Beat the heat with cool wildlife shots

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 August, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 August, 1997, 12:00am

You're hot! You're in Central, you're desperate to cool down.

But you don't want to resort to the sometimes expensive option of a walk through an air-conditioned shop. What can you do? How about a relaxing - and cooling - 20 minutes in the Images of Nature gallery at No 18 Wyndham Street? In fact, looking at the pictures is likely to make you shiver.

The gallery exhibits a glorious collection of wildlife photographs by American Thomas Mangelson.

The large snow-scapes and ice-scapes are spectacular.

Mangelson, recognised as one of the world's leading wildlife photographers, has captured images of a variety of animals during trips to the frozen wilds around Canada's Hudson Bay.

One picture, titled Born of the North Wind, shows a bear and a fox sitting together in a vast icy wilderness.

But it's not all as white as you might think. The ice is blue and the Arctic sky a dull orange. That shot earned Mangelson the BBC's 1994 Wildlife Photographer of the Year award.

Other pictures capture groups of playful polar bears relaxing in the snow and coyotes hunting in the northern forests.

One memorable shot shows one of the polar bear's grizzly cousins from further south opening its mouth to capture an unsuspecting salmon. The fish has leapt from the water to negotiate a waterfall . . . straight into the bear's mouth.

Mangelson has travelled throughout the world in pursuit of such photographic gems.

Other parts of the exhibition feature an African leopard scratching its head against a tree and a mighty parade of elephants.

In some of the pictures of lions, the wild beasts look a little too close for comfort, telephoto lens or not.

But it's the Arctic pictures which steal the show.

And they present an enormous contrast to the hot, sticky bustle of a summer's afternoon in Central.