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Svalbard photography - what to expect?

Svalbard, or also Spitsbergen, is the most easy accessible place in the High Arctic to travel to. The settlement Longyearbyen have a airport where regular flights is able to land. The city have hotels, restaurants and everything you need for a comfortable stay.

However, it is easy to forget that you are in the High Arctic when you arrive in Longyearbyen. The weather is cold most of the year. You can have fog, snow storms or strong wind that makes it impossible to stay outside and sometimes even land a plane on the airstrip. Even in summer you need to think about where you are. This is the High Arctic!

svalbard photography
Svalbard summer in late June. Canon 5D mk III, Samyang 14 mm. 1/15 sec, f / 22. Tripod.
svalbard photography
Polar Bear in front of glazier. Winter. Canon 1Dx, EF800 mm IS, 1/2500 sec, f / 6,3, ISO 800. Tripod.

The contrasts is for sure high. Between the seasons summer, autumn, winter and spring it is huge differences. In temperatures ranging from + 20 degrees Celcius in summer to effective - 50 degrees Celsius in winter. Svalbard photography expeditions is all about these differences during the seasons. Everything is constantly changing. We plan and schedule our Svalbard photography expeditions according to this.

Svalbard Photography in Winter.

The landscape and the light is the surroundings we think about for every expedition we plan into this wilderness. Different seasons and different possibilities. In winter-time from February the sunlight slowly returns, this could be the time to photograph Northern Light in Svalbard, or also in November and December when the darkness is total. In end of February we see the sunrises and sunsets. For a short time the sun rise over the horizon and creates som spectacular light scenes. Usually this is a very cold period of the year and clothing is important together with protecting the gear as you are traveling around there.

svalbard photography
Northern light photographed in end of February. Canon 5Dmk III, EF16-35, f / 3,2, 8,0 sec. Tripod.
svalbard photography
First light. Canon 5D, EF16-35, f/22, 1/13 sec, ISO 640. Tripod.
svalbard photography
Shapes and light. Canon 5D, EF800, f/5,6, 1/1600 sec, ISO 640.
svalbard photography
Sunlight returns. The sun was over the horizon for one hour.

Traveling around in Svalbard during winter is kind of extreme. Temperatures down to - 30-40 degrees celsius can occur. Just to illustrate the challenges for photography I use some pictures from one of the winter expeditions we have done.

Sometimes we charter ships also in winter-time. Next year we are chartering the yacht Arctica II for a expedition from April 22. April is not that extreme as February and March, but its still considered as winter.

svalbard photography
Strong wind. Early March. Hard work keeping the photo equipment safe.
svalbard photography
Keeping warm in -30 celsius.

Svalbard photography in summer

In summertime Svalbard can be like a warm summer day in central parts of Norway one day and like the High Arctic the next day. It is difficult to predict and all activities we decide to do is highly dependent on the weather. In summer it is very rare that we have bad weather that prevent us from doing what we plan, we only adjust the plans according to prevailing weather situation. Mostly because we want the best possibly light and weather for photography and wildlife viewings.

svalbard photography
Summer in Svalbard. Still the mountains we sail by can look like this. From Forlandsundet. EOS 1Dx, EF 200-400 IS, 1/1600 sec, f / 7,1, ISO1250.

Depending on the year and ice conditions the situation around Svalbard will be very different from year to year. In June its usually still lots of ice, in July the ice starts open up and in August most of the remote areas around the archipelago will be accessible. Recent years though we have had some seasons when we could sail into areas that normally would be difficult because of the drifting ice. We are afraid this is because of the climate change and in the future it might change the concept for our Svalbard photography expeditions.

svalbard photography
Late summer in the drifting ice. EOS 1Dx, EF16-35mm, 1/160sec, f/9,0, ISO400
svalbard photography
Landscape in mid August. EOS 1Dx, EF200-400mm, 1/2000sec, f/10, ISO800

You can have everything in Svalbard. All the light, all the situations and all the challenges. The light changes during the seasons and during the day and nights. Even in summer when you have the midnight sun and daylight 24 hours you find the light to change. During our expeditions we usually try to do most of the photography during night because of a softer light.

Already in August the light is changing dramatically and in late August you will have colors on the sky and sunsets and sunrises. The light is still good and its possible to do some of the photography by handheld camera. Because of sailing by ship its usually not possible to use a tripod. That will be only possible when we do landings.

Upcoming Svalbard tours

2 Available spots

Svalbard winter expedition #1 2022

Join Arctic Wildlife Tours for a unforgettable winter expedition in the wilderness of Svalbard. The magic light and landscapes are stunning at this time of the year. From the camp…

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5 SPOTS AVAILABLE

Svalbard April expedition 2022 onboard MS Malmö

Svalbard wildlife expedition in 2022. We will be using the expedition ship MS Malmö for this photo tour, which is well suited for these kind of expeditions for exploring the…

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FULLY BOOKED

Arctic Wildlife Tours May expedition 2022

Arctic Wildlife Tours do this early May expedition on Svalbard in 2022. We will be using the expedition ship MS Malmö for this wildlife expedition, which is a well suited…

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2 SPOTS AVAILABLE

Arctic Wildlife Tours May expedition 2022 #2

Arctic Wildlife Tours do this early May expedition on Svalbard in 2022. We will be using the expedition ship MS Malmö for this wildlife expedition, which is a well suited…

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3 SPOTS

Svalbard Masterclass on board 2022

Join our photography masterclass onboard hosted by Nat Geo photographer Stefano Unterthiner and Arctic Wildlife Tours

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1 SPOT AVAILABLE(SINGLE CABIN)

