Travel to the extreme North’s mysterious and captivating islands of Svalbard in the company of celebrated National Geographic photographer Sisse Brimberg. Photograph the majestic polar bears as they meander through the frozen landscape and capture the spectacular glaciers rising from the icy waters.
Sisse Brimberg and Better Moments CEO Christian Nørgaard will help you discover the hidden secrets of Svalbard in a way that few visitors have ever had the chance to experience. Learn about Sisse’s life-long career with National Geographic. She has worked in Svalbard almost every year since 2004 and has been to every island in the snow-clad archipelago. Additionally, benefit from Christian Nørgaard’s extensive knowledge about the place, where he has led numerous expeditions.
PLEASE NOTE: Traveling in the Arctic can often be unpredictable due to wind and weather, so the itinerary may change to suit the local conditions. We may also alter the itinerary to make sure we get the best shots, depending on where the polar bears happen to be at the time.
Teaching and training in the best techniques and personal hints and advice
Composition and focus on lines, golden section, perspective, foreground
Learning about the lenses that optimize your wildlife photography
Svalbard expert Sisse Brimberg has photographed more than 50 stories for National Geographic and National Geographic Traveler magazines. She has spent most of her career working in Asia, Europe, shooting stories from the Arctic and Scandinavia to Italy and France.
Sisse has been awarded prizes by Pictures of the Year International, the National Press Photographers Association, White House Press Photographers Association, and Communication.
SVALBARD BEHIND THE SCENES
Meet your workshop leaders National Geographic photographer Sisse Brimberg and Better Moments founder Christian Nørgaard who will take you on an expedition around the fascinating archipelago of Svalbard, Norway. In the video, you will see some of the stunning locations we will visit during the workshop as well as images taken by our guests.
EXPAND WITH PASSION
You will learn how to approach the unique challenges of wildlife photography at the best place in the world for polar bear and arctic wildlife photography. With private “one to one” workshops and lectures, this expedition will optimize your photographic skills and take them to the next level.
Teaching and training in the best techniques and personal hints and advice.
Composition and focus on lines, golden section, perspective, foreground.
Learning about the lenses that optimize your wildlife photography.
How to handle equipment with care on location.
Private hands-on lessons that can help taking your photography skills to the next level.
Expert review and constructive criticism of shots taken during the day
Private portfolio review
A Better Moments Certified Photo Instructor is available during the entire workshop to offer assistance with camera settings, the basics of composition, guide and help in general
DAY 0: ARRIVE LONGYEARBYEN
Feel free to arrive in Longyearbyen a day before the expedition starts and enjoy your first day together with Sisse Brimberg.
DAY 1: ADVENTURE ON THE SEA
Embark on our expedition ship in the afternoon and sail out through the spectacular Isfjorden.
In the evening, a welcome dinner, and after dinner, National Geographic Photographer Sisse Brimberg will give an introduction to the workshop and brief you on what to expect in the coming days.
DAY 2: FANTASTIC FJORDS AND POLAR BEARS
We sail out through the beautiful fjord between snow-capped mountains, heading towards some of the most remote landscapes in the world.
Throughout the journey, we will attempt to make daily stops on the coast using our Zodiac boats, bringing you as close as possible to wildlife and points of interest.
Our primary mission is to photograph polar bears as they make their way across the drifting ice. Polar bears are quite plentiful in Svalbard and together with our two local guides, we will set the course to where they are most likely to be.
After dinner, National Geographic Photographer Sisse Brimberg will host a lecture about her life and work with National Geographic.
DAY 3-6: FOOTSTEPS OF GREAT ADVENTURERS AND UNIQUE PHOTOGRAPHERS
We are in a part of the world that’s completely dependent on the ice and weather conditions. Our exact itinerary depends on these factors as well as the wildlife we encounter. Our ambition is to make landings or cruises with our Zodiacs every day. Here are some examples of places we may visit:
The scientific village of Ny-Ålesund is situated in Kongsfjorden. It was from here that Amundsen and Nobile started their heroic expeditions to the North Pole. Two other courageous attempts to reach the North Pole started on the island of Danskøya. Swedish explorer Andrée made an attempt with a hydrogen balloon, and American journalist Wellman started with an airship. There are still interesting remnants from these expeditions left on this site.
Svalbard offers visitors countless spectacular fjords. During our journey, we will explore a few of them, such as Liefdefjorden, meaning “The fjord of love”, lined with snow-covered mountain peaks. Here, we hope to cruise along the face of the spectacular Monaco Glacier. Many common eiders and pinkfooted geese nest in the area. In Krossfjorden, we revel in the beautifully sculptured front of the 14th of July Glacier to the raucous greeting of the large number of kittiwakes and Brünnich’s guillemots nesting on the nearby cliffs. Raudfjorden is an area of immense natural beauty, dominated by beautiful glaciers. It is also a favourite spot for seals, and the bird cliffs are bursting with activity.
Hinlopen Strait and Alkefjellet
If the ice allows, we enter Hinlopen Strait. Here is Alkefjellet, an impressive basalt cliff, home to an estimated 200.000 Brünnich’s guillemots. We may also continue into the beautiful bay Palanderbukta on Nordaustlandet.
The island of Nordaustlandet is covered by an enormous ice cap and fascinates naturalists as well as historians. There are huge glacier fronts here, intersected by hundreds of waterfalls. Barentsøya and Edgeøya offer magnificent landscapes and vast tundra. Chances to encounter walrus, Arctic fox and Svalbard reindeer are good here.
