Join Australian-based Pro Photographer and Tutor, Michael Snedic, on this exciting 13-day Photo Adventure, 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. For the photo tour participants, it was the ultimate trip of a lifetime, with lots of 'once-in-a-lifetime' photos taken during the trip.
THIS TRIP IS DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS, GOING WHERE THE WILDLIFE ARE, ESPECIALLY POLAR BEARS!! WHEN WE FIND BEARS AND OTHER WILDLIFE, WE WILL BE STAYING AS LONG AS POSSIBLE, ALLOWING YOU TO TAKE LOTS OF PHOTOS!
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. Should numbers exceed 9, a second, professional photographer and tutor will be joining us.
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.
There will be many opportunities to photograph from the ship also. Landscapes, icebergs, and lots of wildlife, as we sail amongst them.
The Ocean Adventurer is a great mid-sized expedition ship. With an ice class of 1A she can comfortably manuevre through most ice conditions, giving us a lot of flexibility in our itinerary. She also has plenty of vantage points for scenic and wildlife photography from all around the ship.
The ship will also have non-photographer passengers (she takes up to 132), and 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.
Day 1 - 2nd June
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 afternoon we board our ship, the Sea Adventurer operated by Quark Expeditions and set sail. The wildlife and scenic opportunities will start almost immediately!
Spitsbergen has an unspoiled beauty that’s just begging to be discovered. On this one-of-a-kind cruise, you’ll sail along the west coast of this magical island, exploring the coastal fjords and smaller, outlying islands. Each day will be a surprise, treating you to spectacular new sightings and experiences.
Every expedition is unique, depending on the weather and ice conditions, but we do hope to visit a few of our favourite landing sites, to be chosen as much for their optimal wildlife-viewing opportunities as for their stunning scenery, historical significance and hiking activities. With no fixed itinerary, our main goal will be to sail in a constant search for polar bears on the prowl. This means we may not move the ship every day as we do in regular voyages, if we find abundant wildlife in one place. Like true explorers, we’ll let the wildlife and pack ice—not a set schedule—guide our route! Bears outnumber people in this region, so we have a good chance of being blessed with sightings of the Ice Bears. Our small expedition ship allows us to navigate shallower waters and tighter spaces, so we expect to explore the more hard-to-reach areas the bears may favour.Our daily itineraries will vary depending on wildlife sightings and weather.
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 13 (14th of June)
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 1st June (or earlier if you wish to spend some time exploring on your own). Boarding of the Ocean Adventurer will take place on the afternoon of the 2nd of June. The ship will depart early 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.
|Lower Deck - twin share||$14,900|
|Main Deck (porthole) - twin share||$16,300|
|Main Deck (window) - twin share||$17,800|
|Superior - couple/family||$19,300|
|Deluxe - couple/family||$21,100|
|Suite - couple/family||$23,100|
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 newly-refurbished 'Ocean Adventurer'
- 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).