August 2016 - Arctic Kingdom Polar Expeditions

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6 ways to see the Northern Lights in the Canadian Arctic

August 30th, 2016 | By | Filed in Northern Lights - Aurora Borealis

Northern Lights igloo Arctic Kingdom The legendary Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) are one of the most beautiful and spectacular natural phenomena in the world, visible in the higher latitudes of the Northern hemisphere. Viewing this natural light show is easier than you’d think! From August to May,  the Northern Lights bejewel the night sky in the Canadian Arctic, against a backdrop of incredible scenery and possible rare wildlife sightings.

What causes the Northern Lights?

Northern Lights Arctic Kingdom World-renowned as one of nature’s most incredible wonders, the shimmering lights of the aurora are the result of collisions between electrically charged particles. Gaseous particles in the Earth’s atmosphere collide with charged particles released from the sun’s atmosphere. The Northern Lights appear in many colours including red, yellow, green, blue and violet, and can appear in many forms including patches or scattered clouds, streamers, arcs, rippling curtains or shooting rays, lighting up the sky. Different altitudes and types of gas particles that collide cause the variations in colour. The most common auroral colour is a pale yellowish-green. This display is caused by oxygen molecules located approximately 96 km (60 miles) above the earth. Blue or purple-red auroras are created by nitrogen, and though rare, all-red auroras are produced by oxygen at a high altitude, at heights of up to 321 km (200 miles).

When and where can I see them?

Northern Lights in Iqaluit Arctic Kingdom Seen both in the northern and southern hemisphere, the Aurora occur in an irregularly-shaped oval centered over each magnetic pole – the auroral oval. In the north, it is known as the Aurora Borealis and the Aurora Australis in the south. The best places to watch the lights in North America are in the northwestern parts of Canada – including Nunavut. Smaller communities and remote locations without light pollution are great for watching the aurora displays – one of the reasons we love the Canadian Arctic! These dancing light shows are most clearly seen at night against a dark sky. With long periods of darkness and a higher frequency of clear nights, winter is a great season to view the Northern Lights in the north. Here are six ways to witness the magic of the Northern Lights in the Canadian Arctic:

Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Photo Safari

Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Photo Safari Arctic Kingdom Our Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Photo Safari provides an incredible off-the-grid experience to witness the Northern Lights in October and November. This seven-day trip offers exclusive opportunities to view polar bears up-close during the day and dazzling Northern Lights at night, in the comfort of our remote Polar Bear Cabins, located 110 km south of Arviat, Nunavut, on the coast of Hudson Bay. View trip details and departures for 2016 and 2017 here.

Spring Polar Bears and Icebergs of Baffin

Spring Polar Bears and Icebergs of Baffin Photo Safari Arctic Kingdom This photo safari takes you into the heart of the high eastern Arctic, where travellers seldom go, in March and April. See the Northern Lights at night after spending the days capturing amazing photos of polar bears close-up, as they venture on to the sea ice and climb majestic icebergs on this nine-day trip. View trip details and departures for 2017 here.

Polar Bear Mother and Newborn Cubs

Polar Bear Mother And Newborn Cubs Safari Arctic Kingdom This lodge-based expedition provides the opportunity to witness the Northern Lights at night after days viewing polar bear cubs and their mothers at a close proximity. Located in the world’s largest polar bear denning area in Wapusk National Park, Manitoba, travellers can experience this 10-day trip in March. View trip details and departures for 2017 here.

Northern Lights Fly-in Lodge

Northern Lights Fly-In Lodge Getaway Arctic Kingdom Get a front-row seat to watch the magical Northern Lights at this remote and rustic lodge, located deep in the Canadian wilderness of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. This trip has options of four to nine night packages, from December to April. View trip details and departures for 2016 and 2017 here.

Weekend Getaways

Iqaluit weekend getaways Northern Lights Arctic Kingdom For travellers short on time, our exclusive getaways take you above the treeline in Iqaluit for an accessible, family-friendly Arctic escape. Our Arctic Weekend Getaway and Taste of the Arctic Spring provide opportunities to see the Northern Lights from October to April. Only 3 hours' flight from Ottawa, Canada.

Want to see the Northern Lights but not sure which trip is for you?

Click here to get in touch with one of our Travel Advisors - they are happy to help!

Want to create your own Northern Lights adventure?

Contact us to ask about custom trips.

A new adventure for birders: Bathurst Inlet Lodge

August 16th, 2016 | By | Filed in Featured Trip

Bathurst Inlet Lodge yellow warbler birding Arctic Kingdom  
We often talk about the incredible and unique wildlife found only in the Arctic. Did you know there are also great opportunities for bird viewing? We’re excited to share that we now have an adventure for birders!

