Traveling to Svalbard is an unforgettable experience. Due to its inaccessibility, nature has remained pristine and the fauna is unique. The archipelago exerts a great attraction on nature lovers and explorers, many of whom didn’t survive its harsh environment in the past. Today, exploring the islands is easier. An unforgettable experience for any photographer and adventurer!
25 May – 9 June 2022
Easy to moderate, comfortable, cold!
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Departure: flight to Longyearbyen, where we check in to the hotel. Being present one day before the departure of the ship is highly recommended, to avoid trouble with cancelled flights or delays. The extra day gives you a great opportunity to experience daily life in the high Arctic.
Day 2 – 14
We embark the MS Freya, which will be our home for the next 8 days. You will explore one of the worlds wildest and most beautiful areas, making daily landings and discovering Arctic wildlife. This is an expedition, so ultimately our route will be determined by wind, weather, ice and the presence of wildlife. Patience and flexibility are the keys to success as we strive for the ultimate Svalbard experience!
After breakfast, we check out of the ship at 9 AM.
During early summer, there is a lot of sea-ice around the north of Svalbard and fjords are still covered with fast ice. Breeding birds arrive and are in full display. The beautiful light of the earliest summer sun enables you to scout and take photographs all night long.
We explore the waters around Svalbard with an ice-strengthened ship, ideal for Arctic expeditions. Sailing into ice-covered fjords and spending lots of time in the pack-ice, you are sure to get amazing photo-opportunities.
Svalbard is without a doubt one of the purest and wildest places in Europe. Remote, yet easy to reach, you set foot on the archipelago after flying across the Barents Sea. Usually departing from Oslo or Tromsö, you can already admire the snow-covered peaks, glaciers and frozen fjords from the air. Very few people venture to the north of the islands in early summer. This trip is for those who look to make unique images in one of the most unspoiled parts of the world.
The waters surrounding Svalbard are our playground. After we lift our anchor and get the engine running, the itinerary depends on nature and climate. The presence of wildlife, the weather and the ice conditions are unpredictable, so patience and flexibility are the keys to a successful expedition!
The MS Freya is the perfect vessel for Arctic photo-expeditions: strongly built, spacious inside and ideally sized on the outside. The ships contains 11 comfortable cabins for 14 participants, so most travellers have a single cabin. The ship has one of the lowest decks available and offers plenty of observation space for all.
We assign cabins on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Two strong, very large Zodiacs are used for our landings, so everybody gets plenty of space for their lenses. As we travel in a small group, we remain flexible and base our planning on the best light conditions and wildlife sightings. Be ready to meet those polar bears in extreme close-up!
Svalbard boasts some spectacular species, some of which you can’t photograph anywhere better than here! One of our main goals are polar bears, so we spend a great deal of time photographing them on pack-ice and in front of blue glaciers. We will meet walruses and several other species of seal, Svalbard reindeers, Arctic foxes, Svalbard ptarmigans, the enigmatic ivory gulls and many more.
Whales come back to Svalbard at this time, and birds such as little auks, geese and waders start to breed. Most of these animals show little fear for humans and can be photographed from up close, always in a stunning winter landscape.
Everyone is welcome on this photo tour, whether you are a beginner or a pro. Taking pictures is not a prerequisite, as long as you love adventure and have a lot of patience. As for the photographic equipment: any kind of lens will get you good results here.
We base our planning on the best photo opportunities on deck, aboard the Zodiac or on land. Count on me to answer any questions, inspire you to try out new techniques and point out fresh perspectives. Come and explore!
Warm and waterproof clothes are essential on this trip, as we will be outside for many hours in sub-zero temperatures. You will receive a thorough briefing about how to dress warm and what kind of clothes to bring. We can expect temperatures varying from -5°C to 5°C, wind-chill factor not included! Aboard the ship, you can relax in the warm lounge where hot drinks are available around the clock.
Protecting your camera equipment from the cold, salt and snow will be very important. We will be happy to show you how we keep our gear up and running in the harshest conditions.
One of the keys to success on our Svalbard expeditions is the guides. This trip is lead by myself and Pieter-Jan Dhondt. We both have extensive experience, having undertaken many photo-expeditions in the polar regions. We are qualified to drive Zodiacs in difficult conditions and know where to position the boats to get the best light angle, background, and distance.
With two professional guides, count on unmatched flexibility both in the Zodiacs and on land. And with two rubber boats, count on more space for you and your equipment!
Professional guidance, all meals and nights aboard the MS Freya, hot drinks, daily landings and excursions by Zodiac, lectures onboard and ashore, booking fees.
Flights to and from Longyearbyen, hotels in Longyearbyen before and after the boat trip, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, cancellation insurance, travel insurance (make sure it covers Arctic regions such as Svalbard!), purchases of personal nature, gratuities.