The grand fjords of Hornsund offer spectacular glaciers and a breathtaking landscape of towering mountain peaks, often reaching above the clouds. On a clear day, we can see the summit of the highest mountain Hornsundtind, measuring 1431 meters. Hornsund is a favourite haunt for some of Svalbard’s polar bears, and bearded seals are often seen resting on the fjord ice.
Workshops and hands-on workshops during the day and evening by Sisse Brimberg.
In the evenings, Sisse Brimberg will conduct workshops and share some fascinating knowledge about Svalbard, accumulated over the years of photographing landscapes and wildlife for National Geographic.
DAY 6-10: POLAR BEARS AND SVALBARD REINDEER
Cruising down the Hindlopen Strait, we pass spectacular basalt cliffs, home to an estimated 200.000 Brünnich’s guillemots, also known as the thick-billed murre. Making our way along the island of Nordaustlandet, we will witness a magnificent landscape covered with hundreds of waterfalls. An incredible sight to behold!
Here, we have the best chances of encountering some of Svalbard’s most photogenic wildlife, including walruses, the much-admired Svalbard reindeer and the elusive Arctic fox. Hugging the coast using our Zodiac boats, we will have excellent opportunities for landscape photography, and chances are good that we will also encounter polar bears along this stretch.
Sisse Brimberg will offer individual feedback on the photos taken so far, with one-on-ones as well as group sessions.
DAY 11: LONGYEARBYEN
Arriving back in Longyearbyen, we will enjoy a early farewell breakfast before we disembark our ship and begin our journey back home.
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“Better Moments gave me the perfect opportunity to visit a part of the far north that I had not visited. Christian Nørgaard was constantly focusing on the interest of all the photographers in getting the best locations and situations to shoot. This was my second trip with Better Moments and it is a photographer’s paradise, as you are surrounded by like-minded people; sharing a common interest.
One of the highlights was being in a Zodiac while skirting around some beautiful icebergs and glaciers. The colours of the icebergs are incredibly brilliant and rich. During the shoot, local experts, not only kept us safe, but as they are scientists and experts in everything Arctic, they were enthusiastically explaining the life of glaciers and icebergs. A trip that I will never forget!”
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€ XXX Per person in a shared private double cabin with portholes twin beds.
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€ XXX Twin Cabin single use
All cabins have private toilet and bath and windows or portholes.
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INVITE A FRIEND
Got a friend or special someone you’d love to bring?
With our INVITE A FRIEND-initiative, you’ll be able to bring someone with you to our locations without having to enroll them in our workshops and save up to 25% of the total rate, depending on availability!
Svalbard’s only international airport, Longyear Airport in Longyearbyen, is served by SAS with almost daily flights from Oslo and Tromsø in Norway. Flight times are 4 hours from Oslo and less than 2 hours from Tromsø. The airport is located about 5 km (3 miles) from the town of Longyearbye.
Better Moments will arrange one pickup transfer and one return transfer to the airport on the arrival- and the departure day.
Norway is a member of the Schengen Agreement. Nationals of EU and EFTA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland) countries only need a valid national identity card or passport for entry. All other visitors are required to have a passport valid for at least three months beyond the intended stay, and some will need a visa. Please check with the local embassy.
We have chosen August where the light is soft, and Svalbard offers beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Likewise, we are probably the only ship in the area, which is a great advantage for our photography.
Svalbard has an Arctic climate tempered by the warm North Atlantic Current. Due to the convergence of cold air from the north and mild, humid air from the south, weather conditions can change quickly and often, with occasional strong winds and wind chills.
The official language is Norwegian, but almost all Norwegians speak English.
The Norwegian monetary unit is the Krone (NOK)
The Svalbard Museum in Longyearbyen is an impressive, recently inaugurated exhibition space. Themes include the life on the edge formerly led by whalers, trappers, seal and walrus hunters and, more recently, miners.
At the gallery in Longyearbyen, you can see the Svalbard collection of old maps and books, a slide show from the photographer and composer Thomas Widerberg, and an exhibition of Kåre Tveter’s paintings. From time to time there are also sales exhibitions.
The Longyearbyen Church is open for visitors every day and there is a service nearly every Sunday. Every Tuesday evening, the church sells coffee and Norwegian waffles. Here, you get to know Longyearbyen and the people better.
The cable trestles are cultural monuments over the manual driven coal mining in Longyearbyen. At that time, the coal was transported in “kibs” (carriers) on the cable way to the cleaning plant.
The Svalbard Islands are home to seven Norwegian national parks: Forlandet, Indre Wijdefjorden, Nordenskiöld Land, Nordre Isfjorden, Nordvest-Spitsbergen, Sassen-Bünsow Land, and Sør-Spitsbergen.
Little known but amazing natural attractions of Svalbard are the diverse springs. Fløtspingo and other Reindalen pingos are the highest pingos in Svalbard, and some of the highest open system pingos of the world, up to 42 m high. Hot and thermal springs, for example Jotun Springs, Troll Springs and Tempelfjorden thermal submerged spring.
One day trip by boat to the Esmark glacier and Oscar II Land and the Russian mining settlement looms on the side of the mountain above Grønfjorden. During the cruise, the guide will provide useful information about Svalbard.
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