So this is not my usual posting. It's more than a little boastful to be honest, but equally it's something well overdue. Back in February and March of 2020 we ran an amazing photo tour in Arctic Norway. We've been coming here for a decade and have a superb team behind the trip, and this year was one of the very best trips we've ever delivered. In part because we had such great company for the journey.
Two of those folks dropped me a line earlier this year, in the middle the Covid pandemic, and wrote down some kind words for me to share. Today I'm sharing those words with you too. I love this part of the world so much, and love sharing it with like-minded souls. So please have a listen to what Fiona and Sharon have to say.
You can also read more about my tour testimonials here:
In February of 2020, I joined Ewen Bell for his Winterscapes photographic tour of Arctic Norway. I had not previously done a workshop or trip with Ewen but I was impressed with his website and the many wonderful testimonials there. I also valued the detailed information in the overview of his tours and had the feeling that he was someone who cared about his clients and the quality of the photographic and travel experiences he was offering. Thus began a series of many emails over many months as I began to put together the pieces of this very special trip. To finally meet Ewen and the rest of our group in Tromsø, Northern Norway, was so exciting!
I had long wished to see the Aurora Borealis, a life-long dream really, and I knew that there was no guarantee. However, I decided that if I was to have the best possible chance, Ewen was the guy I wanted to travel with and Arctic Norway was the place! Over our many communications, I so appreciated the incredible attention to detail that Ewen provided. The camera equipment and clothing required for such a trip, in the depths of the Norwegian Winter, were important to get right and Ewen’s thoroughness in preparation and his desire to ensure that everyone on his trip was ready in every respect for the conditions that would await us were so appreciated. I followed just about every recommendation that Ewen offered and I have to say that I was so very grateful that I did.
Not only did we have the opportunity to see and experience the Aurora Borealis in all her glory but we were also able to photograph this most extraordinary event. I will never forget standing under the star-filled night sky with curtains of green and pink cascading down upon us and all around us. What I wasn’t really prepared for was the silence. This magnificent light show takes place in complete silence. Incredible!
Ewen’s attention to detail continued throughout the entire trip. He was always looking for stunning photographic locations, always on the lookout for something different, and always thinking ahead as to how to make the trip extra-special for us. Ian Rolfe, our tour co-leader, was so helpful and encouraging, and Shellie Froidevaux, our exceptional chef for this incredible trip, always ensured that we were well-fed with the most delicious food. This team of three awesome individuals guaranteed we were looked after in every respect. Our various accommodations were perfect, often in the most beautiful of locations and often right beside a majestic fjord, and there’s no doubt that Ewen and Ian’s extensive knowledge of Arctic Norway, geographical as well as photographic, meant that we always found the best locations at the best time! Ian’s willingness to forge a way through deep, deep snow allowed us to access spectacular settings which otherwise would have been impossible to reach.
The opportunity to learn new photographic techniques and to tap into the expertise of both Ewen and Ian was wonderful and I came away with additional skills and some photographs that I’m thrilled with. We participated in valuable learning tutorials when possible and Ewen and Ian were so very generous with sharing their knowledge along with their amazing photographs. It was an inspiration for us all.
I can’t thank Ewen, Ian and Shellie enough for the unforgettable experience that they gave me. Hopefully, I’ll have the opportunity to join them again for another different experience in the future. However, for now, this trip has given me memories to last a lifetime!
I had enviously watched Ewen’s instagram feed from the 2018 Norway workshop and knew I’d be signing up for the next one available - that scenery, those lights, the food! The 2020 trip did not disappoint. If you read other testimonials on Ewen’s photography workshops you’ll notice people often say he works hard to get you the best photographic opportunities, with the best light, and the fewest other people around. All of that was true in Norway in 2020.
Don’t sign up for this workshop expecting to be driven to all the usual tourist spots to take photographs regardless of what the light is like. Getting the best images possible is what this workshop is about. If you arrive somewhere and the light isn’t good, you’ll move on to somewhere equally stunning where the light is beautiful. If the day is miserable and there’s no light at all, expect to make good use of your time learning new processing techniques. If the northern lights start dancing at 2am, you may well get a knock on your cabin door to let you know. Ewen, Ian and Shellie were constantly working hard to adjust to the weather to make sure we had the best photographic opportunities - they had plans B, C and D ready to go in an instant (and probably others that we never knew about!).
The northern lights was the main drawcard for most of us. I’d heard stories of people heading to the arctic to see the lights and returning disappointed. We saw the northern lights on four nights, two of which were truly spectacular. There’s a healthy element of luck in this, for sure, but without the planning that went into this years ahead to make sure we were in the right places on the right nights, we may never have seen them.
There are two things I didn’t anticipate on this trip. The first is how much my photography would grow in the space of two weeks. In addition to being a wonderful holiday, I learned loads of new skills including using ND filters, photographing the night sky and auroras, stitching together panoramas and making time-lapse videos. Ewen and Ian are generous with their knowledge and they are patient and gentle teachers. At night we would often look through photographs they had taken during the day, with Ewen or Ian explaining why they’d made particular photographic choices and how and why they’d processed the images.
The second thing I didn’t anticipate is how excellent it is to have Shellie Froidevaux as part of this team. Not only is she a lovely person to travel with, but the food she prepares is amazing, and was a key part of making this trip feel like a luxurious experience. Shellie makes a point of using local produce to cook local dishes and I can promise you it will be delicious!
Run, don’t walk, to sign up for the next arctic Norway workshop with Ewen Bell.
Please enjoy a few photos from the most recent Arctic Norway trips. We have traditionally run this tour every two years but will be making it an annual event from 2022: