The air is cold and crisp, there is a deep silence that is only interrupted by waves splashing against the Zodiac. The landscape in front of you has immense glaciers shining with an ethereal golden light and sea ice stretching far into the horizon. A majestic polar bear hunts for seals on the sea ice. Your camera is ready to document this unique experience.
This is Svalbard, an archipelago suspended between the ice of the North Pole and the wild beauty of the Norwegian Sea. It's a photographer's paradise, where amazing landscapes and captivating wildlife can be captured.
This expedition is an immersion into the essence of the Arctic where we'll share not only the technical expertise to capture this inspiring scenery but also our artistic visions. You'll return not just with breath-taking images, but with a renewed sense of wonder and a deep connection to this fragile, magnificent wilderness.
The icing on the cake is that you will get to enjoy the comfort and luxury of the MV Vikingfjord. The modern expedition ship only accommodates 12 guests. This means our expedition will be an intimate, private affair, where we have the freedom to chart our course and tailor the experience to focus on the mesmerizing trio of polar bears, walruses, and beautiful landscapes. Since we have chartered the whole ship, we can do exactly what we want!
Creative Guide & Expedition Leader
Jonas is the founder of Terra Photography Expeditions. He has been a photographer for well over 20 years. He is a certified International Mountain Leader (UIMLA) that has spent a lifetime exploring the world's wild areas. Jonas will be leading the expedition.
Jonas loves working with developing photographers to strengthen their technical foundation and support them to unleach their inner creativity. Jonas achieves this through engaging lectures, educative assignments and hands-on teaching in the field.
Jonas has had the privilege of exploring the Arctic many times, most recently in 2022, where he traversed Svalbard on skis with a group of climate scientists, and in 2023 when he led an Arctic photography workshop alongside photographers Thomas Heaton, Brendan van Son, and Neil Arthurs.
For Jonas, this Arctic landscapes and wildlife is the environment that makes him feel truly inspired!
More info here.
Recommended Arrival Day ⏐ 15 April 2024
We highly recommend arriving in Longyearbyen at least a day early - ideally a few more to really explore this exciting Arctic settlement. This will ease the stress of potentially late arrivals and delayed luggage, which are unfortunately common on domestic carriers in Norway. There is lots to explore in Longyearbyen and surrounding area before the expedition starts. This day is not included in the expedition.
Day 1 ⏐ Embarkation ⏐ 16 April 2024
Our journey begins at the port in Longyearbyen, the world's northernmost town. As you board our comfortable expedition ship, anticipation crackles in the air. As we set sail, we’ll get our gear organised, enjoy a first lecture about photography in the Arctic environment and a hearty welcome dinner. This is the beginning. We are now leaving the familiar behind and venturing into the icy unknown.
Day 2 – 8 ⏐ Expedition Cruise
The following days will be a kaleidoscope of breath-taking landscapes and inspiring wildlife encounters. We'll navigate through the fjords while marvelling at the jagged mountain peaks. Zodiac (small expedition rubber boats) excursions will bring us face-to-face with huge glaciers whose turquoise colours reflect the sky.
Polar bears, the undisputed kings of the Arctic, may surprise us with their presence as they chase seals across the sea ice. We might also see reindeer, while they graze on the tundra whilst, above it all, Arctic terns accompany us through the frozen fjords.
As we sail further, the pack ice becomes our playground. Zodiacs will weave through the frozen labyrinth, and every floe will offer a unique opportunity to capture the beauty of the Arctic.
Weather permitting, we will make daily excursions with Zodiacs to explore the frozen landscapes and mesmerising wildlife and make landings on the shoreline where appropriate and safe. Our focus is, naturally, on POLAR BEARS and the chances are good to find them. The bridge and expedition team will be scouting for bears day and night, and if one is found, we will all make our best to get the best possible photography opportunities from deck or from Zodiacs. Even if this happens in the middle of the night.
An expedition to the Arctic is an exciting adventure, but there is also plenty of time for relaxation. In between excursions there is time for rest, photography from the deck, editing, lectures, relaxation in the ship's sauna or in the hot tub, and, of course, enjoy a drink or two with a view to die for.
Day 9 ⏐ Disembarkation ⏐ 24 April 2024
After days of chasing glaciers and wildlife, our final night will be spent navigating back to Longyearbyen allowing a final moment to soaking in the serenity of Svalbard. After a final breakfast, we say our 'see you laters' and continue our individual onward journeys.
All Terra Photography Expeditions follow a proven curriculum that aims to teach the theory behind photography in a dynamic way that directly translates into easily actionable processes in the field. As we move through nature we also go through an introduction to the skills and knowledge required to be safe in the great outdoors.
