Arctic Adventures

This was the entrance to the ice cave. Shot with Canon 5Ds and Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM f/2.8 @ 24mm, 1/800sec, f/5.6, ISO 100.

This was the entrance to the ice cave. Shot with Canon 5Ds and Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM f/2.8 @ 24mm, 1/800sec, f/5.6, ISO 100.

The beginning of April I was invited to go to Svalbard with Canon Norway. Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. It’s main city, Longyearbyen, is the northern most city in the world with over 1000 inhabitants (there are settlements further north, but they are small and/or not inhabited all year round).

One of many abandoned coal mines near Longyearbyen. Shot with Canon 5Ds and Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM f/2.8 @ 50mm, 1/200sec, f/8, ISO 200.

One of many abandoned coal mines near Longyearbyen. Shot with Canon 5Ds and Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM f/2.8 @ 50mm, 1/200sec, f/8, ISO 200.

Svalbard was discovered in 1596 by Dutch explorers. However, it’s mentioned in Icelandic texts as early as the 1194. Early on whaling was the main industry around Svalbard, but in the 20th century it was transformed into a coal mining community. Till this day, Russian and Norwegian mining companies continues to the quest for coal in the mountains, however tourism and research are emerging as new important industries for the island. The University Centre in Svalbard is the northernmost institution for higher education in the world and Svalbard Global Seed Vault opened in 2008 and now contains a collection of 840 000 seeds from 4000 species!

The dog sleigh guide warned us not to take photos, because there's a risk the camera will be yanked out of our hands if we hit a bump. I could, however, not resist this beautiful view and just had to get a shot! Dog sleigh riding in Svalbard in this weather is quite the experience! Shot with Canon 5Ds and Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM f/2.8 @ 24mm, 1/1000sec, f/18, ISO 500.

The dog sleigh guide warned us not to take photos, because there’s a risk the camera could be yanked out of our hands if we hit a bump. I could, however, not resist this beautiful view and just had to get a shot! Dog sleigh riding in Svalbard in this weather is quite the experience! Shot with Canon 5Ds and Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM f/2.8 @ 24mm, 1/1000sec, f/18, ISO 500.

I spent three days up north in this fascinating location. I went on a dog sleigh expedition, snowmobile expedition, got to visit an ice gave, an old huntsman lodge and a glacier. Well, almost a glacier. The fjord was not frozen so we could not get across. We had to admire the glacier from a distance this time.

All in all it was three busy days! The only thing missing was a chance to photograph polar bears. Except for the sleigh dogs I didn’t get to do any animal photos, just landscapes. Don’t get me wrong the landscapes up there are amazing and very unique. I guess I will have to come back some other time for the polar bears!

For those of you interested in the equipment used for these photos: I decided to travel light. I only brought a Canon 5Ds, 24-70mm f/2.8L USM II and a 17-40mm f/4L USM. I was expecting to mostly do landscaped and travel photos and for that this was a great combo. I guess I could have managed just with the 24-70mm, but the extra wide angel was nice to have for some of the impressive landscape. Canon 5Ds and the new 24-70mm is a killer combo. Love the high-resolution for landscapes, but it lacks a bit on the ISO, and so things got a bit difficult in the ice cave.

See more images in the gallery below!

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