November 12th, 2014 | By Prisca Campbell | Filed in Featured Trip, Northern Lights - Aurora Borealis, Photographers
Jason Hillier, lover of Northern Lights, kept a journal while sailing for 17 days aboard our charter vessel M V Cap Race.
Northern Lights through rigging
Northern Lights at sea
From Makkovik, recharged we sailed through the Strait of Belle Isle. Labrador was on our starboard and the island of Newfoundland was on the port side. I was tantalizing close to home, but not close enough. Throughout the voyage, the Northern Lights could be seen dancing in the sky.
One strong advantage to chartering a vessel to sail exactly when and where you want is creating outstanding photo opportunities. I will return home with an amazing collection of pictures of Northern Lights over the Atlantic Ocean.
From the Strait of Belle Isle we sailed for two days, observing dolphins, whales and countless seabirds, including the colourful puffin. We arrived in the French port of Ste. Pierre the morning of September 17. Yes, you read that right, France. Off the south coast of Newfoundland, Ste. Pierre and Miquelon are two islands owned by France. Visiting this little bit of Europe in North America was a unique way to end a spectaculair sail tthrough the Arctic and along the east coast of Canada.
July 19th, 2011 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in AK NEWS, Photographers, TRIPS
Don't miss this terrific article on Arctic Kingdom from today's National Post
"Did you get it?" Michelle Valberg yells. "Oh my gosh, he's right there!"
Ms. Valberg is calling from a satellite phone on Arctic Bay, an Inuit hamlet on Baffin Island in Nunavut, and the professional photographer has just spotted a Narwhal whale.
"Narwhals are swimming in a calm pool with an iceberg beside us, there's nothing for miles and miles and we have mountains behind us," she says, adding she just uploaded a photo of a polar bear she spotted to Facebook.
Ms. Valberg - who is from Ottawa and is working on a book on the North - along with a handful of other photographers - are part of an expedition organized by Arctic Kingdom Polar Expeditions Inc. The Toronto-based company facilitates logistics for everything from tourist trips to 50-person film crews, all in the North: from James Bay to the North Pole and from Alaska to Svalbard in Arctic Norway.
The trips are a decided step above winter camping though, with generators and cook tents, cots to sleep on and even Internet access.
"We specialize in making the places where people need to be accessible," says Graham Dickson, chief "expedition" officer, who founded the company in 1999.
Michelle Valberg, interviewed for this piece has posted the photos mentioned to our Facebook page.
A few other papers have picked up this story as well, check it out on the Montreal Gazette
, and the Vancouver Sun
June 20th, 2011 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in AK PRODUCTS & SERVICES, Arctic Animals, Photographers
Our team is currently at the floe edge in Arctic Bay through the rest of this month, and have been posting incredible images of the Beluga and Narwhal they're observing! Follow us on Facebook
for even more photos and updates direct from the source.
Travelling over the sea ice from the floe edge to the AK base camp 10km back from the edge
Previously - Thomas Lennartz writes on the allure of the Arctic and why he keeps going back.
April 6th, 2011 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in Photographers, TRIPS
Photographer Todd Mintz's Photo Story
The current issue of Scuba Diving Magazine
features a story by Todd Mintz
, detailing his experience ice diving with Arctic Kingdom near Lancaster Sound and giving some useful advice for other photographers looking to capture equally inspiring images. Todd's been kind enough to let us interview him
about his knowledge of arctic photography before, and we're thrilled to see how well his photo essay turned out. You can read our interview with him here
, and view the Scuba Diving Magazine story on his website
as well as peruse a number of his incredible photos
from all over the world.
For our current list of our scheduled Ice Diving excursions, check out our Trips page.
February 9th, 2011 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in AK NEWS, AK PRODUCTS & SERVICES, Filmmakers, Photographers
Recently shared on our facebook albums
, a whole series of great photos from a recent exploratory trip with National Geographic Television to James Bay in northern Ontario.
Aurora over basecamp. Photo credit - Andrew Casagrande, National Geographic Filmmaker.
A turbo beaver waiting on the windswept sea ice of James Bay as we head off by snowmobile and snowshoe to follow polar bear tracks spotted from the air.
Ernest, our Cree guide, naturalist interpreter and animal tracker.
December 19th, 2010 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in Client Reports, Current Events, IN THE NEWS, Photographers, TRIPS
We're thrilled to congratulate photographer Todd Mintz, whose photograph 'Iceberg Texture'
was recently awarded in the 2010 Los Angeles International Underwater Photography Competition
. This is just Todd's most most recent recognition, his photographs have been awarded in many international competitions - including being selected Best of Show in the Nature's Best/Smithsonian Ocean Views Competition
and Best of Show honors in the Scuba Diving Magazine
, and twice in the SEA-NCUPS International Competition
. His work has been shown in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, and graced the covers of magazines including Nature's Best
, Sport Diver
, and Scuba Diving
. Todd shot this image on a trip with Arctic Kingdom, and was kind enough to give us a few words about his experience and background in photography.
Todd, thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Can you tell us a bit about your background in photography and diving?
I was first certified in 1994 and received my Padi Divemaster Professional Certification in 1997 and began assisting at my local shop in the silt bottom lakes of Saskatchewan. During the winters we would cut through the 2 to 3 feet of ice to dive at our favorite local training lake.
My earliest recollection of using a camera was as a young child at my grandfather's home. Playing with an old camera and peering through the glass underneath the flip top cover on the top of the camera. It was not until many years later in 1996 on an diving trip to Bonaire in the Netherlands Antilles that I realized that I had a passion for photography. I had borrowed a Sea and Sea Motormarine II camera from my local dive shop for this trip.
