Welcome to Svalbard
Svalbard is one of our favourite places for photography in the Arctic. For the wildlife photographer, it offers an abundance of wildlife including polar bears, walruses, Arctic foxes, and Svalbard reindeer not to mention diverse birdlife. It is by far one of the best places on earth to witness polar bears in their natural environment from the safety of an expedition vessel. It offers a variety of photography subjects from the sweeping landscapes, countless glaciers and sea ice to the remains of human settlements. To experience this arctic paradise join one of our Svalbard photo tours led by expert photographers.
Svalbard Photo Tours 2021 / 2022
Frozen Svalbard Photo Tour with Rick Tomlinson
8 days – April 2021, 2022
Join expedition photographer Rick Tomlinson on an exciting journey to explore the frozen coast of Svalbard early in the season. As Svalbard awakens from winter it offers a fantastic opportunity for photographers to capture the transition to spring. During this time the mountains are usually snow-covered making the scenery very picturesque. Sea ice is still prevalent along the coast and fjords which makes a great subject along with the countless glaciers. We frequently encounter wildlife and there is a good chance of seeing polar bears on this trip. Our route weaves along the north-west coast of Spitsbergen taking in this magical frozen wonderland from the safety, warmth and comfort of expedition vessel Togo.
Natural Wonders of Svalbard with Chase Teron
9 days – May 2021, 2022
Join Chase Teron on a photography expedition to photograph Svalbard’s natural wonders and wildlife. Travelling on an expedition vessel with just 12 guests we will follow the 24-hour daylight up the north coast of Spitsbergen. The focus of this voyage is to find as many photo opportunities a possible. We will encounter magnificent glaciers, sea ice and an abundance of wildlife with a good chance of seeing polar bears. Our expedition vessel is equipped with Zodiac landing craft and these will be used to get up close to ice and nature for that perfect shot.
Meet Our Photography Instructors
Photographer, Teacher & Environmentalist
Chase is a full-time wildlife and nature photographer, instructor and an environmentalist based in Canada. He has been a finalist for National Geographic Nature Photographer of the year twice. His photographs have been published by National Geographic, Canadian Geographic and freelances for International clientele including Canon. He looks forward to helping you develop your photography skills in the field.
Expedition Photographer & Guide
Rick is a marine photographer specializing in yacht racing, expedition photography and workshops. His work has featured in National Geographic and he has extensive shooting in the Arctic and Antarctic.
Highlights of a Svalbard photo tour
One of the main reasons to do a Svalbard photo tour is to experience the abundance of wildlife the area is known for. Using a small expedition vessel we are able to get close to wildlife in a low impact way and open up fantastic photography opportunities. Although we can’t guarantee it, we often encounter polar bears on sea ice or hunting along the coastline. We frequently encounter walruses both from the shore and from the water and usually visit at least one walrus haul-out area. From the vessel, we often observe a variety of Whales, including belugas. Ashore we commonly see Svalbard reindeer and Arctic foxes. We follow the regulations set out by AECO and the WWF for wildlife viewing so as not to cause unnecessary disturbance to animals.
Glaciers and Sea Ice
Svalbard is one of the best places on earth to get close to ice. The area is home to over 2,000 glaciers and sea ice is present in the area throughout the year. Using Zodiac landing crafts allows us to get up close to the ice for some great photo opportunities. If conditions allow us we will cruise along with the faces of calving glaciers with lots of ice floating in the foreground for some perfect shots. We will attempt to reach the sea ice to the north on our ice-strengthened vessel. A visit to the sea ice is a photographers dream and if we are fortunate we may even encounter polar bears hunting on the ice. A small expedition vessels offer the perfect flexibility to visit different areas as the conditions allow.
Svalbard is scattered with the remains of human history and a part of every photo tour is exploring its past. From the world’s most northerly scientific settlement at Ny-Ålesund to the abandoned Russian mining town of Pyramiden, Svalbard is full of interesting human history. Depending on our route we will plan to visit at least one historic site with the opportunity to photography Svalbard’s past.
Wildlife | Top 3 to spot on a Svalbard photo tour
The area around Svalbard is home to 3,000 plus polar bears and it is one of the world’s top destinations for seeing the apex predator of the Arctic. Polar bears are dangerous to encounter on land and the safest way to photograph them is at a distance from a small expedition vessel. During the summer months, polar bears are commonly sighted on the north-west coast of Spitsbergen, Svalbard’s largest island, and hunting on the sea ice to the north. Small expedition vessels regularly encounter polar bears although sightings can never be guaranteed.
An estimated 4,000 walruses live in Svalbard with several hauls out sites that can be visited on a Svalbard photo tour. During the shore landings, Walruses can be observed on the beaches and photographed from a safe distance. Walruses are also seen from expedition vessels lying on ice flows and swimming in the waters around Svalbard.
Svalbard has its own subspecies of reindeer found nowhere else on the planet. Svalbard reindeer have adapted to survive the harsh winters and are smaller than reindeer found elsewhere. The reindeer have lived on Svalbard for over 5000 years. They can be spotted all over the archipelago and inhabit the non-glaciated areas. Overhunting during the 19th and 20th century decimated to the population to the point of near extinction. Today they are easily spotted along the coast.
Private Photo Charters
Are you interested in creating your own photography voyage to Svalbard? We have extensive experience working with photographers in Svalbard on their own private tailored expeditions onboard an expedition vessel that accommodates up to 12 guests. We also offer a tour design service for tour operators looking to run their own Svalbard photo tour.
Please contact us for more information.
Ask A Question
We are here to help you to choose from our Svalbard photo tours and find the right trip for you.
If you have any questions please get in touch. We will use our expertise to recommend the right trip for you based on your expectations and comfort levels.
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Who are our Svalbard photo tours aimed at?
Our Svalbard photo tours are aimed at photographers from all walks of life that want to take part in an intimate voyage to photograph the Arctic. It doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned professional or just starting out, our trips are for you. The focus on our arctic photo tours is to spend time exploring in search of the best photography opportunities.
We run trips in small, intimate groups to maximise the experience and minimise the environmental impact. We are passionate about protecting the places we visit, experiencing them and then leaving again with no trace.
Our trips are suitable for most people of reasonable fitness. The fitness level varies between trips. If you have any questions regarding this please get in touch and we will be happy to assist you.
As a member of AECO we take great care not to cause any disturbance to wildlife or the environment.