Svalbard: Polar Bear Arctic Expedition

This workshop is sold out for 2016. We are doing the very same workshop in 2017, and registrations are open now.

We invite you to join us on an exciting photo expedition to Svalbard in June 2016, specially arranged for nature photography enthusiasts. We have chartered our own private ship, the M/S Malmø, for this expedition and we will have a small group, strictly limited to 12 guests.

We will focus on wildlife, including the polar bears on ice, birds and seals. This is a great opportunity to experience the arctic ice in the polar landscape. Our schedule is arranged around utilizing the time most beneficial to observing and photographing the wildlife on our excursions from the boat. Two Zodiac boats will get everyone closer to the wildlife on the ice or explore the amazing frozen landscape of the glaciers. With 24 hours of sun, magic hour will last hours making for many more opportunities to whiteness the unique and wild qualities of this amazing land. We are omitting the traditional “cruise-ship” stops as these would take too much time from our photographic opportunities.

We hope to see you on this expedition, have a look at the video below to see what's in store for you!






June 17 - 26, 2016

Fitness Level:


Your Pros:

Andy Williams
Ole Jørgen Liodden


Sold Out

Andy was beyond hospitable and did 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. The photographic instruction was amazing, I learned so much!
— Steve Hollander, Galapagos '13

Itinerary and General Information

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 ten expeditions (2011 – 2014) our local guides have seen and photographed more than 180 of them. One thing is 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 hope and expect to see and photograph all of the major wildlife that inhabits the region: whales, walrus, seals, arctic fox, reindeer, birds too numerous to count! It's easier to find big marine mammals like Walrus and seals when there is less ice. In mid summer we can find Walruses in water, on the beaches or on ice floes. When conditions permit we go to the north-eastern parts of Svalbard were we even find the small Walrus cubs. Mid summer is a great time for bird photography in Svalbard, and we will have many opportunities to shoot birds at sea and ashore. Most birds stays 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.

Aboard M/S Malmø

Our home for 9 days and 8 nights will be the M/S Malmø, a traditional ship built in 1943 for the Swedish Martime Administration. After a long and successful career as an ice-strengthened pilot ship and maritime training vessel, she was rebuilt in 2013 to become a passenger ship with space for 12 passengers, 2-4 guides, and a crew of 8. She is a well-maintained ship, in excellent condition, with all the latest navigation, security and safety equipment on board. The Malmø is 37 meters long and carries two zodiacs on board for our off-ship activities. While our cell phones will not work, the satellite phone is available for emergencies and, for a fee, calls to home or anywhere in the world. Electricity on board is 220 volts using European 2-prong plugs, so bring an adapter.

Accommodations on Malmø consist of 5 twin cabins with upper and lower bunks, and private bathroom and shower. There is one additional twin cabin that will have a shared bathroom and shower - these two spaces will be offered at a $750 discount. The cabins are bright, clean and comfortable. The ship has large observation decks for wildlife spotting and photography. The decks are lower on Malmø, so we'll be closer to eye-level when we're lucky enough to spot a polar bear on the ice. We'll have a feeling of privacy and intimacy on our ship for 12, instead of many ships that ply these waters with 50 or more passengers. We will enjoy three great meals a day on board Malmø, as well as afternoon tea/coffee. Special dietary requirements can be handled with no problem. Mealtimes will be as regular as possible, but our crew knows that photography has priority on this expedition and that flexibility is necessary.

What’s Included

  • Double occupancy lodging (Single available, just ask)
  • All meals and soft drinks during the workshop
  • Photographic guiding and instruction from two pros
  • Image reviews and post-processing instruction
  • Fun, inspiration and a great time!

Whats Not Included?

Air travel from your home to and from Longyearbyen, Norway. Hotel nights in Oslo as needed (though we will arrange). Trip insurance (recommended, we recommend Travelguard). Tips for the boat crew. Alcoholic beverages. Items of a personal nature. Anything not specifically listed as included above.

Payment Terms

Fly from your home and arrive in Longyearbyen, Norway on or before June 17, 2016. Flights home from Longyearbyen can be anytime after 12:01am on June 26, 2016. A non-refundable deposit of $4,000 will secure your space on this workshop. Further payment of $4,000 will be due by December 1, 2015. Final payment of $3,995 will be due not later than March 31, 2016. Payment for this workshop is by your personal check or bank transfer.

Additional Information

This workshop is strictly limited to 12 guests, so if you're interested, grab your space now by clicking the Sign Me Up! button below. We'll see you in Svalbard!