I have always been drawn to the ocean and the unique wildlife that reside within it. As a child I remember watching the great Jacques Cousteau travel the oceans of the world and I was always fascinated in his adventures.
My favorite dive destination depends on the subject matter I am interested in photographing. British Columbia, Canada is probably my overall favorite location because to the diversity of subjects it offers with an abundance of colour. I have traveled to the Bahamas about a dozen times to photograph many species of sharks which are one of my most favorite subjects. Bonaire, Netherland Antillies because of the diving freedom offered by the shore diving. Raja Ampat is also a special location for me as one of my most accomplished images was taken in the mangroves of Raja Ampat.
Specific to the image which was just awarded - what was the process of that dive and shoot like? Any insider tips you have for other people interested in underwater photography to improve their work?
The iceberg dive with Arctic Kingdom was one of my most memorable and favorite dives. Slipping through a crack in the ice that our lead Guide Thomas Lennartz has scouted. It was under two icebergs that had been locked in the floe edge ice. I had come to the Arctic to focus on capturing images of Narwhal but after receiving reports from members of our expedition group how fantastic the dive was I knew I had to break away from my search for the Narwhal to dive this site.
Keys to capturing this image were trying to balance the High dynamic range of the setting. The bright highlights of the crack and surface combined with the inky black of the ocean below us stretched the range of the cameras abilities. I worked the ISO until I was able to find a balance I felt happy with. Even as I reached the end of my dive I tried to ignore my regulators freezing up to capture a few last images as I was truly captivated by the textures of the iceberg below the surface.
How many times have you traveled with AK, and can you let us know a few of your favorite elements of working with us? Is there anything in particular we offer that is a draw for you to travel with us?
This was my first expedition with Arctic Kingdom. I had researched some of the companies that offered travel to the Arctic but I knew I needed to dive. I had received a photography assignment from a scuba diving magazine to work on a feature story for them. (the story comes out in the March/April 2011 issue). Having my ice diving certification I also knew I was well prepared for the freezing Arctic waters. Arctic Kingdom was the only Expedition company that I saw offered me the opportunity to dive and, dive with the Narwhal. Arctic Kingdom provided great accommodations that made the experience very comfortable. Remember you are camped on the floe edge ice. I think this comfort helps you rejuvenate your energy to tackle the cold water each day. And the great food did not hurt either.
Thanks Todd! We look forward to seeing more examples of your skillful work in the future.
'Iceberg Texture', by Todd Mintz
To find Todd online, check out his website
, or contact him by email at [email protected]
to license his images.
November 12th, 2010 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in ACTIVITIES, Photographers, TRIPS
Polar Bears are curious, inquisitive creatures, as you can see in this video - one is taking notice of a group of Arctic Kingdom observers.
We've discussed cold weather photography before
, I thought it'd be interesting to do a survey of tips from some top wildlife photographers about photographing Polar Bears. Clearly this advice is applicable to the other arctic animals you may encounter on a trip
From Wildlife Photography Tips.com
When photographing the bears you will usually be photographing a white bear in the snow. This means that your camera will tend to underexpose, resulting in a gray bear. You will need to compensate for this by overexposing by 1 to 1 1/3 stops depending on the whiteness of the bear (some are a light cream)
Note - the issue of 'buggy tracks' discussed in this article won't apply when you travel with Arctic Kingdom!
Wildlife photographer Greg Harvey has a list of eleven very useful tips
on his website
Bring the longest lens and the most high end camera that you can afford..... you will need a long lens and a camera that can withstand cold up to -50. I was using a 600mm with a 1.4 teleconverter and a full frame camera body. We were out on the tundra 100 meters away from the bears. At that distance several people were using 800 mm lenses.
If some of this technical jargon leaves you shaking your head in frustration, don't abandon hope! There are a number of very helpful tutorials online which discuss how to get the best photos of your camera, using manual settings
, describing how aperture (f stop)
on lenses works, and of course, never underestimate the importance of actually reading your camera's 'how to use' manual.
Good luck! We're always happy to share photography from our adventurers on here, contact us if you've been on a trip and want to share your favorite images.
A few more photography links well worth investigating -
Digital Photography School
- A terrific site covering gear, technology, with plenty of advice for improving your photography.
- Another great round up of advice for beginners in digital photography.
October 8th, 2010 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in Photographers, TRIPS
While researching articles for this blog, I frequently come across stunning images which I'd love to share, but have no direct link to an applicable story. With that in mind, consider this an 'Inspiration Friday', sit back and take in the splendor and beauty of the arctic area. And if you are considering contacting us for more information on one of our upcoming trips
, we have some great options for every
adventure level. As beautiful as these photographs are, imagine seeing all of this in person.
Photo attributed to Patrick Kelley, U.S. Coast Guard via U.S. Geological Survey
Photo by Nick Russill
Photo Attributed to Patrick Kelley, U.S. Coast Guard via U.S. Geological Survey
Photo attributed to Patrick Kelley, U.S. Coast Guard via U.S. Geological Survey
March 24th, 2010 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in INUIT, Photographers
For over ten years now, we've been running expeditions to the Arctic, returning year after year and multiple times a year as we scout new locations and return with photographers, filmmakers, scientists and adventurers. One of the things that we value most highly is the relationships we've built over the years, both with the people we bring to the Arctic and the Inuit guides who help make our expeditions possible and welcome us into their communities.
This week on Flickr, we've uploaded some photos of the people who help make our expeditions possible, from the West Coast of Canada to Greenland's snow fields. Visit our the gallery
for more images!
March 9th, 2010 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in Gear, Photographers, Sports
Visit our Flickr
page for more images, including our full array of airboat