THE Traveler: Thomas Fletcher of Farmington.

The scene: A polar bear relaxes on a cliff overlooking the water in Svalbard, a group of Norwegian islands in the Arctic Ocean between continental Norway and the North Pole.

The scene: Fletcher and his wife focused the one-week trip on wildlife photography and took a couple of cruises, including a whale-watching excursion.

about the destination: This was Fletcher's second trip to Svalbard, in Norway's far north. "A cool thing there is the midnight sun; the sun never sets for easily a couple of weeks in the summer because you are so far above the Arctic Circle. The wildlife, the scenery — it is very grand," he said. During their trip, which was during the summer, he and his wife saw puffins, beluga whales, seals and countless waterfalls.

Getting the shot: "We got really lucky," Fletcher said. He and his wife had taken a day cruise on a fjord when the captain spied this polar bear about a half-hour after setting off. "He spent 20 or 25 minutes just hanging out, relaxing. At one point, he rolled onto his back and scratched himself," he said. Several hours later, as they motored back to port, they spied the bear swimming in the water. Likely, he had dined among the seals the group had seen in the area. Fletcher used a Canon EOS 7D camera with a 100-400mm lens to capture the scene.

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