town on Earth), sled dogs and snowmobiles are the only means for locals to travel outside the city on land. Moreover, as there is a danger of polar bears outside the town, it is only possible to leave Longyearbyen accompanied by an experienced guide.
7. Seals in Germany
It was my last day in Northern Germany, and I was just about to leave the sandy shores of the North Sea as I spotted this beautiful seal lounging in the waves. We spent a couple of moments looking at each other, as it splashed in the water, thoroughly enjoying the refreshment after a long day of hunting for fish.
Bonus photo - Midnight in the Arctic Circle
This photo was taken around midnight in Longyearbyen in Svalbard. In spring and summer, there are 24 hours of daylight in the Arctic (the so-called Midnight Sun). When I walked along the coast that evening, there was a high tide and the city was perfectly reflected in the water. I didn't plan to go out that night and was very lucky to be in the right place at the right time.