October 20th, 2016 | By MaryBeth McKenzie | Filed in Photography
The raw, untouched beauty of the Canadian Arctic provides incredible photography opportunities in every season. For much of the year, photographers can look forward to dramatic scenery, vast expanses covered in snow and ice, and the chance to capture wildlife shots, including polar bears and Arctic fox on a snowy backdrop.
The Arctic is a destination like no other, and for many, a once in a lifetime experience to capture unique photography. Before heading above the tree line, there are a few things for photographers to keep in mind:
Be prepared for cold weather
While it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Arctic experiences cold weather throughout much of the year. Depending on the season, conditions can get extreme with temperatures dropping below -30°C in March! That said, with the right equipment and clothing, photographing in the Arctic can be comfortable and exhilarating – offering unsurpassed beauty, wildlife and photo opportunities found no where else on the planet.
1. Stay warm in Arctic-worthy clothing
The right clothing is important for any visitors to the Arctic, but for photographers expecting a less-active experience, it’s even more crucial.
We recommend dressing in insulating layers, and ensure you have warm mitts and water-resistant boots, to keep warm and dry. For experiences that have periods of little movement (like waiting for the perfect polar bear shot!), ski jackets and pants designed for sports and high activity just won’t cut it in the changing Arctic climate. Based on years of experience on the land, Arctic Kingdom has developed polar clothing packages available for rent. It is what our Expedition Leaders wear, too!
It’s a good idea to keep a thinner pair of gloves
in your pockets for setting up your gear and changing camera settings. This can be tricky in thick mitts!
2. Protect your equipment
Your cameras shouldn’t have issues functioning in the Arctic, but because conditions can be unpredictable, we suggest bringing snow covers and heavy duty plastic bags to wrap your gear in.
3. Pack extra batteries.
While most lithium camera batteries
can handle the cold, you may notice they have a shorter life span. Don’t forget to pack extra batteries and remember to charge them. It’s a good idea to keep one battery in your camera, a spare keeping warm tucked in an inner pocket, and a third charging in camp.
4. Adjust for snow
One of the challenges of shooting in the Arctic is the amount of white. Often, cameras will underexpose the vast, harsh whiteness of snow and white animals, turning it grey in the photo. There are a few ways to adjust your camera
to avoid this including adjusting the Exposure Value by +1/3 to +1 1/3
, compensating the exposure by slowing the shutter speed, using a gray card, or bracketing.
Falling snow can add drama and interest to photography, but can also draw focus instead of your subject. Remember to manually focus
to keep your subject the star.
5. Be ready to snap wildlife… from a safe distance!
The Arctic is home to unique wildlife. Popular animals to photograph include polar bears and Arctic fox.
Don’t forget to pack a long lens! Wildlife is unpredictable and won’t always pose for a shot. Respecting safety and the Nunavut Wildlife Policy, you may be shooting from a distance. We recommend bringing a telephoto lens (minimum of 300mm), a mid-range zoom (70-200mm,) and many photographers find bringing a full-sized tripod or monopod beneficial.
Anticipate their movement and have patience. Read more of our tips for Arctic wildlife photography here
6. Don't forget the stunning and unique landscapes!
The Arctic boasts some of the most spectacular, vast landscapes. Frozen tundra, majestic icebergs, glaciers and mountains make for dramatic photography with or without wildlife. For capturing the impressive vast landscapes of the Arctic, we recommend packing a wide-angle lens (24mm or less).
When visiting the Arctic there are amazing photography opportunities at every turn. Following these tips and the advice of your guides will help you capture incredible and unique shots to be proud of!
Ready to grab your camera?
Here are some of the ways to capture remarkable photography in the Arctic by season:
Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Photo Safari
An exclusive opportunity to photograph polar bears at a close proximity in October and November. Stay in our rustic and remote Polar Bear Cabins, surrounded by an unobtrusive electric fence, to safely capture close-up polar bear photography from ground level. Polar bears are known to wander right up to the fence! Learn more.
Polar Bear Mother and Newborn Cubs Photo Safari
Photograph polar bear cubs and their mothers as they emerge from their dens for the first time. Located in the world’s largest polar bear denning area in Wapusk National Park, Manitoba, this lodge-based expedition runs in March. Learn more.
