Workshops by Focus: Polar

Expedition August 6 - 23, 2021
12 spaces | $* Register

If there is one place on Earth that represents the high Arctic in microcosm, it’s the Svalbard Archipelago. Wildlife is abundant here, featuring a large population of polar bears, as well as arctic foxes, walrus colonies, reindeer, blue whales, dolphins, seals, and numerous bird species. The landscape is characterized by rugged snow-capped mountain ranges, stunning fjords, vast glaciers, and icebergs, and towering cliffs that host busy seabird colonies. The beautiful serenity of the Arctic pack ice begins at the Archipelago’s northern end, where polar bears roam the ocean in search of seals. In the ice with the sun arcing low along the horizon, it becomes abundantly clear that you are truly on top of the world.

Designed for photographers by photographers, this extra-long itinerary provides quality time to photograph unrushed in the best locations, while most other Svalbard trips follow week-long tick-list itineraries with much less time in the prime spots. We will take you to the places we have fallen in love with on several prior voyages, making the most of this great spectacle of Arctic wildlife, ice, landscape, and light. Over the course of numerous expeditions and workshops together over the last 16 years, leaders Frans Lanting, Christine Eckstrom, and Justin Black have established a superb collaborative chemistry and will provide generous and effective expert photographic instruction to the small group of just twelve guests throughout the voyage.

Our private-charter expedition vessel, S/V Noorderlicht, is an ice-strengthened Svalbard specialist. She makes a superb platform for photography, with her spacious main deck low over the water, creating excellent vantage points, particularly if we are approached by polar bears on the ice, or walruses in the water. She also happens to be, in our opinion, the most visually striking vessel operating in Svalbard, making her a great model to incorporate into landscape scenes for scale and color accent (Noorderlicht is the red vessel in background of at least one of the trip gallery images). Well-suited to expedition cruising among small islands, she can get into locations that larger ships cannot access. Her two Zodiacs facilitate landings and wildlife photography opportunities in otherwise inaccessible areas.

As masters of the vessel, your leaders will coordinate with the highly qualified captain and crew to do everything possible to maximize photographic opportunities and to ensure the best possible journey. We will enjoy extra elbow room onboard Noorderlicht, in the Zodiacs, and ashore as our group will be limited to 12 guests plus the three leaders though the ship has accommodation for up to 20 passengers. Our small group and this vessel maximize our enjoyment and appreciation of the high Arctic’s immense serenity and vastness, a far more pleasant experience compared to waiting in line to go ashore or visit the buffet on a vessel with over one hundred other passengers.  Noorderlicht’s cabins are small, but they all have comfortable upper and lower berths, a cupboard, a washbasin with hot and cold water, and excellent ventilation. Shared showers (4) and toilet facilities (5) are conveniently located near cabins. Meals aboard Noorderlicht are served family-style, with fresh ingredients and healthy options available (catering well for vegetarians). We are assembling an excellent wine list for the trip as well!

Our itinerary begins in Oslo, Norway, with pick-up at the airport and transfer to The Thief, a modern, waterfront Scandinavian boutique hotel that is one of Oslo’s very best. In the afternoon, we will hold an introductory reception and orientation meeting, followed by dinner at one of Oslo’s fine restaurants. The next morning, we fly as a group to the small harbor of Longyearbyen on the island of Spitsbergen, where our ship awaits us. That afternoon, we embark and set off for our adventure together!

We hope you will join us for this intimate 15-night private-charter expedition (within a 17-night all-inclusive itinerary) aboard the two-masted schooner S/V Noorderlicht, photographing the wildlife, landscape, and pack ice of this gem of the High Arctic.

Svalbard
Map via Google
Expedition January 2 - 18, 2020
6 spaces | $* Register

A Fly-In – Fly-Out, Antarctic Photography Expedition Aboard S/V Ocean Tramp

We are pleased to offer this intimate private-charter photographic expedition, including round trip flights across the Drake Passage, 13-nights aboard S/V Ocean Tramp, and instruction and guiding throughout by award-winning photographer and polar specialist Daisy Gilardini.

Ocean Tramp is a 20-meter motor-sail yacht (specifically, a ketch) which is operated by personal friends of Visionary Wild founder Justin Black, whose company Quixote Expeditions specializes in small-vessel Antarctic adventures. In an era when Antarctic expedition vessels are getting larger and larger, Ocean Tramp offers a wonderful way to go with a very small group of just six guests, on a comfortable vessel that can get into locations that bigger ships can’t reach.

Spend almost two weeks on location at Antarctica, rather than wasting precious days “rockin’ and rollin'” on the Drake Passage crossing. As master of the boat, Daisy will work with Captain David Roberts (U.K.) to choose the best route to maximize the photographic opportunities at destinations along the way, responding to local conditions of weather and ice. Captain Roberts and Ocean Tramp’s experienced first mate and cook have an excellent track record of delivering exceptional Antarctic experiences for their guests.

