A photographer took a walk on the wild side to capture these incredible up close and personal pictures of brown bears in the wild.
Fearless Sergey Gorshkov, 52, risked life and limb to photograph the huge beasts in their natural habitat – even swimming with them to get the best shots.
He spent years devoting hundreds of hours at a time to the bears to develop an intimate knowledge of their behaviours and traits.
Sergey said: “I am ready to return to the same place several times and at different times of the year to see the bears during different seasons.
“I can watch how my characters change with time and by coming back, I ‘dig’ deeper and deeper, and bring new pictures from each trip.
“When you put them all together, you get a concrete story, not just a single photo.”
The brown bears grow to nearly 10 feet tall when standing and weigh around 650kg when fully grown.
However, they are gentle with humans and feast on a diet of salmon and berries.
To capture them at their finest, Sergey travelled to the Kamchatka, a peninsula off the south east coast of Russia, which is home to the world’s densest brown bear population.
He swam through icy waters to scoop up the fish as the bears hunted for their next meal, developing a close relationship with the massive creatures.
They look almost like children playing as he captured them splashing through the water and running after each other through rivers.
But no matter how close he gets, Sergey always remembers to respect the wild animals.
The siberian-born snapper said: “Over the years of working with bears, I developed rules for communicating with these predators.
“The first step is to assess the bear – whether they’re aggressive or not.
“I believe that I have learned to distinguish between which bears you can work with and which you cannot.
“The main thing you cannot do is hide from a bear. The beast must know about my presence.
“I’m often asked if I’m afraid of bears. Of course, I’m afraid, like any normal person.
“Moreover, I fear them more than most people, because I know them better than many.”
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