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Photography in extreme conditions and protecting your gear

September 7th, 2010 | By | Filed in Uncategorized

Arctic Kingdom supplies the accomodations and transportation, but unless you are a pro photographer with access to specialized gear, how to best protect your cameras from the elements and ensure your trip remains well documented?

I highly approve of Scott Bourne’s first tip, posted over at his informative Photofocus site,

Get out there. Weather is the photographer’s friend. Don’t let the cold or snow or ice or whatever stop you. It can add beauty and visual elements to your photography that make the difference between good and great photos..

Scott follows up with practical tips on protecting your lenses, dealing with batteries in variable conditions, and keeping moisture out of your camera.

You don’t want to get moisture or condensation inside your camera or your lens. You really don’t. Also be careful when bringing your camera indoors to a warm house from a cold outside. Put your camera/lenses in plastic bags that you can seal before you bring them in. That way the condensation forms on the bag not the gear.

Professional wildlife photographer Carolyn E. Wrigh offers up some advice on how to dress yourself for the cold,

In the most severe conditions, add face protection with a face mask, a baklava, or a neck gaiter. And never forget the sunscreen. Snow reflecting the sun’s rays will intensify your UV exposure, even on cloudy days.

As always, you can check out our store for a great selection of cold-weather clothing. Now that you’ve taken care of how to keep you and your camera warm and dry, you can focus on perfecting your wildlife photography shooting and processing skills.

The Beyond Megapixels blog also has a few helpful suggestions on the technical side of exposing potentially challenging subjects properly, for example, photographing polar bears with a backdrop of snow or ice.

Mother and cubs sleeping on an iceberg

The personal side of throat singing

September 6th, 2010 | By | Filed in Inuit Culture/Art

Throat singing is widely recognized as an important facet of Inuit cultural arts, represented by artists such as Tanya Tagaq whom recently toured both Canada and the United States.

The Guardian posted this terrific interview with two singers from divergent backgrounds, discussing their own relationships with the practice as well as how it relates to their experiences as modern native women.

Taqralik Partridge shares,

When I was a kid, we used to see throat singing on TV. Although I lived in Nunavik, an Inuit region in northern Quebec, there was nobody in the community who still knew how to throat sing and it was not widely practiced. So, we children used to pretend to throat sing and make weird sounds because there was nobody to teach us how to do it. Then, when I was at university in Montreal, I was lucky enough to have a friend who knew how to do it and I just thought I would give it a try.

For Nina Segalowitz, learning to throat sing was directly associated with reclaiming her heritage, as she was adopted to a family of very different background at very young age.

As much as my adoptive family loved me, I couldn’t see my reflection in the people around me. There was always something missing. Around 1995 or 1996, I started looking for my biological family. I met my biological family after I started throat singing. I felt it was a natural progression of discovering who I was.

Nina says that for her, throat singing is a way to bridge two worlds.

It’s also a way for us to show the contemporary and traditional sides of our lives, that we can do traditional activities and have traditional knowledge and language and yet also be contemporary in our lifestyle, where we live, what we eat and how we see the world.

The Quest to Swim in all 5 Oceans is almost Complete!

August 24th, 2010 | By | Filed in Current Trips, TRIPS

I just returned from a truly amazing trip to Qikiqtarjuaq, NU, a small community located on the east coast of Baffin Island. One of favourite moments was shared with one of our youngest clients, a 12-year old who is on a mission swim in all five of the world’s oceans. At the beginning of the trip, he had already swum in the Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Southern Oceans, no small feat for a person his age. So here we are camped mere feet from the Arctic Ocean at high tide and on our last day, the sun has come out and it is a scorching hot Arctic summer day – at least 18 degrees Celsius – while the water temperature still hovers around 0 degrees. Today is the day to bring the total oceans to four. Check out the video…

Big Think: Linguist To Document Dying Greenlandic Dialect

August 18th, 2010 | By | Filed in Current Events, Inuit Culture/Art

Over on the Big Think blog, Tobin Hack has posted a link to a Public Radio International piece on Stephen Pax Leonard, a Cambridge University professor who will be spending the next year learning and documenting Inuktun, the local dialect of Quaanaaag, Greenland.

