Photographer Brett Lobwein captures nature at its Arctic best

It's a true winter wonderland where nature's most captivating creatures come out to play.

Suburban Sydney oceanic photographer, Brett Lobwein, has shared his most recent project with his local newspaper, The Leader. It a behind-the-lens glance into an icy wilderness.

Whether frolicking in the depths below, lazying about on the bergs above, or roaming the ice for a feed, the shots show scenes inhabited by those who call the barren surrounds of glaciers, home.

This is the Arctic Circle - Svalbard, the most northerly point of Norway, where not only the most beautiful but some of the most dangerous animals live.

A female polar bear cleans her fur on the ice. Picture: Brett Lobwein

A female polar bear cleans her fur on the ice. Picture: Brett Lobwein

It was part of Lobwein's expedition with Oceanic Geographic, an opportunity to return to a magical place where patience for the ideal image pays off.

"Our focus was capturing wildlife and the stunning scenery which is literally at the cold face of climate change," the photographer said.

"This summer has been the hottest on record for the Arctic, hitting an incredible 34.8 degrees at a weather station in Sweden North.

Walrus on a berg. Picture: Brett Lobwein

Walrus on a berg. Picture: Brett Lobwein

The steamy temperature was recorded on July 26 in the small Swedish outpost of Markusvinsa, which sits on the southern edge of the Arctic Circle.

He says a trip highlight was finding the biggest group of 36 Bowhead whales (balaena mysticetu) in the area since the major whaling era in the 1600 and 1700s.

"Bowhead whales are known to live over 200 years, so many of the whales we witnessed would have been alive during the whaling in this region," Lobwein said.

"Close encounters are rare with these whales as they normally stick to the ice shelf.

"My wife Sarah-Jo was also lucky enough to capture the first ever underwater footage of a Bowhead whale with her GoPro."

A split shot of an iceberg. Picture: Brett Lobwein

A split shot of an iceberg. Picture: Brett Lobwein

Other memorable sightings included one blue whale, minkes, belugas, humpbacks, fin whales and about 155 white-beaked dolphins.

"There were plenty of various seals including Harbour, Walrus, Harp, and Bearded," Lobwein said.

"There was an incredible variety of birds including many people's favourite, the puffin."

But the winning shot he said, was an encounter with the 'king' of the arctic - the polar bear.

"It's the icon of the arctic," Lobwein said. " We managed to have one close encounter with a stunning female. We also witnessed at a distance, a mother with its cub."

A puffin. Picture: Brett Lobwein

A puffin. Picture: Brett Lobwein

This story Photographer captures Arctic adventure first appeared on St George & Sutherland Shire Leader.