FIFTEEN FEET FROM A POLAR BEAR : We just returned from two weeks exploring the Arctic, an amazing experience that included this close-up encounter with the Far North's most iconic species. I was safely looking down at this female polar bear from the bow of our ship when I took the photo. She had made her way to the edge of the pack ice, about 600 miles from the North Pole, to check us out. She literally sniffed the hull of the ship. I'll be sharing many more photos and details on our blog.