Svalbard #1 2011
19:46 , August 8, 2011

Svalbard #1 2011

Here’s the first trip report (22/7-1/8 2011) of the two photo expeditions to Svalbard this summer.

 

Day 1 – 22.07.2011 16:00 it was time to board our ship, the M/S Origo for our first photo expedition to Svalbard this summer. For the first time I had only 12 participants on this ship, instead of 24 participants as in earlier trips. Anyone who wanted it got a single cabin with plenty of space. This expedition was truly international with 6 participants from Norway, 2 from France, 2 from Switzerland, one from the USA and one from Japan.

We headed straight for the northwestern corner of Spitsbergen, so this day was mostly a transport leg. Before we boarded, a few of us got to photograph some Arctic foxes near Longyearbyen.

 

Arctic Fox (Alopex lagopus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Arctic fox. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/4000 sec, f/7,1 and ISO 1250.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Arctic Fox (Alopex lagopus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Arctic fox. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/1250 sec, f/5,0 and ISO 1250.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

 

Day 2 – 23.07.2011 We arrive at Lågøya at approx. 20:45 in the evening. It was not the best of light conditions that evening, but we had some great opportunities with the rare Sabine’s gull and also with some walruses. This time we photographed the Sabine’s gull from only a few meters away – Great! We also saw our 3 first polar bears on this expedition, but they were far away.

 

Sabine's Gull (Xema sabini) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Sabine’s gull. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/1250 sec, f/5,6 and ISO 2500.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Walrus. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/1000 sec, f/6,3 and ISO 1000.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

 

Day 3 – 24.07.2011 In the morning we had some rough seas, we entered one of the best Polar bear areas of Svalbard. Just before 11:00, we spotted our first polar bear of the day near Duvefjorden. Unfortunately the bear was not very interested in us. The same thing happened with a big male we saw 3.5 hours later. We saw 4 more polar bears, but didn’t have any close encounters. The good thing was that we had already seen 9 polar bears so far!

 

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Polar bear #4. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/3200 sec, f/5,6 and ISO 1600.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

 

Day 4 – 25.07.2011 We had anchored near Phippsøya (Sjuøyane) at 80.6 degrees North, but in the morning we had to sail south due to drifting ice. We decided to go for plan B – Hinlopen.

Hinlopen has never disappointed me. We headed to the large bird cliff of «Alkefjellet» with hundreds of thousands of Brunnick’s Guillemots in the air and in the water. The sound from all of these birds was incredible!

 

Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Black-legged kittiwake in blue ice. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/2500 sec, f/8,0 and ISO 1600.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Northern fulmar. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/1000 sec, f/7,1 and ISO 1000.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Brunnich's Guillemot (Uria lomvia) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Brunnich’s guillemot in Hinlopen. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/2500 sec, f/9,0 and ISO 1250.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

DOWN IS IN THE AIR - Brunnich's Guillemot (Uria lomvia) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Alkefjellet. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR + 1,4x tele extender, 1/800 sec, f/11 and ISO 3200 (-1,3 EV). Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Brunnich's Guillemot (Uria lomvia) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Alkefjellet. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR +1,4x tele extender, 1/800 sec, f/6,3 and ISO 3200 (-1 EV). Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Brunnich's Guillemot (Uria lomvia) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Alkefjellet. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/4 sec, f/22 and ISO 160 (-1,3 EV).  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Brunnich's Guillemot (Uria lomvia) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Alkefjellet. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 + 1,4x tele extender, 1/800 sec, f/11 and ISO 3200.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Day 5 – 26.07.2011 We arrived at the southern parts of Hinlopen in the middle of the night, but didn’t see any polar bears. After a few hours sleep, we tried to sail further south into the drifting ice. This was a good move and we found a Polar bear (# 10) which was cooperative and curious. This was our first close encounter polar bear of the expedition and everyone was very happy.

One hour later we found another Polar bear. It was a big male bear with fresh seal kill. Amazing! I had never seen this situation before on any of the 11 previous expeditions!

Besides the big male there was also one female bear and another male making an appearance. With today’s four polar bears we had so far seen 13 bears in five days which is considered very good, especially since there was a lot of ice around.

 

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Polar bear with fresh kill. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/2000 sec, f/7,1 and ISO 1000.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

BIRDWATCHER - Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) looking at a Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Birdwatcher. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/1250 sec, f/4,5 and ISO 400.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Polar bear. Nikon D3S with 300/2.8, 1/2500 sec, f/16 and ISO 250 (-2,6 EV).  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Polar bear. Nikon D3S with 70–200/2.8, 1/4000 sec, f/4,5 and ISO 500.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) and Ivory gull (Pagophila eburnea) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Polar bear with fresh kill. Nikon D3X with 600/4.0 VR, 1/1000 sec, f/7,1 and ISO 640.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

NOT HAPPY - Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Grumpy bear. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/2000 sec, f/4,5 and ISO 400.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Polar bear. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/1000 sec, f/6,3 and ISO 1000.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Day 6 – 27.07.2011 After a night at anchor our plan was to visit a walrus colony. But, because of the difficult ice conditions and the approaching haze we decided to sail north to the great bird cliff at Alkehornet. This was a good decision, since we had much better light conditions. We were in the zodiacs from 21:00 to 02:30 under the great midnight sun.

