Day 1: Arrive in Helsinki, Finland
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.
Day 2 : Fly to Longyearbyen, Svalbard and Embark
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.
Days 3 to 10: Exploring Spitsbergen
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.
Day 11: Disembark in Longyearbyen & Fly to Helsinki, Finland
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.