Svalbard June Expedition 2022 onboard MS Malmö #1

June is considered early summer season for Svalbard photography. Its still good ice conditions, some years its still frozen around the islands. June is considered as a more and more…

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FULLY BOOKED

Svalbard Expedition June 2022 onboard MS Malmö #2

New expedition in early summer 2019. For this early summer Svalbard expedition we are chartering the ship MS Malmö, which is well suited for these kind of expeditions and we…

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FULLY BOOKED

Svalbard Expedition June-July 2022 onboard MS Malmö

For the summer Svalbard expedition in 2022 we are chartering the ship MS Malmö, which is well suited for these kind of expeditions. We have used Malmö several times before…

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1 SPOTS AVAILABLE

Svalbard tour 05 – 15 July 2022 onboard MS Villa

Explore the wonderful Arctic wilderness around Svalbard during this Svalbard extreme expedition. We are chartering the expedition ship MS Villa. Villa is recently refurbished and have a very high standard…

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5 SPOTS AVAILABLE

Svalbard 04 – 14 July expedition 2022 onboard MS Malmö

July is a great time to experience the Arctic areas around Svalbard. More ice have melted and more remote areas will be accessible. July is one of the best months…

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4 SPOTS AVAILABLE

Svalbard 14 – 24 July expedition 2022 onboard MS Malmö

In July, Arctic is at its explosive best. A lot of the snow has melted yet some of it remains, creating interesting patterns in the landscape. Wildlife are on the…

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FULLY BOOKED

Svalbard August expedition#1 2022

Explore Svalbard at a time of the year when colors start to come back on the sky. This time of the year are considered as a great time to find…

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FULLY BOOKED

Svalbard August expedition#2 2022

Explore Svalbard at a time of the year when colors start to come back on the sky. This time of the year are considered as a great time to find…

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10 SPOTS AVAILABLE

Svalbard August 21 – August 31 expedition 2022 MS Origo

Arctic polar bear cruises in the early autumn to enjoy the wildlife in typically warmer weather with lengthy daylight hours but also sunsets and sunrises, providing more opportunities to see…

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FULLY BOOKED

Svalbard August 23 – Sept 02 expedition 2022

Explore Svalbard at a time of the year when colors start to come back on the sky. This time of the year are considered as a great time to find…

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2 SPOTS AVAILABLE

Svalbard August expedition 2022 onboard M/V Kinfish

Explore Svalbard at a time of the year when colors comes back on the sky. Late August will be a few weeks before the autumn and darkness arrives again. This…

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2 SPOTS AVAILABLE

Svalbard September 2-12 expedition 2022 onboard MS Malmö

Join us for this Svalbard wildlife photography expedition and search for the autumn light in September on Svalbard. In September a few snow patches are left from winter and the…

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4 SPOTS AVAILABLE

Iceland photography tour 2022

Arctic Wildlife Tours will do their first tour in Iceland in September 2021. We have planned this tour to give travellers and photographers the best possibilities to experience and photograph…

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8 SPOTS AVAILABLE

Whales and northern light 2022 #1

Onboard S/Y Arctica II we will take you on an expedition for experiencing the October light on Svalbard. Winter darkness is coming but we still have 6 hours a day…

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4 SPOT AVAILABLE

Snow Leopard photography expedition 2023

Arctic Wildlife Tours announces a new expedition. This time to Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary into the Tibetan mountains. We will search for these big cats living in these mountains.

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12 SPOTS AVAILABLE

Svalbard April expedition 2023 onboard MS Malmö

Svalbard wildlife expedition in 2023. We are chartering the expedition ship MS Malmö for this photo tour, which is well suited for these kind of expeditions for finding Polar Bears…

Read more
12 SPOTS AVAILABLE

Svalbard April expedition 2023 onboard MS Freya

Svalbard travel photography on Svalbard, every day is different, and every year is different. Arctic Wildlife Tours guides leads this August expedition to Svalbard, a remote area we know well…

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12 SPOTS AVAILABLE

Svalbard June 05 – 15 2023 expedition onboard MS Malmö

June is an opportunity for good ice conditions in milder weather. 24 hour daylight makes for many hours of possible wildlife sightings. Fjords are opening up and we can get…

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6 SPOTS AVAILABLE

Svalbard August expedition 2023 onboard MS Freya

Svalbard travel photography on Svalbard, every day is different, and every year is different. Arctic Wildlife Tours guides leads this August expedition to Svalbard, a remote area we know well…

Read more
12 SPOTS AVAILABLE

Svalbard early April expedition 2023 onboard MS Malmö

We will welcome you aboard the MS Malmö for this photography tour, with opportunities to see Polar Bears, Arctic wildlife and magnificent landscapes.

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AVAILABLE SPOTS

East Greenland cruise 2023 onboard Polar Pioner

Join us for this Arctic adventure to East Greenland onboard the Polar Pioner. Experience the landscapes and September light and the home of some huge icebergs.

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4 SPOTS AVAILABLE

Iberian Lynx photography tour

In December 2022 we will do a photography tour to Spain for the Iberian Lynx. After a long time without any tours we are up to do something. Join us…

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18 SPOTS AVAILABLE

South Georgia photography expedition 2023

Join Arctic Wildlife Tours guides Svein and Jens onboard the M/V Sea Spirit and visit South Georgia. As it is the first trip for Arctic Wildlife Tours visiting these parts…

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Available places

Golden Eagle photo hides

Our Golden Eagle photo hides and Siberian Jay hides is situated in Norway mountains with snow most of the winter. The hides is surrounded by mountains and forest. We are…

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If you have any questions or are wondering about something,
please feel free and do not hesitate to contact us at any given time.
We might be traveling some but will answer as fast as possible.

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