Join Australian-based Pro Photographer and Tutor, Michael Snedic, on this exciting 11-day Photo Expedition, travelling through the Arctic around the archipelago of Spitzbergen/Svalbard. We will travel by ship and explore the coast, attempting to circumnavigate the island if ice conditions allow. Michael has led Photo Expeditions to Svalbard 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 to absolute rave reviews. For the photo tour participants, it was the ultimate trip of a lifetime, with plenty of 'once-in-a-lifetime' experiences and photos taken during this trip.
Highlights from previous Arctic Photography Expeditions
We will be seeking and photographing iconic Arctic wildlife species including polar bears, reindeer, foxes, walrus and other seals, various whale species, auks, puffins, and many many more, as well as stunning glacial landscapes.
Throughout the trip, Michael will be unhand to help you set up your camera(s), showing you the best settings to achieve great images, image critique and audio-visual sessions and lot's more.
There will be a maximum of 9 participants on this photo tour
Photographers of all experience levels are welcome. Michael will be guiding you and supporting your photography during the expedition. Not just in taking photographs in the field, but also in reviewing your photos, and receiving feedback, along the way. One of the added benefits of joining this photo adventure is that should there be any issues with your camera settings, or getting sharp, clear images, Michael is with you to assist and advise on every zodiac trip and landing.
"If there is such a thing as a “classic Arctic” expedition, this is it. You’ll get all the best of Spitsbergen, by exploring the western edge of the island and venturing to some outlying northern areas home to polar bears and walrus. You’ll come across colonies of seabirds numbering into the thousands and watch for whales in the water. This is the perfect expedition for exploring the "wildlife capital of the Arctic"- Peregrine Adventures
There will be many opportunities to photograph from the ship also. Landscapes, icebergs, and lots of wildlife, as we sail amongst them.
Our ship - Ocean Adventurer
The Ocean Adventurer is the perfect ship for people who enjoy soft adventure with creature comforts. It comfortably holds a maximum of 132 passengers, plus crew.
This sturdy expedition ship was built in 1975 and underwent an $8 million refurbishment in 2017 which included new engines and refurbished cabins and public spaces. All her cabins are ensuite with exterior views.
- Bar staffed by a professional bar tender (drinks added to ship board account)
- 24 hour tea and coffee available
- Theatre style auditorium for presentations
- Polar library
- Clinic with licensed Doctor
- Wifi in certain public areas (data usage charges apply)
- Optional webmail account for email (charges apply)
- Ship to Shore telephone communications (charges apply)
- Polar boutique selling essentials, souvenirs and clothing
- On board laundry service (charges apply)
- Gym with a selection of fitness equipment
The ship will also have non-photographer passengers. While we will be mingling with them and sharing the ship and the general Arctic experience, the photographic advice/instruction will be for our group. On outings we will usually operate as a group, with Michael in one zodiac with his photography participant. WildNature Photo Expeditions works closely with the Quark Expedition Team throughout (and before) the voyage to optimise operations on both sides to help everyone.
Your instructor - Michael Snedic
Michael is an experienced (25 years) and widely-published wildlife and nature photographer, writer and tutor. His articles and images have featured in many magazines, calendars, diaries, books, brochures, billboards and many other publications.
He is the author of two books on Australian wildlife and has been a feature writer for Australia's top-selling photography magazine, Australian Photography since 2006. Michael regularly presents audio-visual presentations at camera clubs, and has been conducting photography workshops and tours across Australia and the world for the past 17 years. Overseas photography tours locations he has presented photography tours to include Africa (Kenya, Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania, Sabi Sabi and Gorillas in Rwanda), Antarctica, Svalbard, the Subantarctic, the Russian Far East (Sea of Okhotsk and Wrangel Island),and Central Indiana National Parks. Michael loves sharing his photographic knowledge and passion with photo expedition participants, helping them improve their photographic skills.
Day 1 -Embarkation Day in Longyearbyen
Your Spitsbergen adventure begins when you board your ship in Longyearbyen, the island’s largest settlement. As you embark, you’ll get great views of the mountainous landscape that serves as a backdrop to this seaside settlement.
Day 2 to 10 - Exploring Spitsbergen
Explore western Spitsbergen as well as stunning fjords and outlying islands to the north. From polar deserts to immense glaciers, the natural landscape here is just as varied as the wildlife. You’ll cruise around this magical island located above the Arctic Circle, and your Expedition Team will be constantly searching for wildlife.
Each expedition presents new opportunities, so we have no fixed itinerary; however, we do hope to visit some of our favorite destinations, including the 14th of July Glacier, Smeerenburg, Phippsøya, Alkhornet and the Hinlopen Straight.
