Happy New Year everybody! Christmas came early the day I received a postcard from one of the worlds leading, highly decorated and awardwinning nature photographer, Roy Mangersnes, Wildphoto, Norway. Please read, look and enjoy his postcard from Svalbard:
Svalbard is something very special – it is an Arctic jewel. I have been lucky to go there on several occasions, but I always want to go back.
Monaco Glacier in evening light. Nikon D800, 14-24mm, 1/640 sec @ f/11, ISO 160
I’ve been on photographic expeditions in the winter, summer and fall, and they all have something very special to offer. Of course there is the variable wildlife, but most of all it’s the light that pulls me back.
Svalbard is a very special part of Norway. The archipelago is one of the northernmost land-areas in the world. Svalbard is defined as a land area situated between 74 and 81 degrees north, between 10 and 35 degrees east. The archipelago consists of islands of various sizes, the largest of which are Spitzbergen, Nordaustlandet, Edgeøy, Barentsøy and Prins Karls Forland.
Animal species in Svalbard have adapted to the severe conditions of the Arctic. Many of them endure extreme cold, periods of lack of nourishment and long Arctic night. Svalbard has only two species of land mammals: the Arctic Fox and the Svalbard Reindeer. As for the Polar Bear, it spends most of its time on ice floes and is thus considered and ocean mammal. For all three survival is key.
Bearded Seal on ice floe. Nikon D800, 24-70mm, 1/250 sec @ f/5,6, ISO 400
In the high Arctic, there are relatively few bird species compared to places further south. Yet, although species may be few, the number of individuals in some of them can be extremely high. There are three to five million nesting seabirds in Svalbard. At certain locations several hundred thousand birds nest in coastal cliffs. The midnight sun makes these cliffs glow as if they were from a different world. Light, sound and smell makes a few hours near these cliffs a truly unforgettable experience.
The Arctic winter has always been appealing to me, but I am very aware of the struggle involved when working in conditions like these. Working as a photographer in minus 30 degrees Celsius and gale force winds is a surreal experience, but the resulting images are rewarding! It is also an advantage if you are able to enjoy the serenity of the Arctic wilderness.
Mum and her two youngsters. Nikon D4, 500mm, 1/1000 sec @ f/11, ISO 1000
A summer or autumn cruise around the archipelago is something very different. You go as the weather and ice dictates and you really are on a true expedition. Even in summer the Arctic can be devious, and winds can bring ice floes large as countries from the north, making travel difficult. During the last few years however the ice has not stayed long around Spitsbergen at summer. Every year we need to go further north to find the good floes, were the Arctic King lives. Polar Bears still seem to thrive in the northern parts of Svalbard in summer, but as sea temperatures rise (and they doq) life become ever more hard for this stunning creatures. Many travel to the Norwegian Arctic today because they are afraid that Polar Bears might disappear in the near future. Unfortunately they might be right…
Getting close to the Polar Bear. Nikon D4, 24-70mm, 1/1600 sec @ f/7,1, ISO 800
Alongside a friend of mine, Ole Jørgen Liodden, I am running WildPhoto Travel, specializing in photographic travelling around the world. One of our specialities is Svalbard and we have already run several successful expeditions. In 2013 we will run 4 trips to this amazing place, and we still have a few open seats.
Waterfalls from Austfonna Glacier. Nikon D4, 500mm, 1/2000 sec @ f/11, ISO 800
© Text and all photos: Roy Mangersnes, Norway
er profesjonell naturfotograf bosatt i Sandnes i Rogaland. Roy er leder i Norske Naturfotografer, er ambassadør for verdens ledende kameramerke Nikon og regnes blant de mest innflytelsesrike naturfotografene i Norge i dag. Han har rukket å gi ut tre bøker og har å blitt premiert i flere store internasjonale konkurranser, inkludert BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010 og i 2011, samt Årets Europeiske Naturfotograf (GDT) 2010 og 2009 samt Nature Best (USA) i 2012. I 2011 ble Roy mestvinnende fotograf i Nordic Nature Photo Contest med tre kategori seiere i tillegg til to premierte bilder. Roy har hele verden som sitt arbeidsfelt, og bilder blir publisert i tidskrifter og bøker i inn- og utland. Han er i tillegg en habil foredragsholder som har forelest på flere større internasjonale fotofestivaler. Sammen med Ole Jørgen Liodden driver Roy foto-reiseselskapet WildPhoto Travel AS. Selskapet spesialiserer seg på fotoreiser til verdens mest spennende destinasjoner.
For meg handler fotografering om mye mer enn å glede seg selv. At man selv er fornøyd med et bilde er selvsagt viktig, men ofte knytter det seg en opplevelse bak bildene som forsterker det inntrykket fotografen sitter igjen med. Det som skiller et godt bilde fra et mindre godt bilde er om denne opplevelsen blir formildet til en betrakter. I så tilfelle har man tatt et godt bilde og kan klappe seg på skulderen. Et bra bilde må ha et budskap og/eller vekke en reaksjon hos betrakteren. Om man i tillegg har tatt et bilde som blir husket, da har man virkelig tatt et godt bilde. Jeg er veldig opptatt av innhold og budskap i bildene mine og ser på kamera som et svært kraftfullt våpen om det brukes riktig. Et bilde kan si mer enn tusen ord.
Bli med på fotoreise: www.wildphoto.com
Følg bloggen på www.roywildphoto.blogspot.com
Bli fan på Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/WildPhoto/308813734506
WildPhoto is run by Roy Mangersnes (1978), a professional nature photographer living in Sandnes, southwestern Norway. Roy is part of the Nikon Norway team and is considered among the most influential nature photographers in Norway today. He has published three books, as well as won several national and international awards including BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010 and 2011, and also European Wildlife Photographer of the Year (GDT) 2010 and 2009. His latest achievements have been in Nordic Nature Photo Contest were he won three categories and had two awarded images in 2011. Roy is working around the world and his images are being published in magazines and books all over. He is also an experienced presenter and has been displaying his work at several international photo festivals.
Philosophy; “For me nature photography is not all about pleasing my own need to create. Of course being happy with a picture is very important, but very often there is a story behind it that needs to be told. What separates a good image from the rest is when this story is being told to the viewer. If I succeed in telling the story I will be happy. A really good image needs to tell a story, and at best create a response from the receiver. If the image is living through the receiver, and not forgotten, I have really taken a good picture. I am always aware of the message sent through my photography, and consider my camera a very powerful weapon if used correctly. One picture tells more than a thousand words.”