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Packing List For Svalbard Summer

About photography

Photography is the main activity on this photo expedition. The level of interest, skills and equipment will vary from person to person, but the following may help you to prepare for your upcoming photo expedition. 


  • Camera: Whatever camera you use, be sure to check that it is working properly before you leave home, and perform sensor cleaning (by yourself or an expert). We recommend to bring 2 cameras so you have one back-up if something happens with your primary camera. It’s also handy with one camera with a telephoto lens and another with a wide-angle lens. 
  • Camera features: The most important thing with your camera is that it has good low light capabilities (High-ISO). At least ISO 1600 will in many situations be your desired ISO setting. 
  • Lenses: We recommend a 400+ mm telephoto lens for photographing Polar bears and other wildlife. A 70-200mm is very useful for landscape photography. A wide angle (20mm or wider) is nice to use on close animals with great surroundings, and for landscape images. 
  • Batteries: Bring back-up batteries for your cameras, flash etc. You can recharge your batteries on board. In cold climates the batteries lasts a shorter time than normal. 
  • Memory cards: The general rule is to bring more memory cards than you expect to need. We recommend at least 150 GB in CF or SD card. 
  • Weather: Your equipment should be weatherproof, or you should bring rain cover for your equipment. A dry bag is recommended when traveling with camera gear in the zodiacs. Rain is not the worst, but there is some sea water spray which comes in the zodiacs. Small sand particles on some beaches might also cause problems. 
  • Tripods: Tripods are useful onshore, and also on the boat, but not in the zodiacs. With telephoto lenses larger than 300mm on a tripod on board the ship you have to use fast shutter speeds (like 1/1600 sec) because of the ship’s vibrations. 
  • Flash
  • Computer: It’s always good to have a laptop with 1-2 back-up disks.
svalbard photography
Zodiac cruising in the drift ice and fjord ice in Raudfjorden the first sunny day during the trip