“One of the oldest dreams of mankind is to find a dignity that include all living things. A way to do this is to pay attention to what occurs in a land untouched by human schemes, where an original order prevails.
As I moved through the Arctic I thought often about a rhythm indigenous to this land, not imposed on it. The imposed view, however innocent, always obscures. The evidence that there is a different rhythm of life here seemed inescapably a part of the expressions of the animals I encountered, though I cannot say precisely why. A coherent view of the pervasiveness of such a rhythm is elusive.”
~ Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams
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There are no better words to describe how I feel about my recent Svalbard Expedition.
It was absolutely beautiful!
This was my fifth year guiding and hosting in the Arctic, a place I continue to grow exceedingly fond of and for many reasons – ranging from the amazing people and incredible shared experiences to quiet moments on deck and more honest, personal reflection than I have allowed myself to entertain for quite some time – this trip has left me with a lot of food for thought. Change the way you see the world comes to mind but I’ll share more on this in due course.
Like on every Wild Eye trip I host I used my iPhone to capture the moments that take place in between the images we share. Sometimes a large camera and worrying about settings get in the way of these moments and, let’s be honest, travel and wildlife photography should be about so much more than the images we create with our big, fancy gear.
This is not my trip report from our 2017 Svalbard expedition but rather a chronological diary of some of the special moments I captured during my time in the Arctic a week or so ago.
Looking through these images I feel truly grateful to have shared this adventure with a remarkable group of people – both guests, EL’s and crew – and it’s humbling to know that I played a small part in making memories that will, for everybody involved, last a lifetime.
Svalbard with an iPhone
Arriving in Longyearbyen with my brand new FOM backpack.
This… is when I know I’m back in Svalbard. My obligatory polar-bear-at-the-luggage0-carousel-selfie.
A morning hike through Longyeabyen before boarding our expedition vessel.
Catching up with a great friend and awesome EL. Look forward to many more adventures together Christian! #WatchThisSpace
Here we… go!
Thinking about the adventure ahead of us.
Sudden coffee!! Thanks to the San Francisco crew for supplying the stash.
24/7 awesome photography opportunities. Literally!
Yes, there were a few cameras.
Shoot – process – have coffee / drink – repeat.
David – our viking guide and totally awesome guy!
Learning more about the rich and diverse history of Svalbard.
At every meal – a briefing of where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re going.
Zodiac time. 12 pax for transfer to land and 6 pax per zodiac for photography cruises.
Henning and I.
The sharing and learning on these cruises are simply awesome! #ThisIsWhyWildEye
Om crushing another long exposure.
David and I on one of our land excursions.
A snowy D810.
So how do I pull the blues in this image?
Coffee station which always includes some sort of cake or biscuit. Yes!!
On site lecture at the Ny Alesund museum about the history and many polar expeditions which was launched from there.
A legend in polar exploration. Amundsen, not me.
Not gonna lie… I was a little cold on this image.
Dinner on board the M/S Stockholm is always awesome. Always.
This was #NotShit
Deidre and I.
Bev stepping onto the ice.
Captain Magnus. #Legend
The Arctic Om.
Three South Africans in Svalabrd. Jaco, Deidre and I.
Walking on fast ice.
Parking the boat in the ice and having a walk – always a great experience!
Lecture on polar mammals.
Leaving the Stockholm for another excursion.
Another arctic selfie.
Coats and boots. Easy access for each time we head outside.
I need to read this. Absolutely stunning writing.
Rowing on ice?
When the food is so good that you HAVE to take a picture.
iPhonography in the Arctic.
Christian and I. #WatchThisSpace
Jaco and I with some proper blue ice.
Glacial ice for whisky. A must!
The boot butler because taking off your boots when your hands are cold is just not cool.
Working on their 18 image portfolio for the presentation on the final day.
Chef presenting the final dinner.
The gentleman. (Kind of…)
Our viking invited me for a drink!
When guests and crew meet in the crew bar for drinks on the final night – priceless!!
Longyearbyen from the sky.
Leaving the Arctic. Until next year. #YesBookingsAreOpen
I absolutely love that place and can’t wait to board the M/S Stockholm next year and join Christian and David on another amazing journey around the Arctic.
Once I get back from the Timbavati where I’m hosting a private guided photo safari I will be sharing a whole lot more from not only Svalbard but also my Gorilla and Chimp safari which I hosted directly after leaving Svalbard.
It has been a crazy few weeks and I still find it quite surreal that in two weeks I have helped guests to see and photograph polar bears, gorilla, chimpanzees and, from tomorrow, Africa’s Big 5. Some might call it a dream job which sometimes feels like it dismisses how serious and passionate we are about what we do but I like to simply think of it as changing the way my guests see the world. It’s what I do, it’s what the Wild Eye team does and it’s something I hope to share with as many people as possible.
Hope you are all doing well and will be back soon with more images, posts, podcasts and a whole lot more!
Until next time.
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