Join Nikon School on this once in a lifetime experience to photograph Svalbard's amazing wildlife and landscapes. This workshop will be led by Neil Freeman and nature photographer and Nikon Ambassador Roger Brendhagen. The Svalbard archipelago is a stunning and dramatic photography destination for capturing both wildlife and landscape images. On this eight day cruise you will have the opportunity to photograph mountains, glaciers, atmospheric fjords and indigenous wildlife such as polar bears, whales, walruses, seals and polar foxes in their natural environment. We will make the most of the bright summer nights and the excellent photography opportunities as they present themselves while we journey along the coast of Svalbard photographing the dramatic glaciers, pack ice and wildlife
Both Neil and Roger are experienced in leading photography workshops and between them have extensive knowledge of photographing wildlife and landscapes. They can show you the best setups for your camera, lenses, to ensure that you can come away from this workshop with some amazing images.
Halfway between Norway and the North Pole you will find Svalbard. Around 60% of Svalbard's surface is covered by glaciers where the ice can be up to 600 meters thick. There are more than 2,100 glaciers of various sizes in the Svalbard archipelago providing dramatic landscape views and home to a rich variety of wildlife. The administrative center of Svalbard is the residential town of Longyearbyen, and it is in this small community that we will commence our Nikon School adventure.
For wildlife photographers, Svalbard offers a fantastic range of wildlife to see and photograph in their natural environments. Roaming freely across the glaciers and pack ice are a few thousand polar bears, but also polar foxes and the a unique species of Svalbard-reindeer, which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. This is great chance to see polar bears in their native environment. There are also chances to see and photograph seals and walruses at rest on the shore or ice packs. As we navigate around the coast, we will keep lookout for the many different types of whales that call Svalbard home. These include humpback whales, orcas, belugas, and the great blue whale. There are also 126 different bird species recorded as living in the Svalbard archipelago which gives you even more wildlife to photograph. During August, the birds have arrived in large quantities and the fjords and beaches are full of life.
With the bright summer nights, we will make the most of the photography in this fabulous environment and wherever possible, we can enter our crewed zodiac boat to get even closer to the wildlife or maybe even go on shore if it is safe to land. Svalbard is also not just about amazing wildlife photography. During the eight days we spend cruising among the drift ice, mountains, glaciers, small islands, abandoned settlements and hunting stations we will have many many opportunities to also create some stunning landscape images.
Our Expedition ship is specially adapted for use by photographers and has incorporated a ramp at the rear of the ship which means that that you can largely photograph at eye level with polar bears, walruses and other animals. This gives the opportunity for exciting and different images. We have also specifically chosen this small expedition ship as it means that we can go much closer to land (and the wildlife) than other ships which should help you get even better wildlife images.
This workshop is for photographers of all levels whether you are just starting out in photography or an experienced photographer. Subject to availability will have a selection of cameras and lenses available for you to borrow on the course including Z 6 & Z 7 II, Z 9's and 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3, 400mm f/2.8 and 800mm f/6.3. However, If you would like to borrow any specific kit for this course please get in contact with us at [email protected] with your request and we will do our best to bring it along.
Provisional itinerary (subject to change depending on weather)
DAY 1 – WELCOME TO SVALBARD - 22nd August
During the afternoon we gather at the airport in Longyearbyen for a short transfer to the port to board our ship that will become our base for our adventure. Once we have settled into our cabins, we will then meet for a quick briefing about the trip and what to expect including the scenery, wildlife and the best camera settings. We then leave Longyearbyen and our adventure begins as we glide out of the harbour, we can be on deck with cameras ready to get a first taste of the magnificent scenery that awaits us in the coming days. In the early evening, we will have a welcome dinner and further discuss upcoming adventure. In August, we will have 'midnight sun', so after dinner we have the option to head up on the deck to catch the evening light and more of the magnificent scenery.
