This small island in the Chukchi Sea is best known for it's remarkable concentration of Polar Bears. When the ice melts the bears need a safe haven to wait out the summer. The bears may be hungry during these months but the foxes and owls are not, because they have the Lemmings. In fact the entire ecology of the island is driven by these little creatures and their ability to survive in the Arctic tundra.
It's the snow and light that I love most about travelling through the Arctic in winter. As the days get longer and the sunshine returns to the Arctic, long tenticles of light embrace the wilderness. For photographers the colours are subtle but pure. It's not just about capturing a majestic fjord the plunges into the sea, it's the experience of being wasit deep in snow or standing on a mountain plateau watching the aurora borealis burst into colour above you.
Sometimes the dark and heavy skies of an Arctic winter can bring inspiration. Mostly we chase the sunlight and auroras when heading to Tromso, but this year I started collecting frames under the most challenging of skies. Those moments when the weather changes, when snowflakes fall in the sunshine or a blizzard moves into a fjord, are my favourite. Transition and scale.
Photo Essay | 35 images | Norway | Arctic
Puffins and Polar Bears
The north eastern tip of Russia is known as Chukotka, and it's a very long way from Moscow. Rugged cliffs along the Chukchi Sea are a haven for Puffins, and the long seasons of ice are a haven for Polar Bears. I joined the expedition ship Professor Kromov to get close to the wildlife. Sort of close. Bears are dangerous, Puffins are aloof, and indigenous hunters have made most wildlife in the region very shy of human activity. This region is a genuine challenge for photographers.
These shots were taken over a couple days in mid-February 2012, mostly taking advantage of the overcast conditions on Norway's Lofoten Islands but sometimes embracing the bursts of sunshine that greet the morning. Villages such as Hamnoy have the lovely red fishing cabins, while Sakrisoya prefer orange. Lofoten is lovely.
Once a year the Sami people of Swedish Lapland gather to trade reindeer furs, race reindeer on the lake and share a meal of smoked char or reindeer stew. This photo essay is from the 408th Winter Market held in Jokkmokk, just inside the Arctic Circle. Yum and fun.
Every year I head up to the Scandinavian Arctic to share a few of my favourite locations with fellow photographers and enjoy some reindeer dinners. This year we had a cracking group and enjoyed the company of so many wonderful Swedish people along the way. Here's a few pics of the journey.
Two weeks in the frozen north chasing the light and missing out on sleep. This was one of our most remarkable Norway trips, so filled with sunshine day after day that we almost couldn't believe it was winter. And at night the skies were clear, and filled with Nordlys. Be sure to check out the video at the end of the collection.