Svalbard Autumn Light 2024
On the M/S Stockholm
WHAT TO EXPECT
September is the month of the magic light. The first sunset after 4½ months occurred late in August, and now the nights are slowly getting longer. While there will be some dark hours every night, there will also be many hours every morning and evening of low golden sun, adding a hue to Svalbard that is missed during the entire summer. Winter is not here yet, but it is not far off – there is a good chance we will have snowfall on some days.
Although there can be magic golden light there is generally also a lot of overcast conditions in September, which creates ideal light for intimate landscape studies. We will be watching the weather forecast closely and will make location decisions based on our experience as we know where to find shelter in different wind directions. There will be some ship movement – pitching and/or rolling – while we travel from one major fjord destination to another, but generally the seas are fairly calm in Svalbard, at least when compared to open ocean passages.
Polar bears are present year round in Svalbard. In September, the cubs of the year are about 9 months old, still with their mothers. Sometimes we meet young, newly independent bears almost three years old – they are often extra inquisitive. Some years, there is still a lot of sea ice around the archipelago in September, meaning that we find bears there. But in recent years the trend has been for the pack ice edge to have retreated far north of the islands. In such conditions there are some bears stranded on the islands, waiting for the ice to return, and there are also bears that don’t leave with the ice but choose to spend their time on and near land, hunting seals in front of glaciers. We therefore always have to be on alert for possible Polar bear encounters. But that is what we, the expedition team, are there for. We scan potential landing sites and set up safety perimeters, which you can work within. These areas of safety are large enough to allow everyone to be working within their boundaries. But we must at all times show discipline while on shore as we are guests in the realm of the Polar bear.
If we come across a Polar bear that can be safely approached with the ship or Zodiacs, without disturbing the animal, then we shall of course welcome that as a photographic opportunity. The same holds true for Walrus and seals, on ice or in the water.
The intention is to photograph frequently on land. We will use the ship’s Zodiacs to make landings on beaches or small islands where we can roam and explore. Occasionally we may do fairly long Zodiac drives until we find a location we want to explore further on foot but usually the rides from ship to shore are short. We, the expedition team, did dedicated Svalbard landscape photography trips in September 2018 and 2022. Most of the images in this brochure were made by Daniel Bergmann on those expeditions
We often use the dark hours of the night to move the ship between locations so that we can be somewhere interesting to do a pre-breakfast landing. And if we have golden light in the evening we will venture out after dinner. During overcast conditions we have the whole day to work with. In general terms, as on any photography workshop, the weather dictates our working hours in the field.
We also plan to do indoor activity in the form of lectures and image reviews. Talks will be given on wildlife, conservation and photography topics – usually while we move the ship over longer distances. Daniel has been a professional nature photographer for about 25 years. His expertise is both in the landscape and wildlife disciplines and he will always be available for instruction, photography discussion or post processing of images. Morten’s Arctic experience is an invaluable part of this expedition and both he and Daniel are also avid birders.
This expedition is a unique opportunity to explore one of the last wild regions on the planet on a ship that moves us in style and comfort through these HighArctic waters. And it is an opportunity for us to learn from each other and grow together as photographers.
The M/S Stockholm is a classic ship built in 1953 for the Swedish National Maritime Administration. In 1998 she was totally refitted and started her career as a comfortable polar passenger ship. The M/S Stockholm carries a maximum of 12 passengers in twin cabins with bunk beds. All cabins have private facilities and small windows (portholes). M/S Stockholm is a marvellous piece of maritime history with beautiful brass details and wooden decks. It is no wonder she is loved by so many! After 20 years of navigating the waters in Svalbard she has the experience and track record of being able to access difficult to reach sites that are inaccessible to other ships.
On board you will enjoy delicious meals in the company of like minded travellers, who are all fascinated by the Arctic nature, wildlife and history. The food on board is of high standard and all beverages are included in the price. With such a small party on board, this is like travelling on a private yacht. All the cabins are twins, with upper and lower bunk and private facilities.
PHOTOGRAPHY INSTRUCTORS AND GUIDES
FACTS ABOUT THE EXPEDITION
Dates: August 29th – August 8th, 2024
Group Size: 12 guests plus leaders
TRANSPORTATION: M/S Stockholm & Zodiacs
RATES (per person in USD):
A berth in a twin cabin: $9,950 USD per person
INCLUDED IN THE EXPEDITION RATE:
10 nights of accommodation aboard the ship
all meals while on board
coffee and tea
guides and crew services
daily excursions by Zodiac
instructions from a highly experienced photo leader
one of Svalbard’s most experienced expedition leaders
lectures, briefings and shore side interpretations
magnificent scenery and wonderful wildlife encounters
great company and safe and friendly travel
$2,500 deposit at registration
$7,450 due before June 1st, 2024
To request a booking click below:
any pre- or post-cruise expenses including flights and transfers
other drinks than mentioned above
customary tips for crew and staff
anything else not specified as included