The destinations visited will be selected for optimum wildlife viewing and appreciation of the history and geology of Spitsbergen. Polar bear viewing is almost guaranteed, with Phippsøya being one of their preferred hunting areas, since the towering cliffs of Alkefjellet provide many free bird egg meals for both them and the arctic fox. Torellneset and Phippsøya are great places for walrus photography. Coming across a walrus haul-out is a moment you won’t soon forget. These giant pinnipeds of the Arctic create quite a noisy scene as each walrus vies for a choice spot of coastline.
If you’re itching to get a little closer to the action, you can book the kayaking option and take an excursion to the more isolated pockets of Spitsbergen. Smeerenburg is a great place for snowshoeing (optional and complimentary on select voyages), where you can visit a memorial erected in 1906. This historic site honors the whalers who lost their lives in the 17th and 18th centuries while working in extreme arctic conditions.
There is no shortage of natural beauty in Spitsbergen. The tundra can be surprisingly colorful in summer, with wildflowers bursting for a taste of sunshine. Each day, you’ll see something new, whether it is a rare bird species or an abandoned site from centuries ago.
In some areas we will explore the stunning scenery from aboard the ship, but we will often transfer into the inflatable Zodiacs to explore bays, islands, icebergs, and to land at most sites.
Michael will present both group and one-on-one photography sessions and with continuous daylight during this time of year, photo ops abound. You’ll have ample time to linger and photograph any bears we find hunting on the ice edge, but they’re not the only wildlife we hope to encounter. The food-rich waters attract walrus, whales and seabirds, so you’ll want to keep your binoculars nearby while cruising. Arctic fox and the indigenous Svalbard reindeer may also be spotted on Zodiac excursions to shore.
A haven for present-day explorers, Spitsbergen and the surrounding area offer unforgettable polar experiences that will keep you and your camera active all expedition long. Although 60 percent of the landscape is covered in glaciers and much of the terrain is mountainous, Spitsbergen (which means “pointed mountains”) surprises with stretches of colorful tundra, bursting with wildflowers in summer. Optional hiking activities get you up close and personal with the abundant wildlife. At day’s end, you’ll have plenty of prized photographs and exciting stories to share with your shipmates!
There’s a huge range of environments around Svalbard, and every day will present new subjects. Sometimes the sky is clear and blue, sometimes it’s overcast and grey, sometimes we will see parhelion and “sun-dogs”, but the sun will never actually set (unless it’s behind a mountain). You may even end up photographing some wildlife under a midnight sun. The days will be busy, often with several off-ship expeditions per day.
Michael will be conducting a series of group and individual lessons along the way, including giving you feedback on your work. We want you to come back with the best images you can, as well as with new skills.
Day 11 -Disembarkation Day in Longyearbyen
The time to say goodbye has come. Your adventure ends as it began, in the frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen. From here we’ll transfer you to the airport for your flight home.
Health and fitness
Anyone in normal good health can join us on this adventure. There are no special fitness requirements, although we will be often climbing into and out of the inflatable Zodiac boats, and walking on shore. Living on the ship sailing in unfrozen water, the outside temperatures are sometimes close to freezing. But it is summer and at times in the sun it can be quite warm.
The ship has a doctor and basic medical facilities on board. If you have specific health concerns or dietary requirements the staff at Peregrine will be able to advise you. There’s also a gym on board if you feel the need to get extra workouts. Actually, with the excellent meals provided on these trips it’s not hard to put weight on, so some people like this option.
We will be travelling on a ship but while we can occasionally be exposed to storms and heavy seas, most of the time the coast and ice provides a lot of protection. We’re not on the open ocean!
All these prices are in Australian dollars. A 20% non- refundable deposit is required to secure your place (based on full fare).
Earlybird Prices Available
|Lower Deck twin||AU$13 090|
|Main Deck Porthole||AU$14 280|
|Main Deck Window||AU$16 150|
Optional Transfer Package Available:
- One night’s pre-expedition hotel night at Oslo airport hotel
- Charter flight from Oslo to Longyearbyen
- Arrival and departure transfers in Longyearbyen
- Charter flight from Longyearbyen to Oslo
Price: $ TBA
The trip is being put together with our partners at Peregrine Adventures and they take care of the travel arrangements for us, while we are running the photography program and will be your local contacts on the trip.
- Photography tuition throughout the expedition by professional wildlife/nature photographer and tutor, Michael Snedic.
- Transfers between airport, hotel and ship at each end of the itinerary
- Shipboard accommodation, onboard the Ocean Adventurer (132 guests capacity)
- All breakfasts, lunches and dinners onboard.
- Coffee, tea, cocoa and home-made biscuits available around the clock.
- All excursions.
- A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings.
- A waterproof expedition parka is supplied on board for you to keep.
- Pre- and post-departure materials.
- Meals in Longyearbyen (other than as above).
- One night's accommodation at Longyearbyen, before the expedition starts.
- Passport/visa expenses.
- Personal/travel insurance coverage.
- Peregrine will discuss with you the required insurance coverage (due to the remoteness of our destination).
- Onboard bar, laundry, and telecommunications charges. Limited onboard internet access is usually available.