Amazing adventures by ice maiden British photographer who has visited north and south poles 30 times
Arctic and antarctic exploration is still a world dominated by macho men, but not exclusively.
One of the women who has made the most secluded corners in the world her own is Sue Flood, who has been to the planet’s north and south poles more than 30 times.
Sue's love of wildlife has kept her going back again and again to take photos of everything from polar bears to penguins. She’s even been swimming with 1,000lb, 11-foot leopard seals who can easily fit a whole human head into their jaws.
On top of the world: Wildlife photographer Sue Flood, 46, is pictured at the North Pole
And Sue has not just experienced the the wild side of the poles, she also spent time with people who make a living in those regions, from Inuit hunters to Russian ice breaker crews.
The 46-year-old has even followed in the footsteps of legendary explorers Ernest Shackleton and Captain Scott, visiting the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica a number of times.
She visited both Scott and Shackleton’s cabin with Alexandra Shackleton, the grand-daughter of legendary explorer Sir Ernest, in 2008.
Sue, originally from North Wales, has worked on the BBC’s ‘The Blue Planet’ and ‘Planet Earth’ series, as well as the Disneynature film ‘Earth’. She has also published a book of her
photographs, called Cold Places.
Travellign far and wide: Sue's trips to the North Pole even saw her travelling on a Russian nuclear icebreaker
Fellow female explorer Alexandra Shackleton wrote the foreword for Sue’s book after visiting her grandfather’s hut for the first time.
The photographer said: 'I have to say it’s a pretty male dominated environment in both wildlife photography and in the Arctic and Antarctic, and I am definitely one of the few women to have been there doing what I do.
'There have been many occasions, on ice breaker ships and with the Inuit hunters when I’m the only woman around and it’s a real privilege to have such incredible experiences.
Wildlife at its best: This photo shows emperor penguins with a young chick at Snow Hill Island rookery in Antarctica
Happy feet: Sue also took these touching photos of penguin parents
'I have always dreamed of working with wildlife and going to some of the most remote places on Earth.
'When I was at school when we were asked what we wanted to do, I would always say “work with David Attenborough” and they would say, “yes but what do you really want to do No one really gets to do that.”
'Now here I am several years later and I have worked with David Attenborough and even sipped champagne with him at Buckingham Palace.
Impartial observer: A polar bear cub rests his head on his mother, who has been tranquilised by biologists
Action shot: A more lively polar bear goes for a swim
'I had the honour of being invited to a reception with adventurers and explorers, just before Christmas. It doesn’t get better than that.'
Sue, who joined the BBC 1993, said the harshness of the Arctic and Antarctic meant there were moments when her life was at risk.
She said: 'I have been underwater with a 12-foot-long leopard seal and that was pretty hairy, it could fit your whole head in its mouth and it would come up and bite your hands in the gloves.
Dangerous profession: Sue went swimming with leopard seals, some of which easily fit a whole human head into their jaws
'I actually once floated away in a tent as well on a piece of ice in the Arctic when I really thought we were going to die – we were miles from anywhere when the sea ice on which we were camping broke up.
'Cameraman Doug Allan and our Inuit guide Olayuk and I had to be rescued by helicopter. It was rather a sobering experience.
'I have also been stalked by polar bears out on the Arctic sea ice, and trekked for miles across the Antarctic to see penguins.'
Near death experiences: Members from one of Sue's teams had to be rescued by helicopter at one point as they were on a piece of ice that had broken away
Basic living conditions: Sue in one of the tents that they set up when they are camping in the Arctic or Antarctic
On one particularly amazing trip to
the Antarctic Sue said they were forced to land the helicopter away from
a colony of penguins so as not to disturb them.
She said: 'We had about a mile walk to get to the colony carrying all our equipment.
'I decided to have a rest and lie down after carrying my camera gear through the snow.
the noise of hundreds of chicks calling for their parents in the
distance it was amazing and I actually fell asleep for short while.
I woke up there was a baby penguin beside me lying down with its
flipper in the palm of my hand, I mean you can’t beat that, it was
Hanging out with the locals: Sue Flood with an Elderly Inuit woman in Arctic Bay, Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada
Going where few women have gone before: Sue taking photos of a colony of penguins