Rare bird sightings in a beautiful location


Common eiders Bathurst Inlet Lodge birding Arctic Kingdom

Bathurst Inlet Lodge is a family-friendly, easily accessible Arctic birding destination. Located just north of the Arctic Circle in Nunavut, Canada, it offers some of the best opportunities to see rare birds among spectacular landscapes.

Download the Arctic Birding List for free to see all the species that can be seen at Bathurst Inlet Lodge. Compare this to your life list; you may be surprised by how many sighting you can add in just one week! Even expert birders, and those able to recognize species by song, are often able to add several species to their list.

A special opportunity to see birds in breeding plumage


Hoary redpoll Bathurst Inlet Lodge birding Arctic Kingdom

Many of the birds that can be seen here are migratory. You may see them in your neighbourhood, but never like this! One thing unique to Bathurst Inlet is the special opportunity to see birds in breeding plumage. This is because breeding only occurs in the Arctic under the midnight sun.

Birds we’re bragging about


While this location becomes a temporary home to more than 100 species of birds throughout the season, there are a few we’re especially excited to highlight. Here are some of the birds you will have the chance to see at Bathurst Inlet Lodge:

Yellow-billed loons


Loon Bathurst Inlet Lodge birding Arctic Kingdom

Yellow-billed loons are larger than a common loon and very rarely seen in the United States and southern Canada. This species nests on deep tundra lakes – the kind found near Bathurst Inlet Lodge, allowing guests some of the best opportunities to see yellow-billed loons in breeding plumage. Guests often have the chance to see and watch the behaviour of these magnificent loons while drifting in the lodge’s pontoon boat.

Thayer’s Gulls


Thayer's gull Bathurst Inlet Lodge birding Arctic Kingdom

While you may have ample opportunity to see other gulls throughout North America, thayer’s gulls are rarely seen in the United States and southern Canada. These gulls can easily be misidentified. Luckily, guests will have expert guides on hand to assist!

Golden Eagles


Though they are one of the best-known birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere, golden eagles are rarely encountered in eastern Canada and eastern United States. They can often be found nesting on sheer cliffs on islands or along river gorges in the area surrounding Bathurst Inlet Lodge.

Willow and Rock Ptarmigans


Willow ptarmigan Bathurst Inlet Lodge birding Arctic Kingdom

Never seen in the lower 48 states of the United States, ptarmigans all live in tundra and cold areas. They are one of our favourite rare treats to see at Bathurst Inlet Lodge. All ptarmigan have a complex pattern of molt, occurring three times a year. Courtship plumage occurs in the spring. Summer visitors will notice that most plumage is dark at this time of year. They nest near the lodge, so guests often hear them crowing, and on special days you may be able to see family groups.

Explore the Inlet by boat


pontoon Bathurst Inlet Lodge birding Arctic Kingdom

A flat-bottomed pontoon boat is the perfect platform for exploring the Inlet. This stable and comfortable boat allows guests to walk around to take photos and use binoculars. All boat trips include an expert field guide to help you identify bird species and tell you more about the location.

See the birds of Bathurst Inlet


Want to check some of these bird species off your list next summer? With all the charm of a bed-and-breakfast, Bathurst Inlet Lodge is an affordable, all-inclusive Arctic adventure backed by nearly 50 years of experience and has limited availability. Bookings are available for only four weeks in the summer with a capacity of only 15 guests per week.

We encourage you to contact us to reserve your spot!

Learn more about Bathurst Inlet Lodge and trips available for 2017 here.

8 tips for Arctic wildlife photography

August 3rd, 2016 | By | Filed in Wildlife

Arctic Fox Arctic Kingdom wildlife The Arctic is home to some of the world’s most unique wildlife, including polar bears and narwhal. This destination offers ample opportunities for amazing wildlife photography. For many, a trip to the Arctic is a once in a lifetime experience. To help ensure you capture every moment during your visit, here are 8 tips for wildlife photography in the Arctic:

Gear up…

The gear you bring on an Arctic Safari depends on you! For serious photographers, with the variety of wildlife and scenery available to shoot, it’s a good idea to bring a telephoto lens (minimum of 300mm), a mid-range zoom (70-200mm), a tele-converter (1.4x or 2x), and a wide angle lens (24mm or less). Other guests have success with point-and-shoot cameras. Many photographers also find bringing a full-sized tripod or monopod beneficial. The weather in the Arctic can be unpredictable. Depending on the season, we recommend bringing snow or rain covers, and heavy duty plastic bags to wrap your gear in the case of extreme weather. With spectacular sights at every turn, you will find yourself snapping more shots than usual. We’d hate for you to miss out on a great shot because your battery ran out! Don’t forget to pack extra memory cards, batteries and chargers.