DAY 2- 7 CRUISE AROUND SVALBARD 23-29th August
During our adventure, and with the benefit of a smaller vessel, we will sail close to shore to maximize our opportunities to photograph and experience Svalbard’s wildlife and amazing landscapes and hopefully we will have the opportunity to photograph everything from walruses and seals to whales, polar bears, and polar foxes. If weather conditions are favorable, we will make additional excursions with the ship's zodiac boat. Slowly gliding between the ice and surrounded by towering snow-capped mountains and glaciers is experience to behold and one that gives us lots of unique photo opportunities. While on the zodiac, we can get closer to wildlife while also giving us a lower photographic viewpoint which adds another dimension to your images. If possible, we will attempt to make shore landings with the zodiac, so we can explore Svalbard's surroundings on foot. Our exact route is determined by the captain and the expedition leader and is based on the prevailing weather and ice conditions and of course, wildlife sightings and reports.
Roger and Neil will be on hand at all times to help you build your photography skills and improve your technique whether you are photographing the spectacular artic landscapes or the many different types of wildlife we hope to see. When we are not photographing, Roger and Neil will host photographic Q&A's including image critique sessions to help you improve your photography. We will also talk camera technology, focal lengths, depth of field, image composition and how to use the light to make the most of your images.
DAY 8 – RETURN HOME 30th August
After breakfast, we say goodbye to the crew as we leave the ship with our hard drives and memory cards full of pictures and memories for life. We will then head to the airport for our final farewells and onward transportation home.
Unlike many other Svalbard photographic workshops, we will be limiting the maximum number of delegates to 7. This combined with having two experienced photographic tutors onboard means that this will be a great experience for you to get some great images.
Our expedition ship has 4 shared bunk bed cabins and one double cabin. There are 3 shared bath and shower rooms onboard. Depending on the number of bookings on the workshop, this means you may be sharing a room on this workshop with another delegate
Food & Drink:
When on the boat, we will be providing 3 meals a day, however, please bring any snacks that you may want. Please advise us of any special dietary requirements you may have. The onboard chef can adjust meals to allergies and diets we need to be notified about this at least 14 days before departure due to available groceries at Svalbard. Any Alcoholic and soft drinks from the ships onboard bar are not included in the cost of the workshop and you would need to pay for these yourself
Luggage is not limited as such, but please bear in mind you will be on ship, so we do not have unlimited space.
Svalbard means "cold coasts" and just as the name suggests, the climate can be chilly and the average temperature in Longyearbyen varies between 6°C in summer to -14°C in winter. During August, we would expect 'midnight sun' conditions allowing for around 19 hours of daylight. The average temperatures for August should be around 2 to 6°C, although the windchill factor can lower this temperature substantially. When out on Zodiacs the temperature will also feel significantly lower.
As we are photographing wildlife in there natural environment, the well being of the wildlife is a priority alongside our safety. Our expedition leader and captain will provide a safety briefing regarding Polar bears and make sure that all activity is sustainable and adheres to all local policies and guidelines.
Camera & Lenses:
One or two DSLR or Z series camera bodies ideally with high frame rates and advanced AF capabilities
Telephoto lenses from 300 - 800mm, but ideally around 500 or 600mm
Wide Angle and mid range lenses covering focal lengths from 14 - 70mm
Extra batteries and chargers, memory cards and card readers
Computer with Lightroom Classic or Capture One Pro
Rain / Spray cover for camera and lenses
Arrival & Departure:
We recommend that you arrive in Svalbard the day before both to experience the local life in Longyearbyen and to be sure to not miss the departure.
Arrival date 22nd August 2022 at Longyearbyen Airport, Svalbard**
Depart date 30th August 2022 from Longyearbyen Airport, Svalbard**
** You are responsible for your own flights to and from Longyearyben
You may arrive earlier and leave later but must be in Longyearbyen on the 22nd August 2022 to meet Roger and Neil
To secure your place on this exclusive workshop, either book online now and pay the full amount, alternatively if you would to pay a non-refundable deposit to secure you place on this workshop, please contact us at Nikon School.
To secure your place on the workshop the non refundable deposit of £500 is payable immediately with balance due at least 3 months before the workshops starts, please e-mail [email protected] and we will be in touch to arrange payment
Once you have completed the course on location, or the training online, use your online portal access to upload your photos, share them with others on the course in the gallery area, compare ideas and results, plus get direct feedback from your trainer.
Nothing caught your eye yet?
Why not have a look at these...