Arctic Wildlife and Landscape Photography Aboard Our Own Private Ship
July 8–19, 2022
Svalbard’s location between continental Norway and the North Pole places it squarely in an area with some of the most impressive displays of wildlife in one of the largest undisturbed arctic environments on the planet. Glaciers, snow-covered mountain ranges, and fjords cover much of the archipelago. We hope to see and photograph polar bears, many types of seabirds, reindeer, arctic fox, whales, walruses, and other marine mammals.
Since it is a series of islands, Svalbard is best explored by private expedition ship. We’ve strictly limited this workshop to 12 guests on our own private, ice-strengthened, luxurious ship. With such a high instructor-to-guest ratio, there will be plenty of time for one-on-one instruction and our signature image reviews. We will work with you in the field to capture better wildlife and landscapes images. Back on the ship, we will show you how to process your images so that you’d be proud to hang them on your wall.
The focus of this workshop will be the abundant wildlife—think polar bears on ice, breeding birds, walrus, whales, and seals. Then there is the awe-inspiring scenery that surrounds you. Our schedule has been designed to optimize our time on small-boat excursions. We use two large Zodiacs to get off the ship and get close to the wildlife, and into the frozen landscape. With 24 hours of daylight, the photography never stops!
About the wildlife: This workshop offers significant opportunities for photographing wildlife, and while we do our best to maximize our wildlife encounters—based on past experiences, local knowledge, and the current conditions—we need to impress upon you that the wildlife really is wild and that we don’t control it.
This itinerary is subject to change due to weather, local conditions, and other factors.
July 8, 2022: Fly from your home to Longyearbyen, Norway (LYR airport code), arriving anytime before dinner. Group dinner TBD, then overnight at our hotel in Longyearbyen. You may find that staying overnight in Oslo (OSL) on July 7, 2022 makes your travel schedule easier. We can recommend a hotel for you right at the airport in Oslo.
July 9–18, 2022: We are aboard Polarfront, cruising the high-arctic waterways of the Svalbard archipelago. Our precise itinerary is not yet planned, we follow the wildlife and the sea ice conditions for our best photography options.
July 19, 2022: Workshop concludes after breakfast. Disembark Polarfront. Domestic flight to Oslo, with connections home or elsewhere. Note: there are two flights on SAS, one at 2:30 AM and one at 2:45 PM. Either flight is fine to take today.
Polar Bears: Our main target on this expedition is the polar bear. In June we are most likely to find them on the drifting ice. During the last 15 expeditions (2011–2017) our local guides have seen and photographed more than 250 of them. It's one thing to see a lot of bears—but getting close to them in great light is quite another!
Imagine the thrill of spotting one of these magnificent creatures at a distance, and then approaching carefully to get shots like this. We may get lucky and find a mom with cubs—or a bear with a kill—or even males sparring. While we can never guarantee any sightings, our guides have years of experience and have perfected their approach, providing unforgettable encounters with the King of the Arctic. The resulting images have won awards in competitions such as BBC WPY, Natures Best, and GDT.
Arctic Mammals and Birds: We expect to see and photograph all of the major wildlife that inhabits the region: whales, walrus, seals, arctic fox, reindeer, and birds too numerous to count! It's easier to find big marine mammals like walrus and seals when there is less ice. In midsummer we can find walruses in water, on the beaches, or on ice floes. When conditions permit, we will go to the northeastern parts of Svalbard were we even find the small walrus cubs. Midsummer is a great time for bird photography in Svalbard, and we will have many opportunities to photograph birds at sea and ashore. Most birds stay in the high Arctic until the end of August, before they start to move out to sea. This time of the year is also good if you dream of seeing the high Arctic specialties like the Sabines' Gull.
M/V Polarfront: Our home will be the M/V Polarfront. Built in Norway and chartered by the Norwegian state for most of her life, Polarfront is a regular in the Great North. A former weather and research ship for the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, she was completely refitted in 2015 as an expedition ship. Although she now flies the French flag, she's still particularly well suited to the ice-covered polar waters of Greenland. Polarfront is fully stabilized—unique for this kind of ship—making for smooth sailing and a very comfortable experience.
Everything about Polarfront is clean, fresh, new, and luxurious. The cabins are beautifully appointed, and the French cuisine is delicious. There are numerous deck areas from which to photograph, as well as two zodiacs. Accommodations on Polarfront consist of six double cabins ranging in size from 18 to 25 square meters, with en-suite bathrooms.
Easy: You can live on a small ship for a week and are able to climb up and down steep stairs on the ship, and get in and out of zodiacs into knee-deep water at times. Short walks on land.
Arrive Svalbard Airport, Longyear (LYR), Longyearbyen, Svalbard anytime on July 8, 2022. Flights out can be made anytime on July 19, 2022.
What to Bring
Please see our page How To Prepare For Your Workshop. We will send you a detailed information document 90 days before your workshop. This document will include specifics of where and when to meet, gear and clothing recommendations, and more.
- Double occupancy lodging. Single available for $275 supplement. (Hotel only.)
- All meals, soft drinks, and snacks during the workshop
- All transportation during the workshop
- Tips for crew, drivers, and local guides
- Meals and lodging onboard the ship
- Multiple image reviews and post-processing sessions
- English speaking local guide throughout the workshop
- Photographic guiding and instruction from 2 pros
- Image reviews and post-processing instruction
- Adventure, fun, inspiration, and a great time!
- Travel to and from Longyearbyen, Svalbard.
- Passport and visa fees (if applicable).
- Any meals or accommodations before or after the workshop dates.
- Items of a personal nature.
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Medical Evacuation Insurance (required).
- Travel Medical and Trip Cancellation Insurance (optional, but recommended).
- Anything else specifically not listed as included.
- Single rooming available for $275 supplement. (Hotel only.)
- Your non-refundable deposit will hold your space in this workshop.
- Further non-refundable payment is due by December 1, 2021.
- The non-refundable balance is due not later than April 1, 2022.
- The payment amounts are determined by your cabin choice.
- In addition to our standard Terms and Conditions, for this workshop all payments are non-refundable, and this is why we recommend comprehensive travel insurance including trip cancelation.
- Need special payment arrangements? No problem, just ask us.
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“Andy was beyond hospitable and would have done everything possible to make certain that everyone was having a good time and had everything that they needed. Andy's outward personality and leadership is much appreciated. ”
“Lisa was especially good at finding strengths in images from less experienced photographers, and encouraging them in paths to improvement.
Lisa found ways to teach and encourage along the whole spectrum, to everyone's great satisfaction. ”