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Svalbard Photos


TrekRover

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I just got back from spending a week in the Arctic around Svalbard. It was an absolutely amazing and jaw-dropping experience. There is 24 hours of daylight during the summer! With a diverse wildlife ecosystem.

My main goal was to capture polar bears in their natural habitat. I was very fortunate to encounter 10 polar bears throughout my trip! Below are some snaps of a mother and her 1.5-2 year old cub.

For these particular shots, I used an a7RIV and 600mm F/4 GM OSS at ISO-100, f5.6 to capture these polar bears from about 1 km away on a zodiac boat.

Could contain: Animal, Bear, Mammal, Wildlife, Polar Bear

Could contain: Animal, Bear, Mammal, Wildlife, Polar Bear

Could contain: Animal, Bear, Mammal, Wildlife, Polar Bear

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14 hours ago, LensBrew said:

 

I'm team seal. That one was literally posing for you!

Haha seals are awesome! They do have some very human like behavior! I always wonder what the seals are thinking when they stare at humans. I once saw a seal have a very human like behavior and scratch an itch with their flipper. Also seen videos where they play with scuba divers. Here's a seal from Antarctica waving with its tail! 

Antarctica Seal

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On 8/4/2023 at 12:30 PM, TrekRover said:

Haha seals are awesome! They do have some very human like behavior! I always wonder what the seals are thinking when they stare at humans. I once saw a seal have a very human like behavior and scratch an itch with their flipper. Also seen videos where they play with scuba divers. Here's a seal from Antarctica waving with its tail! 

Antarctica Seal

They are the best! I want to capture them one day, but that's a far future plan.

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On 8/8/2023 at 11:19 AM, bjohnson said:

Really awesome stuff! Can you tell us a bit about getting there and getting around? Did you go as part of a tour, or use a local outfitter/guide?

I really like the shots where you've got snow with heat-shimmer in the background.

Sure! In Svalbard, the main settlement is Longyearbyen. At peak season, it has a population of ~2,500. It has a small airport where you can fly into from Oslo, Norway. The small town does have a taxi and shuttle service that you can call to take you from the airport to the town center. By law, you cannot leave the town borders without a guide with a gun. The reason for this is to scare off polar bears and warn them from getting close. You can hire local guides to go hiking, snowmobiling, photographing, camping, etc.

For my trip, I went with Quark Expeditions. They are a company that specializes in traveling in polar regions by ship. Once I got to Longyearbyen, I boarded the ship and traveled along the coast of Spitsbergen for 8 days. Everyday we had 2 disembarkations from the ship onto inflatable zodiac boats to take us either on land or cruise around in the zodiacs to see the wildlife. 

Taking photos from the zodiac boat was challenging as the water kept the boat bobbing up and down, but I enjoyed the challenge and am extremely grateful at least I had some shots that were clear enough. 

If you're interested in Svalbard, here are a couple links:
https://en.visitsvalbard.com/things-to-do/activities/expeditions

https://www.quarkexpeditions.com/

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