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Sunday, August 25, 2013

The magic of the Far North

It is the Light of the North, which always fascinated me. The sun never sets in the summer, the shallow angle of incidence, the clouds, the lush green of the moss, the deep blue of the ice and the pastel colors of the sky! The barren, vast expanses of landscape, the cold, the crackling ice and of course the animals.
We (ie twelve photographers plus guides) are traveling with an expedition icebreaker from the 50s. A small ship without stabilizers and simple cabins - but with lots of charm and agility. We start from Lonyearbyen in Svalbard and sail to the north.


We find the king of the Arctic Ocean, the polar bear, only very close to the 82 Latitude. This is only about 550 miles from the North Pole. So far north is the ice edge. And the ice is pretty open, which means that the bears must swim from ice sheet to ice sheet. The encounters with the polar bears are, as always, unique, and after the many sightings on the mainland it is exciting to photograph them now on the ice and in the sea.


The Arctic is not the Serengeti, the variety is much smaller and it is difficult to find the animals in the immensity. The guides do a great job and scan with binoculars from the bridge or get even up to the crow's nest for wildlife. Usually we can photograph from the low deck. With the help of two zodiacs we also able to approach the animals and take pictures from a lower angle.


A special experience is the encounter with the whales, the largest mammals in the world. To see and hear a blue whale or a group of fin whales in the immediate vicinity of the ship is an emotional, indescribable experience. But to be able to watch about ten humpback whales for more than half an hour at their games and jumps, even the heart of "spoiled nature photographers" laugh.



At various landings on the islands of Svalbard we can take pictures of the sparse flora and fauna. And the question arises, what is now nicer to photograph: a lonely, single flower or the riot of color of a flower field. It is both beautiful - where the individual flower probably receives more attention than a sunflower in the big field. As usual in life ..



A fantastic journey that goes much too quickly. The rich colors, the diversity of Switzerland has me back. And I think of the pastel shades - the magic of the Far North.

More images of this journey can be seen on my homepage.