Arctic Kingdom Qik Polar bear iceberg wildlife photography

…and know it well

No matter the type of gear you bring, it’s important to know it well. Get familiar with the settings and features of your camera and abilities of your lenses. Wildlife won’t pose for your photos – you might have a maximum of five seconds to capture action. Know the appropriate shutter speed for your gear: it varies depending on the camera and lens, but should be fast enough to stop movement and still capture sharp images. It’s also a good idea to practice quickly toggling between settings and modes to ensure you don’t miss that perfect breaching whale or close-up walrus shot! Narwhal Arctic Kingdom Wildlife

Anticipate their next move

Consider where the animal is going, not where it is. Anticipating its movement is key so you can set up your shot. For those with goals of capturing shots of specific wildlife, it pays to know their behaviour patterns. Each animal is different: The best way to predict their movement is to take time watching them. Your Expedition Leaders and Inuit guides have been spending time with Arctic wildlife for years, and know them well. Feel free to ask them for animal, weather and location-specific tips and tricks before you head out on the tundra or to the floe edge.

Arctic Kingdom Birds wildlife photography

Patience is key

Our experienced Inuit guides and Expedition Leaders aim to get you to the best spot at the right time for optimal wildlife viewing. That said, wildlife are unpredictable. Patience is not only a virtue, but imperative to your success when photographing wildlife. You never know when a narwhal will surface, or a polar bear will climb up on a floating piece of ice, so you can get that epic shot of the day. Arctic Kingdom Polar Bear Mother Cubs wildlife photography

Keep it interesting

Unusual conditions or vantage points can produce amazing results. While photographers often look for sunny days, you don’t have to wait for perfect conditions to capture beautiful photography. Overcast and less-than-ideal weather including snow and wind can make for dramatic and interesting shots. You’ll find the long sunsets of Arctic summers can also provide opportunities for spectacular shots you won’t get anywhere else – worth waiting up for!

Arctic Kingdom sunset walrus on ice wildlife photography

Work your angles…

The angle of your shot is another thing to consider. While many people like to shoot at eye-level, it’s a great idea to go a bit lower. You don’t always need to get all the way down on the ground, but what better excuse to get a bit dirty than an incredible photograph? Angling the camera slightly up at subject can produce some of the best, and most interesting, wildlife captures. Arctic Kingdom Walrus on ice wildlife photography

…and framing

While close-up shots tend to make an impact, Arctic Kingdom Expedition Leader David Briggs likes to remind guests to get shots of wildlife in their environment. The Arctic is home to unique wildlife, but its incredible and vast landscapes are equally notable. Make sure to take a mixture of close-up and wide shots to capture all the beauty and wonder of the Arctic. Arctic Kingdom Polar bear mother and cub on iceberg wildlife photography

Practice makes perfect

The more you shoot, the more you increase your chances of getting the perfect shot. The best professional wildlife photographers don’t become experts overnight. They practice taking photos, with a variety of angles, focuses and subjects. The good news is, our Arctic Safaris allow for plenty of time to work on your craft. Following these tips and the guidance of your Expedition Leaders, we are confident you’ll leave with not only a smile and lasting memories, but great photographs to show off for years to come. Here are some of the animals you can have the chance to see and photograph on our Arctic Safaris: Arctic Kingdom Polar bear mother and cubs wildlife photography Polar Bears Opportunities to see them on these trips: -          Polar Bear Mother and Newborn Cubs Photo Safari -          Spring Polar Bears and Icebergs of Baffin Photo Safari -          Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari -          Kings of the Arctic -          Polar Bears and Glaciers of Baffin Island -          Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Safari Arctic Kingdom Narwhal wildlife photography Narwhal Opportunities to see them on these trips: -          Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari -          Great Migrations of the Northwest Passage Arctic Kingdom bowhead whale tail wildlife photography Bowhead Whale Opportunities to see them on these trips: -          Great Migrations of the Northwest Passage -          Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari -          Kings of the Arctic -          Polar Bears and Glaciers of Baffin Island Arctic Kingdom beluga underwater wildlife photography Beluga Opportunities to see them on these trips: -          Great Migrations of the Northwest Passage -          Baffin Island Dive Safari  Arctic Kingdom walrus pod wildlife photography Walrus Opportunities to see them on these trips: -          Kings of the Arctic -          Great Migrations of the Northwest Passage   Get Arctic wildlife photography inspiration on our Instagram! Follow us @ArcticKingdomExpeditions to see photos from our trips, including those captured by our guides and guests.
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