Arctic Winter Polar Bears Expedition Report

March 26 - April 3, 2018

In late March this year (2018) I lead my second ship based expedition to Svalbard in Winter to photograph the wildlife and arctic landscapes of this remote archipelago in a winter setting. The primary reason for choosing late March was at this time of the year (and at this latitude of nearly 80º North) the sun is very low in the sky all day and thus there is hours of golden light available for photography. Dawn and twilight light at this time of year typically last three or more hours and even at midday the sun is still very low in the sky. This situation provides hours and hours of superb light for photography. There is also something about the quality of light in winter at this latitude that translates very well into photographs. The light is soft and ethereal and often has wonderful pink and blue pastel shades not found at other times of the year. For the landscape photographer this combination of light, snow and ice is simply unmatched in my experience.

This expedition was for just twelve photographers and utilised the same ice-hardened expedition class ship I have been using for Polar Bear photography over recent years. Amongst the twelve photographers was my surprise special guest for the expedition – French wildlife photographer Vincent Munier. It was an absolute pleasure to host Vincent for this expedition and on a personal note, it was a thrill for me to photograph the wildlife and landscape of Svalbard together (in particular the evening we spent photographing the full moon rising over the snow caped mountains). Our wildlife count for the trip included five Polar Bears, three Arctic fox, seven Walrus, seven Ivory Gulls plus a plethora of Reindeer and other sea birds.