Journey to the mysterious and captivating islands of the extreme north, in the company of celebrated National Geographic photographer Sisse Brimberg. Witness majestic polar bears as they wander through the frozen landscape and capture incredible photographs of imposing glaciers rising from the icy waters.
Sisse Brimberg and Better Moments CEO Christian Nørgaard, help you discover the hidden secrets of Svalbard, in a way that few visitors ever get the chance to. Learn about Sisse’s life-long career with National Geographic, during which she visited Svalbard countless times.
- Learn about life as a National Geographic photographer, covering wildlife and landscape photography in the spectacular landscapes of Svalbard.
- Explore the islands on board of a classic vessel, designed to navigate the narrow straits and fjords where few travellers have a chance to go.
- Delve deeper into the heart of the islands, braving the fjords aboard small and nimble Zodiac boats. We use the smaller 6-person boats as opposed to the larger and less agile boats more commonly used.
- Capture intimate shots of fascinating wildlife, including polar bears, walruses, seals and Svalbard reindeer.
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
You will learn how to approach the unique challenges of wildlife photography at the best place in the world for polar bear and arctic wildlife photography. With private “one to one” workshops and lectures, this expedition will optimize your photographic skills and take them to the next level.
- Teaching and training in the best techniques and personal hints and advice
- Composition and focus on lines, golden section, perspective, foreground
- Learning about the lenses that optimize your wildlife photography
- How to handle equipment with care on location
- Private hands-on lessons that can help taking your photography skills to the next level
- Expert review and constructive criticism of shots taken during the day
- Private portfolio review
- A Better Moments Certified Photo Instructor is available during the entire workshop to offer assistance with camera settings, the basics of composition, guide and help in general
PLEASE NOTE: Travelling in the Arctic can often be unpredictable, so the itinerary may change to suit local weather conditions. We may also alter course to make sure we get the best shots, depending on where the polar bears happen to be at the time.
DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN LONGYEARBYEN
Longyearbyen is the largest settlement in Svalbard with a population of about 2000, named after its founder, American industrialist John Munro Longyear. Upon arrival we will transfer to the hotel for an introduction and pre-workshop briefing, conducted by Sisse Brimberg and Christian Nørgaard.
Day 2: THE ADVENTURE BEGINS
The next morning, we set sail on the M/S Stockholm, a charming classic ship built in 1953. This small but comfortable vessel carries a maximum of 12 passengers in well-equipped cabins, allowing us to navigate waters that few larger ships can reach.
Our primary mission is to photograph polar bears as they make their way across the drifting ice. Polar bears are quite plentiful in Svalbard and together with two local guides, we will set the course to where they are most likely to be.
We sail out through the beautiful fjord, between snow-capped mountains – heading towards some of the most remote landscapes in the world. Throughout the journey, we will attempt to make daily stops on the coast using our Zodiac boats, bringing you as close as possible to wildlife and points of interest.
After welcome drinks and dinner, Sisse Brimberg will present her first of many lectures on wildlife photography and her experiences working for National Geographic in Svalbard.
DAY 3: FANTASTIC FJORDS AND WILDLIFE
Sailing towards the ice and keeping an eye out for polar bears, we make our way up Forlandsundet, alongside the Prins Karls Forland island. This narrow strip of land is home to various seabirds, as well as harbour seals. To the other side, a multitude of picturesque fjords cut into the shore. Depending on the ice conditions, we will explore some of these inlets and make land using the Zodiac boats to capture some dramatic landscape and wildlife photography.
During the day, Sisse Brimberg and Christian Nørgaard will hold private portfolio reviews and workshops on deck. Both photographers have spent countless hours photographing the awe-inspiring scenery of Svalbard, and share their local knowledge and experience to help you get the most out of every location.
After dinner we share photographs shot during the day, while Sisse Brimberg and Christian Nørgaard give constructive criticism – helping you adjust your shots in preparation for the next day of photography.
DAY 4-5: FOOTSTEPS OF GREAT ADVENTURERS
Making our way past Kongsfjorden, where adventurers Nobile and Amundsen launched their famous flight to the North Pole in 1926, towards the islands of Amserdamøya and Danskøya, where the shore of Virgohamna is still littered with remnants from previous expeditions launched here in the early 1900’s. There are still intriguing artefacts scattered here from American explorer and journalist Walter Wellman’s attempt to reach the North Pole by airship. There are good chances to spot walruses, seals and other wildlife along the way.
Following the coastline eastwards, we will see some of the largest and most spectacular fjords in Svalbard, including Liefdefjorden or “the fjord of love”. Hopefully, if the ice allows, we will sail up this inlet to photograph the towering Monaco Glacier. Alternatively, we can explore the Krossfjorden or Raudfjorden, both with their own beautiful glaciers. These fjords are also home to large populations of seals and birdlife.
In the evenings, Sisse Brimberg will conduct workshops and share some fascinating knowledge about Svalbard, accumulated over the years of photographing landscapes and wildlife for National Geographic.
DAY 5-6: POLAR BEARS AND SVALBARD REINDEER
Cruising down the Hindlopen Strait we pass spectacular basalt cliffs, home to an estimated 200,000 Brünnich’s guillemots, also known as the thick-billed murre. Making our way along the island of Nordaustlandet, we will witness a magnificent landscape covered with hundreds of waterfalls, an incredible sight to behold!
This is also where we have the best chances of encountering some of Svalbard’s most photogenic wildlife, including walruses, the much-admired Svalbard reindeer and the elusive Arctic fox. Hugging the coast, and using our Zodiac boats, we will have excellent opportunities for landscape photography and chances are good that we will also encounter polar bears along this stretch.
Sisse Brimberg and Christian Nørgaard will offer individual feedback on the photos taken so far, with one-on-ones as well as group sessions.
DAY 8: HORNSUND GLACIERS AND MOUNTAINS
Today is the absolute best chance to take the perfect polar bear photograph. Cruising along Southwest Spitsbergen towards Hornsund, we will explore some of the favourite haunts for Svalbard’s polar bears, as well as bearded seals resting on the coastal ice. Our Zodiac boats will bring us as close as possible to these magnificent animals, without disturbing them.
Horsund offers breathtaking views of glaciers and towering mountain peaks, including the Hornsundtind which is the highest mountain in Svalbard at 1431 meters.
In the evening we will celebrate in the traditional Better Moments fashion, with Sisse Brimberg offering prizes for the best photographs. Each guest will also receive a certificate of completion, as we look back on the adventure this far.
DAY 9: Longyearbyen
Arriving back in Longyearbyen, we will enjoy a farewell breakfast on board of the M/S Stockholm before leaving the ship to prepare for the journey home.
REMINDER: This itinerary depends heavily on ice, weather conditions, and wildlife. The exact route and sites mentioned above is only a rough indicator. We will follow the advice of our captain and local experts to make sure we have the best possible experience.