 

Brunnich's Guillemot (Uria lomvia) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Guillemot close-up. Nikon D3S with 14–24/2.8, 1/400 sec, f/16 and ISO 1600.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Brunnich's Guillemot (Uria lomvia) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Alkefjellet. Nikon D3S with 14–24/2.8, 1/1250 sec, f/11 and ISO 1250.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Brunnich's Guillemot (Uria lomvia) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Brunnich’s guillemot. Nikon D3X with 300/2.8, 1/500 sec, f/6,3 and ISO 640.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Brunnich's Guillemot (Uria lomvia) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Brunnich’s guillemot. Nikon D3S with 300/2.8, 1/800 sec, f/5,6 and ISO 640.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Day 7 – 28.07.2011 After lunch we arrived at Liefdefjorden and the famous Monaco Glacier. This glacier is one of my favourite glaciers on Svalbard. We had a short hike up to the edge of the glacier for some landscape shots.

In the evening we were back in the zodiacs from 21:30 to 03:30. It may sound like a very long zodiac cruise, but with great light conditions and photo opportunities it was time well spent. We also found a polar bear with two cubs (# 16 total), but they were mostly hidden on one of the islands.

 

Arctic Tern (Sterna Paradisaea) (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Arctic tern. Nikon D3S with 300/2.8, 1/2000 sec, f/6,3 and ISO 640.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Glaucous gull. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/3200 sec, f/6,3 and ISO 1250.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Young Glaucous gull. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/125 sec, f/20 and ISO 250.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Black-legged kittiwake in blue ice. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/1250 sec, f/10 and ISO 1000.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Arctic Tern (Sterna Paradisaea) (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Arctic tern in midnight light. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/8000 sec, f/6,3 and ISO 1600.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Day 8 – 29.07.2011 On the trip from Liefdefjorden to the western side of Spitsbergen we had rough seas, but in Lilliehööksfjorden it was calm again. We boarded the zodiacs at around 22:00 for a very successful evening. First we had 4 Ringed seals swimming around our zodiacs, and later we discovered a swimming Polar bear (#17). This bear was heading toward a resting Bearded seal, and was only 10 cm from catching the seal. This was very exciting to see. We got some nice pictures of the bear resting on blue ice, which was one of the great highlights of the trip. The last zodiac was back to our ship at 04:50 in the morning. It was time to rest!

 

Ringed Seal (Phoca hispida) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Ringed seal in Lilliehööksfjorden. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/4000 sec, f/7,1 and ISO 1250.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Hunting Polar bear. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/1600 sec, f/4,5 and ISO 1600.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Day 9 – 30.07.2011 After breakfast we tried to find some Bearded seals in Kongsfjorden, but it was not easy. Instead we had a close encounter with one of the rarest breeding birds on Svalbard – the Long-tailed skua. We had planned to spend the evening near a walrus colony, but all of the colonies were empty for some reason.

 

Kongsbreen glacier on Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Kongsbreen glacier. Nikon D3S with 70–200/2.8 VR, 1/400 sec, f/14 and ISO 640.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Long-tailed Jaeger (Stercorarius longicaudus) on Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
long-tailed skua. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/1250 sec, f/5,6 and ISO 1250.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Day 10 – 31.07.2011 For our last day on Svalbard, we had to head back to Longyearbyen before midnight. We had a WET landing at Alkehornet, and photographed some reindeer, before we followed the ice toward Longyearbyen.

When we finally anchored in Longyearbyen there were many tired, but happy photographers. For me, this was one of the best photo expeditions to Svalbard, with many exciting and unique encounters with polar bears and other animals, in addition to the many great photo opportunities.

NOTE: Let us know if you want to participate in a similar 10-day photo expedition to Svalbard. The photo expeditions July 2012 are almost sold out, with only a few spots available on the second expedition
25/-4/8 2012!

 

Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
Northern fulmar. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/4000 sec, f/7,1 and ISO 1000.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Which species did we see during the trip?

Here is an overview of what species of birds and animals we observed during our 10-day expedition:

Mammals: Polar bear (17), Walrus (50+), Harp seal (50+), Bearded seal (5+), Ringed seal (5+), Svalbard reindeer (10+), Arctic fox (2), Mink Whale (2).

Birds: Sabine’s gull (3), Ivory gull (10+), Glaucous gull (100+), Black-legged kittiwake (1000+), Northern fulmar (1000+), Pomarine skua (5+), Great skua (5+), Parasitic skua (20+), Long-tailed skua (4), Brunnich’s guillemot (100.000+), Atlantic puffin (20+), Black guillemot (100+), Little auk (100+), Red-throated loon (5+), Common eider (50+), Mallard (20+), Long-tailed duck (10+), Barnacle goose (100+), Pink-footed goose (20+), Arctic tern (100+), Red Phalarope (10+), Dunlin (5+), Purple sandpiper (10+), Snøspurv (10+).

 

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  1. Hei Ole Jørgen !
    bilden dine æ fantastiske. Svalbard og afrika bilden æ mine favoritter !
    e ha vorre fast gjest på sia di sia e bynte mæ foto sjøl. og sia du va ute sjå oss på Isfjord Radio i.. 2008 ?
    vertfall så æ du mitt store forbilde !
    hvis du fæ tid en gong så ha det vorre kjempe fint om du vilde sjå på fotobloggen min å gje me ei tebakemelding :)
    Silje Nårstad

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