A Few Images from Svalbard and Northern Norway with Muench Workshops June 2016

pathfinderpathfinder Super Moderators Posts: 14,693 moderator
edited August 31, 2016 in Wildlife
I recently spent a week in the high Arctic, from Svalbard north to the Arctic ice pack, and around northern Norway near Vardo and HORNØYA ( http://www.hornoya.com/about/ ).

As I begin editing my images I will post some of them here for comments and suggestions for improvement.

We had few days of some sunshine initially, but we also had a number of grey, overcast, foggy days typical of the high arctic summer.

We saw poplar bears, walruses, several varieties of seals, blue whales, and puffins, arctic terns, and kittiwakes galore.

Since exploration of Svalbard is ship based, you don't sneak up on polar bears, you park the boat near an ice field, and wait for them to come near the boat, sniffing and exploring. They did this several times for us, initially first visible with 10X binoculars, but if one was patient and a bit lucky, they would come much closer to the boat. There are lots of videos on Youtube of polar bears crawling aboard 30-40 foot sailboats and exploring the deck and doorways. Our ship was too large for them to crawl aboard, but they did come down for a look at us just the same.

Far off - at least a kilometer away or more
polar%20bear%20on%20ice%20floe%20-6834-X2.jpg

Closer
polar%20bear%20on%20ice%20floe-7039-X2.jpg

Closer, from a zodiac, of a female bear tagged by researchers

polar%20bear%20%2374%208255--X2.jpg

Some auklets flying low in the late arctic sunlight. The sun never sets in the summer time at 80 degrees N latitude' indeed, it never was lower than 2 fists above the horizon all night long. We frequently slept during the high noon hours and were up and out all night long.
Auklets%20in%20flight%20-5854-X2.jpg

There is a pristine beauty to the high arctic, that is quite alluring. I really love the beauty of the light when the sun is shining through thin clouds onto arctic ice and mountains.

This is a 13 fr pano of a glacier in Svalbard to illustrate what I am referring to
Svalbard%20landscape%208398-8398-X2.jpg

I love catching arctic terns in the air as well
arctic%20tern-1033-X2.jpg

I have more images here - https://pathfinder.smugmug.com/Travel/Svalbard-and-Northern-Norway/ - and I may add more in this thread as I continue to edit frames if folks are interested.

Andy was our Muench Workshop guide and things were done to his usual excellent designs. Our Norwegian guides included Ole Jørgen Linden and Eirik Grønningsæter on shipboard, and Bjarne Riesto at Hornøya - all were superb, knowledgeable, helpful, and quite skilled photographers.. I recommend them highly.
Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin

Comments

  • Tony BrittonTony Britton Registered Users Posts: 345 Major grins
    edited July 6, 2016
    Congratulations on these technically and artistically superb photographs. Extremely well done.

    Tony
  • StumblebumStumblebum Registered Users Posts: 8,480 Major grins
    edited July 6, 2016
    Great set Jim! clap.gifbow
    How fortunate to be able to experience something like this! Congrats!
    My 2 small nits would be that on first one, I would have got rid of bottom 25% and crop above the first horizontal gash. Those foreground lines are getting lots of attention but not sure if they are contributing positively and the bear is reduced to a spec.
    On second one I would crop just below the sky as it is so small, that only creating distraction in my mind.
    Cheers!
  • pathfinderpathfinder Super Moderators Posts: 14,693 moderator
    edited July 6, 2016
    Hey Taz, thanks for the comments.

    Regarding the first image, I specifically chose to include most of the frame as I wanted to emphasize just how small the bear looked in the landscape. Indeed, one had to actively study the landscape at 400mm to even see the bear that the folks with the 10x42mm binoculars were describing. Ole would sit up on the bridge and he could see ( he said ) several bears moving about, but they were literally more than 2 clicks away, and not a photo subject.

    I do agree that the bear gets lost in the first image, and that was indeed my intent.

    Cropping out the sky in the second image does not let one see the upper edge of the glacier clearly identified. I can go either way there I think. Thanks you for your comments, I truly appreciate the time and effort for you to make them.

    I found this trip to have some pretty challenging conditions for shooting - frequently the light was very low - I was shooting arctic foxes at ISO 6400-10000, and my lens was only f5.6 at 400mm and was way too short and way too dark, and we were in a pitching zodiac shooting handheld of a running subject just barely visible to the naked eye. I loved the few sunny days we had, but most were foggy and dark and forbidding.

    I would really have liked to have a 500 f4, or maybe my 400 f4 DO, but airline travel, arctic clothing, and everything conspired to make me take my 100-400 f4.5->5.6 V II - a very nice sharp lens, but not the best tool for shooting in very dark conditions - at least in my hands.
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • AndyAndy Registered Users Posts: 50,016 Major grins
    edited July 10, 2016
    clap.gif Brilliant, Jim! It was great shooting and traveling with you on another adventure! Next stop: Grizzlys :)
  • pathfinderpathfinder Super Moderators Posts: 14,693 moderator
    edited July 11, 2016
    I'm already packed! clap.gif
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • pathfinderpathfinder Super Moderators Posts: 14,693 moderator
    edited August 13, 2016
    I have a few more images processed now, mostly of birds from Svalbard or Hornøya


    gannet in flight
    gannet%20in%20flight%20%232--XL.jpg


    Cormorant grooming
    [img]https://photos.smugmug.com/Travel/Svalbard-and-Northern-Norway/i-FPRSN5D/0/X2/cormorant eye on Hornøya -9954-X2.jpg[/img]


    Eiders on the ice
    Eider%20ducks%20on%20the%20ice%20-6068-X2.jpg


    Oystercatcher in the late sun
    backlit%20oyster%20catcher%209531-9531-X2.jpg



    Cormorant again
    [img]https://photos.smugmug.com/Travel/Svalbard-and-Northern-Norway/i-w6sgWtJ/0/X2/cormorant portrait on Hornøya -0512-X2.jpg[/img]
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • tshaddicktshaddick Registered Users Posts: 185 Major grins
    edited August 31, 2016
    Great images, love the birds.
  • pathfinderpathfinder Super Moderators Posts: 14,693 moderator
    edited August 31, 2016
    Hey thanks, I just got back from British Columbia where I was photographing a few Grizzlies. You have some great images on your website.

    I have a few puffins from Hornøya also

    puffin%20portrait%20w%20minnows%20large%201630--X2.jpg



    puffin%20in%20flight%202202--XL.jpg
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
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