An immersive photographic adventure conducted by
professional wildlife and nature photographer and tutor, Michael Snedic
Next Workshop and Tour:
Amazing close-up Polar Bear experience, filmed on an IPhone, during our June 2018 Arctic Photo Expedition
Join Australian-based Pro Photographer and Tutor, Michael Snedic, on this exciting 11-day Photo Expedition, travelling through the Arctic around the archipelago of Svalbard. We will travel by ship and explore the coast, attempting to circumnavigate the island if ice conditions allow. Michael led a booked-out Photo Expedition to Svalbard in 2016, to absolute rave reviews (with a second, fully-booked photo expedition in June 2018). For the photo tour participants, it was the ultimate trip of a lifetime, with plenty of 'once-in-a-lifetime' photos taken during the trip.
We will be seeking and photographing iconic Arctic wildlife species including polar bears, reindeer, foxes, walrus and other seals, whales, auks, puffins, and many many more, as well as stunning glacial landscapes.
We will have 9 participants on this photo tour, led by professional nature photographer and tutor: Michael Snedic.
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.
Built in Denmark in 1992, the Ocean Nova delivers clean, crisp Scandinavian styling and has a reputation as an excellent ship for expeditions to the Arctic. Originally built to sail the ice-choked waters of Greenland, Ocean Nova’s ice-strengthened hull has enabled the ship to ply the Arctic waters with ease for 25 years. Ocean Nova is a certified Carbon Neutral vessel and offers a comfortable option for discovering the polar regions. With a maximum of just 78 guests, the Ocean Nova is a more intimate, small group, expedition experience with all the benefits that affords.
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.
On this expedition you will have access every day to professional nature photographer and instructor, Michael Snedic, there to help you photograph the stunning wildlife we will encounter, especially polar bears. He will be conducting a series of classes throughout the voyage, as well as being on-hand throughout the outings.
As a full-time professional, Michael is an accredited member of the Australian Institute of Professional Photographers (AIPP). As well as being experienced an experienced wildlife/nature photographer, he is also one of Australia's most experienced photographic tutors (15 years).
Michael is an experienced (20 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 a Lowepro Ambassador for Australia, a Lenscoat Ambassador, as well as The Nature Conservancy's Photo Competition Ambassador, both in 2015 and 2016. Michael regularly presents audio-visual presentations at photographic organisations, and has been conducting photography workshops and tours across Australia for the past 15 years. He also conducts overseas photography tours to Africa, Antarctica, the Subantarctic, the Russian Far East, Galapagos Islands and India. Michael loves sharing his photographic knowledge and passion with photo expedition participants, helping them improve their photographic skills.
This morning we’ll have our first photography briefings and warm-up opportunities. We will spend some of the morning exploring Longyearbyen with a local guide, and there may be some last-minute shopping opportunities (as a frontier town there are some serious outdoors stores here). Also anyone whose flights or connections were delayed have a chance to catch up with us today. In the evening we board our ship, the Ocean Nova, operated by Quark Expeditions and set sail. The wildlife and scenic opportunities will start almost immediately!
Your expedition will explore western Spitsbergen as well as some 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. We’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 14th of July Glacier, Smeerenburg, Phippsoya, Alkhornet and the Hinlopen Straight.
The destinations visited on your voyage will be selected for optimum wildlife viewing and appreciation of the history and geology of Spitsbergen. Polar bear viewing is almost guaranteed, with Phippsoya 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 Phippsoya are great places for walrus photography. Coming across a walrus haul-out is a moment you won’t forget either. 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 some of the more isolated pockets of Spitsbergen. Smeerenburg is a great place for snowshoeing (optional and complimentary outings on selected voyages), where you can visit a memorial erected in 1906. This historical site remembers 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.
Your adventure ends back at the frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen. From here you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home
PLEASE NOTE: It is recommended that you arrive in Longyearbyen on the 5th of June (or earlier if you wish to spend some time exploring on your own). Boarding of the Ocean Nova will take place on the evening of the 6th of June. The ship will depart in the evening and cannot wait for anyone on delayed flights. As weather in the region can be a bit temperamental, flight delays do happen. To keep the start of your adventure as stress free as possible, arriving early is a good idea.
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).
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.
Travel to/from Longyearbyen is not included. Peregrine can of course arrange flights and accommodation for you as part of a package, but you’re free to make other arrangements.
- 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 smaller Ocean Nova (80 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.
- Airfares and other travel expenses to/from Longyearbyen.
- 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.
- Tips (voluntary) for the crew (suggested US$13- $15 per day per person).