This unique 11-day voyage invites guests to embrace a true expeditionary spirit as they experience Arctic summer in Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. Rather than follow a set itinerary, we’ll journey along the coast and inner fjords to capture the best—and most vibrant—of Spitsbergen in late July. The Arctic summer season is unlike any other as the ice melts and the region becomes more accessible. You’ll be able to walk the snow-free tundra and seize every opportunity to photograph seasonal flowers such as purple saxifrage. You’ll relish the chance see incredible wildlife—including polar bears—as the prolonged daylight in the Land of the Midnight Sun maximizes wildlife sightings. We’ll also keep our eyes peeled for whales returning to the ice-free fjords, walruses, the elusive arctic fox which will be on the prowl, and a frenzy of bird activity on the towering cliff sides.
Inspiring you on this voyage through the snow-topped mountains, massive glacier fronts, deep-walled fjords, and vast swaths of untouched tundra will be award-winning photographer, filmmaker, workshop leader and lecturer Chris Linder, who transitioned from naval officer and oceanographic researcher to visual storyteller. “July is a magical time to visit Svalbard, when the light-filled summer days fuel a brief but intense explosion of life from tiny tundra flowers to polar bears, walruses, and whales,” says Chris, who has photographed more than 50 scientific expeditions. “The diversity of subject matter and enchanting low-angle light make this expedition a photographer’s dream.”
You’ll experience this once-in-a-lifetime photography-themed journey aboard Ocean Adventurer, which has long been a favorite among guests and expedition crew who are smitten with the charm and intimacy of this 128-passenger vessel, its ample outdoor deck space, numerous cozy spots to socialize onboard—and the outdoor jacuzzi. Ocean Adventurer won the Travel Weekly Magellan Silver Award for Best Overall Small Cruise Ship.
Your Arctic adventure begins in Helsinki, renowned for its extraordinary architecture and intriguing mix of eastern and western influences. If you arrive early, explore the many museums, galleries and restaurants, relax at a Finnish sauna or wander the vibrant Design District before retiring at your included hotel.
This morning, the group will transfer to the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport and board our private charter flight to Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen’s largest settlement, where you’ll have time to explore before embarkation. As your ship sets sail, enjoy your first view of the island’s rugged, glacier-topped mountains rising majestically from the frigid waters.
The unspoiled beauty of Spitsbergen is the focus of this one-of-a-kind voyage along the west coast of the island, which is the largest in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. Each day will be a photographic surprise as we explore the costal fjords and smaller, outlying islands, and venture into the colorful tundra during shore and Zodiac excursions. The weather and, at this time of year, the melting ice will influence our route and shore landings, where you’ll be able to photograph stunning scenery, wildlife, birds and historical sites. And, of course, magnificent landscape shots are just at your fingertips as 60 percent of Spitsbergen (which means “pointed mountains”) is covered in glaciers and much of the terrain is mountainous.
Our nimble expedition ship allows us to navigate shallower waters and tighter spaces, so we expect to explore the more hard-to reach areas and hike wherever possible.
After the long cold winter, Spitsbergen is virtually invaded by birds which migrate here in vast numbers to nest. The waters surrounding the archipelago, a rich food source for marine life, attract walruses, seals and whales. As with many regions of the world, summertime offers a greater diversity of land-dwelling wildlife to photograph, including polar bears, arctic foxes, Svalbard rock ptarmigan and Svalbard reindeer. Summertime visitors will be surprised to find themselves photographing what’s at their feet—
a palette of brightly colored wildflowers that grace the summer tundra.
One of the main features of Spitsbergen Photography: Under the Midnight Sun will be the presentations and hands-on learning opportunities with award- winning guest photographer Chris Linder, whose expertise extends to science and conservation. You’ll be able to learn from Chris about the two most important aspects of photography—composition and light—as he covers lens choices, perspective, composition, and how to make the most of various lighting and weather situations. You’ll gain insight on photographing popular polar subjects such as polar bears—as well as unique polar landscapes, flora and lesser-known species. The goal is for all guests—regardless of skill level or equipment—to expand on and improve their photography on the voyage.
Chris will also demonstrate how photographers of all levels can use photo storytelling to advance conservation goals and polar ambassadorship. In addition to presentations titled Composition and Light, and Journeys of a Science Photographer, Chris will present Science on Ice and the Big Thaw, using images from his book of the same name. “My goal for the guests on this expedition is to not only help everyone return home with great photographs,” says Chris, “but also to improve their photography skills. Through lectures and hands-on lessons, I will explain how perspective, light, composition, and story work together to make compelling images. My focus will be on artistic considerations more than technical ones, in the hope that photographers of all skill levels can benefit.”
Presentations by other onboard experts, who specialize in marine biology, ornithology, glaciology and history, will complement the photography sessions and help prepare you for the adventures that await.
In addition to photography, optional hiking and Zodiac excursions get you up close—though never obtrusively— to the incredible wildlife. At day’s end, you’ll have plenty of prized photographs and exciting stories to share with your shipmates.
Your adventure ends in the frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen. From here, we’ll transfer you to the airport for your return group charter flight to Helsinki, included in the transfer package.
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