But this is about more than just language. The Inughuit language is in danger because their way of life is changing, as climate change endangers the animals they hunt and the environment in which they and those animals live. As Leonard explains,

“It’s a community that’s dependent on the hunting of sea mammals. Because of global warming there are fewer animals to kill and it’s increasingly dangerous to do so using these ancient traditional techniques that they use [dogsled and kayak] and so it looks like now this entire community could be moved further south within 10-15 years. And if that happens, the language, culture, the way of life will all go, will all disappear.”
“If their language dies,” says Leonard, “their heritage and identity will die with it.” Leonard has a head start on the communication front; he’ll be able to get by in his new adopted community by speaking Danish, until he gets the hang of Inukun. But he’ll be rushing toward fluency in his first few months, because all of the good stuff – all of the Inughuit’s most important songs, stories, myths, and spiritual beliefs – live in Inuktun.

via Endangered People: Linguist To Document Dying Greenlandic Dialect | Brave Green World | Big Think.

Newsletter — August 2010

August 16th, 2010 | By | Filed in Uncategorized

In this month’s issue:

introducing our new trip: Arviat Fly-In Polar Bear & Northern Lights Cabins

Move over Churchill! Make room for Arviat. Countless polar bears from the comfort of our Arviat Polar Bear cabins set on the shores of Hudson Bay.

– Thomas

Subscribe to our newsletter for all the latest news on upcoming expeditions, special deals, and reports from the field. It’s easy! Just enter your email address into the subscription box below.

View the Final Cut of Brudder Productions' Short Film, Anirniq

August 6th, 2010 | By | Filed in Filmmakers, Films, Recent Trips

I’m so excited to finally see the finished copy of Brüdder Productions’ short film, Anirniq. Created as part of the Parallel Lines competition, the film had to include the following lines  as its only dialogue:

What is that?

It’s a Unicorn.

Never seen one up close before.

Beautiful.

Get away, get away.

I’m sorry

The guys at Brüdder did an amazing job with this. Having followed their progress, I thought I knew what to expect with this film, but it’s even cooler and more beautiful than I expected.

Anirniq – (Breath) from Brüdder on Vimeo.

Latest Apple Technology on an AK Expedition

August 4th, 2010 | By | Filed in Client Reports, Current Trips, TRIPS

We recently led an adventure trip to Hall Beach in Nunavut to see the walrus and whales during the summer break up. One of our clients brought his recently purchased iPhone 4 and took this stunning photograph of walrus hauled out on the ice pack. Its better than some pictures taken with a real camera!!

If you are interested in this trip (Bowhead Whales, Walrus, & Inuit Culture in the Foxe Basin) for next year, please visit our website: http://arctickingdom.com/trips/walbow01-2/

Abandoned HMS Investigator found in Arctic

July 29th, 2010 | By | Filed in Current Events

Image via the CBC
A ship abandoned over 150 years ago during a search for the lost Franklin expedition has been found in Banks Island’s Mercy Bay. The ship, which reports say to be in surprisingly good condition, was abandoned after it’s crew, who had been trapped in the ice in Mercy Bay for over two years, were rescued by a Royal Navy sledge team. The ship remained trapped in the ice for another two years before sinking to the bay’s silty bottom.

Archeologists have no immediate plans to raise the ship. Sonar and remotely-operated camera equipment will be used to survey the area and inspect the craft.

CBC News – Technology & Science – Abandoned 1854 ship found in Arctic.

The Coolest Handheld Video of a Narwhal You'll See All Day

July 26th, 2010 | By | Filed in ACTIVITIES, Arctic Animals, Client Reports, Recent Trips

The folks over at Brüdder have posted a great video of their encounter with a narwhal on their recent Arctic Kingdom-led expedition to Baffin Island.

It’s a bit shaky (understandable given the cameraman’s cold hands and the fact that the narwhal dove under the kayak!), but I think it really captures something essential about the one-on-whale encounter!

Kayaking with Narwhal from Brüdder on Vimeo.

Antarctic Octopi Discovered

July 24th, 2010 | By | Filed in Uncategorized

Scientists working in Antarctica have discovered four new species of octopus, armed with a cold-resistant venom. Researcher Bryan Fry explains:

We found that venom can work at sub-zero temperatures. It was quite remarkable to find how well octopuses have adapted to Antarctic life,” Fry said.

There was a great diversity of species, ranging from octopuses that were two inches long to giant ones, he said.

“Evolutionary selection pressures slowly changed their venom, which allowed them to spread into colder and colder waters and eventually spread into super-cold waters,” Fry said in a telephone interview on Thursday.

“We want to see what cool and wonderful new venom components we can find out of these venoms that would be useful in drug development,” he said.

“Nature has designed a perfect killing weapon … they have such incredibly accurate activity that there has to be a way to harness that. To tweak it or modify it or just use one little chunk.”

The previously-undiscovered venoms could be a boon to medical science. Snake venom serves as the basis of some hypertension medications, and diabetes medicines have been derived from the saliva of the gila monster.

via: Reuters

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