I love books of nature photography. I have a shelf-full of Dorling Kindersley and shelves of other publications including a few National Geographics. This book, however, may well take top spot. And I'm not even particularly interested in polar wildlife - I prefer wildflowers, and reef life, and butterflies and other insects.
In furtherance of my interest, as well as roaming the real world, I go each year to my local natural history museum to absorb what used to be called the Shell Wildlife Photography competition. I forget who sponsors it now. Each year I am enraptured by the images (though, frankly, the overall quality seems to have dropped off a bit in recent years). In Polar Obsession, there isn't a single wildlife photo that would be out of place in the gallery. More significant, however, is this: There are at least a dozen photos in the book would easily place as overall winner.
There isn't much text, but what there is humbling. Like you, I dream that in another life, I would rather fancy the idea of earning my living as a wildlife photographer. This book was a rude awakening from that idyll. What Nicklen had to go through to secure many of these images is little short of incredible. The book is well named; you would indeed need to be obsessed to endure the hardships and danger that Mr Nicklen has for his craft. And for his calling - his mission is to share with us the beauty he has seen, in order to make us care enough to act to save the polar regions. The obstacles he has overcome to collect these images makes them all the more precious.
One caveat: Nicklen does not shy away from showing nature red in tooth and claw. Some of the images in the book are truly gruesome. But never gratuitously so. Nicklen simply shows us Polar wildlife in all its raw and sometimes terrible beauty.
The words "Awesome" and "Breath-taking" are over-used these days. But. This book IS Awesome. And it WILL take your breath away.