Spring Polar Bears and Icebergs of Baffin
Photograph dramatic landscapes, and polar bears and possibly cubs, as they venture on to the sea ice and climb majestic icebergs. This expedition takes you into the heart of the high eastern Arctic, where travellers and photographers seldom go, in March and April. Learn more.
Spring – Floe Edge
Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari
Experience the classic spring floe edge on the northern reaches of Baffin Island when the sea ice begins to melt. Photograph dramatic landscapes and narwhal, polar bears and other Arctic wildlife under the midnight sun in May and June. Learn more.
Great Migrations of the Northwest Passage
In June, photograph narwhal and beluga in the region world-renowned as one of the most prolific wildlife areas in the Arctic at the floe edge of Lancaster Sound. Bordering the Northwest Passage, this is one of the few places where are Arctic marine animals co-mingle. Learn more.
Kings of the Arctic
Explore by boat the spectacular environment of Foxe Basin to photograph polar bears, walrus and whales under the midnight sun in July. Learn more
Polar Bears and Glaciers of Baffin Island
Photograph polar bears swimming amongst icebergs, bowhead whales, and the exceptional beauty of the glacier-capped coasting of Baffin Island. Enjoy long, mild days and extraordinary sunsets on this expedition in August. Learn more.
Want to photograph in the Arctic but not sure which trip is for you?
to get in touch with one of our Travel Advisors – they are happy to help!
Want to create your own photography adventure?
to ask about custom trips.
Get Arctic photography inspiration on our Instagram! Follow us @ArcticKingdomExpeditions to see photos from our trips, including those captured by our guides and guests.
October 6th, 2016 | By MaryBeth McKenzie | Filed in arctic fox
While polar bears
are the most popular animals that travellers want to see and photograph when visiting the Arctic, the Arctic fox is another favourite among guests!
With their playful nature, once encountered, the Arctic fox instantly gains popularity with guests. Arctic fox have such a cheeky personalities that they are also known as the “clowns of the tundra” – as our past guests and Expedition Leaders on Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Photo Safari
What makes this small, Northern animal so remarkable? Here are 10 fun facts about Arctic fox:
1. Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) are extremely well-adapted to the harsh, frigid temperatures of the Arctic.
Their thick fur enables them to maintain a consistent body temperature and provides insulation. Plus, their short legs, short muzzle and rounded ears all reduce the amount of surface area for heat loss
, and their feet are covered in fur.
2. The Arctic fox has the warmest pelt of any animal found in the Arctic, enduring temperatures as low as -70 °C.
Once conditions get too cold, its metabolism increases to provide warmth.
3. The Arctic fox is a member of the canid family of animals.
They are related
to other foxes, wolves and dogs.
4. They are primarily solitary animals living on the Arctic tundra and pack ice.
5. Arctic Fox do not hibernate and their fur changes colours with the seasons.
In the summer the Arctic fox has a brown or great coat with a lighter belly. It then turns into a thick white one in the winter. It is the only canid that changes the colour
of its coat, allowing it to camouflage
with the snow and ice in the winter and rocks and plants in the summer.
6. About the size of a large domestic cat, the Arctic fox is the smallest wild canid found in Canada.
Females tend to be smaller than males, and their bushy tails make up 30-35%
of their total length.
7. Arctic fox are well-known for their hunting style.
They are carnivores and scavengers, and they hunt rodents, birds and even first. In winter, prey can be scarce, prompting Arctic foxes to bring out their cheeky sides. They are known to follow in the footsteps of the Arctic’s premier predator, the polar bear, and feed on leftover scraps
8. Arctic foxes are monogamous animals.
9. Females give birth in the spring.
They have large litters of 5-8 pups! Parents raise the pups together during the summer.
10. They live in burrows, with extensive tunnel systems.
But in a blizzard they are known to tunnel into the snow
to create shelter.
Want to see them this year?
View them in October and November on Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Photo Safari.
You can also see them in March on Polar Bear Mother and Newborn Cubs Photo Safari
Want to see Arctic fox but not sure which trip is for you?
to get in touch with one of our Travel Advisors – they are happy to help!