Photography Techniques Covered on the Expedition
Storytelling - Telling stories and evoking emotions within the context of landscape photography
Composition - A comprehensive introduction to the theory of composition, including the elements of art and principles of design
Process - Learning and implementing a process to achieve consistent quality in landscape photography
Focusing - A science-based method for focusing to make your images sharp
Long exposure and filters - Long exposure and the use of Neutral Density (ND) filters, especially related to moving water and clouds
Astro photography - Explore the nighttime skies and landscapes to show the world at a different time
Panorama photography - exposing and merging multiple images
Multiple exposures and graduate filters - Achieving correctly exposed images in challenging conditions using graduated filters and multiple exposures (exposure bracketing)
Finding locations - Using maps, weather services and other tools to identify potential photography locations and times.
Workflow - Full post production workflow in Lightroom
Colour Balance - Using Lightroom to get the colour right!
Contrast - Using Lightroom to apply contrast
Shaping Light - Using local adjustments to shape and sculpt the light
Luminosity Masks - Using luminosity masks in Lightroom
HDR Images - Different techniques for blending multiple exposures of the same image
Panoramas - Stitching multiple panoramas together
Sharpening - Sharpening techniques
Black & White - Editing for powerful BW images
Photoshop and Layers - Using Photoshop layers to build up image adjustments
The MV Vikingfjord will be our ship for this expedition - she's a powerful expedition ship for only 12 guests with great environmental credentials. The MV Vikingfjord operates in Svalbard and East Greenland for low impact expeditions. It was renovated in 2023 to a very high standard. It offers cruise ship comfort on a small ship with 8 ensuite cabins, an open plan observation lounge with rear facing windows, on deck hot tub and sauna, and a light and modern Scandinavian design.
Partners are Welcome!
The focus of this expedition is on photography - as all expeditions by Terra. But that doesn’t mean that this isn’t perfect for your partner as well! As this is a true once in a lifetime opportunity, accompanying partners, adult children, or friends, whether they are photographers or not, are also welcome. There is plenty for non-photographers to experience on this adventure.
The Agenda, Weather, and Daylight Hours
Remember, the Arctic is a wild and unpredictable place. While we have outlined a potential itinerary, the final course of our adventure will be determined by the ever-changing ice and weather conditions. This flexibility is not an obstacle, but an invitation to embrace the unexpected, to let the Arctic weave its own magic into your photographic journey.
From 19 April the midnight sun is up so we will enjoy low golden light for much of the day.
While our focus is on spotting polar bears, it's crucial to understand that they are wild animals and sightings cannot be guaranteed. However, the itinerary is thoughtfully designed to maximize our chances of encountering them in their natural habitat and our expedition team will be scouting for polar bears day and night. If one is found, we will all do our best to get the best possible photography from the deck or Zodiacs. Even if this happens in the middle of the night.
All main meals are included in the price. If you have any special requirements or allergies, please notify us at the time of booking.
Leave No Trace Policy
Terra Photography Expeditions has a strict leave-no-trace policy. This policy is also applied to how we share information about fragile ecosystems that we gently and respectfully visit. This means that we have withheld exact locations from the itinerary. This is because we do not want to contribute to large-scale tourism. You are welcome to get in touch if you'd like to discuss the itinerary before applying to join. Thank you for your understanding.
This expedition has a Lowland Workshop effort level.
Our Lowland Workshops are designed to be accessible and enjoyable for a wide range of participants. Most of our locations are situated along roadsides or can be reached by walking a few kilometers on well-maintained trails. For winter workshops the conditions can sometimes be snowy and on not maintaned paths.
Price & Details
8 nights cruise
Photography workshop in the field
Food, water, coffee, tea onboard the ship
Flights to/from Longyearbyen
Transfers to/from the ship
Hotel on the night before embarkation, and possibly after disembarkation
Customary gratuity to guides and staff
Alcoholic beverages - they can be purchased from the ship’s bar
Last-Minute Price: From 8795 EUR
The standard rate for shared twin would have been EUR 11990.
The entire fee is due at the time of booking, i.e. the Deposit Payment and Balance Due Date are at the same time and both are due once your application to join the expedition has been approved. Incl. VAT.
Participants: Minimum 9 - Maximum 12
Embarkation: April 16, 2024 (Arrival minimum one day before to Longyearbyen), 4PM.
Disembarkation: April 24, 2024, approx. 9AM
Port: Longyearbyen, Svalbard
To make it even better, given the last-minute nature, we are able to extend a great offer for the expedition (in comparison to standard rates).
Double Cabin (1 available): EUR 8795 per person in shared room
Twin Cabin (4 available): EUR 8795 per person in shared room
Single Cabin (2 available): EUR 9295
Availability: only 3 spots!
1 x Shared Twin for female traveller
2 x Shared Twin for couple / friends / or two single male or female solo travellers
This tour is governed by the Terms and Conditions