Ocean Tramp normally sleeps eight guests in four cabins, but we are limiting the group size to six to eliminate crowding onboard, in the Zodiac, and at landing sites. The boat’s Shackleton Suite features an en-suite private bathroom, while the other three cabins share two bathrooms.

If you have any questions at all, please let us know. We hope you will join us on this Antarctic adventure!

VIDEO OF S/V OCEAN TRAMP IN ANTARCTICA
https://youtu.be/jAPXU7DH1ik

VIDEO TOUR OF INTERIOR OF S/V OCEAN TRAMP, by our friend Laura Smith of Quixote-Expeditions: https://youtu.be/YNpsYLosl3M

Antarctica by Yacht
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Expedition January 16 - 30, 2019
6 spaces | $* Register

A Fly-In – Fly-Out, Antarctic Photography Expedition Aboard S/V Ocean Tramp

Note: As this opportunity has developed on very short notice, and availability of berths is limited, this expedition may be booked directly through our office only. Please either call us at +1-202-558-9596 or email Director of Operations Jennifer Woolley at jennifer@visionarywild.com to book this trip or be added to the waiting list. Online bookings for this expedition are not enabled at this time.

We are pleased to offer this intimate private-charter photographic expedition, including round trip flights across the Drake Passage, 12-nights aboard S/V Ocean Tramp, and instruction and guiding throughout by National  Geographic photographer Michael Melford.

Ocean Tramp is a 20-meter motor-sail yacht (specifically, a ketch) which is operated by personal friends of Visionary Wild founder Justin Black, whose company Quixote-Expeditions specializes in small-vessel Antarctic adventures. In an era when Antarctic expedition vessels are getting larger and larger, Ocean Tramp offers a wonderful way to go with a very small group of just six guests, on a comfortable vessel that can get into locations that bigger ships can’t reach.

Spend almost two weeks on location at Antarctica, rather than wasting precious days “rockin’ and rollin'” on the Drake Passage crossing. As master of the boat, Michael Melford will work with Captain David Roberts (U.K.) to choose the best route to maximize the photographic opportunities at destinations along the way, responding to local conditions of weather and ice. Captain Roberts and Ocean Tramp’s experienced first mate and cook have an excellent track record of delivering exceptional Antarctic experiences for their guests.

Ocean Tramp normally sleeps eight guests in four cabins, but we are limiting the group size to six to eliminate crowding onboard, in the Zodiac, and at landing sites. The boat’s Shackleton Suite features an en-suite private bathroom, while the other three cabins share two bathrooms.

Travel insurance and medical evacuation insurance are required for this trip.

If you have any questions at all, please let us know. We hope you will join us on this Antarctic adventure!

Contact info@visionarywild.com or +1-202-558-9596 to register or for more information.

VIDEO OF S/V OCEAN TRAMP IN ANTARCTICA
https://youtu.be/jAPXU7DH1ik

VIDEO TOUR OF INTERIOR OF S/V OCEAN TRAMP, by our friend Laura Smith of Quixote-Expeditions: https://youtu.be/YNpsYLosl3M

Antarctica by Yacht II
Map via Google
Expedition January 3 - 18, 2019
6 spaces | $* Register

A Fly-In – Fly-Out, Antarctic Photography Expedition Aboard S/V Ocean Tramp

We are pleased to offer this intimate private-charter photographic expedition, including round trip flights across the Drake Passage, 13-nights aboard S/V Ocean Tramp, and instruction and guiding throughout by award-winning photographer and polar specialist Daisy Gilardini.

Ocean Tramp is a 20-meter motor-sail yacht (specifically, a ketch) which is operated by personal friends of Visionary Wild founder Justin Black, whose company Quixote-Expeditions specializes in small-vessel Antarctic adventures. In an era when Antarctic expedition vessels are getting larger and larger, Ocean Tramp offers a wonderful way to go with a very small group of just six guests, on a comfortable vessel that can get into locations that bigger ships can’t reach.

Spend almost two weeks on location at Antarctica, rather than wasting precious days “rockin’ and rollin'” on the Drake Passage crossing. As master of the boat, Daisy will work with Captain David Roberts (U.K.) to choose the best route to maximize the photographic opportunities at destinations along the way, responding to local conditions of weather and ice. Captain Roberts and Ocean Tramp’s experienced first mate and cook have an excellent track record of delivering exceptional Antarctic experiences for their guests.

Ocean Tramp normally sleeps eight guests in four cabins, but we are limiting the group size to six to eliminate crowding onboard, in the Zodiac, and at landing sites. The boat’s Shackleton Suite features an en-suite private bathroom, while the other three cabins share two bathrooms.

If you have any questions at all, please let us know. We hope you will join us on this Antarctic adventure!

Contact info@visionarywild.com or +1-202-558-9596 to register or for more information.

VIDEO OF S/V OCEAN TRAMP IN ANTARCTICA
https://youtu.be/jAPXU7DH1ik

VIDEO TOUR OF INTERIOR OF S/V OCEAN TRAMP, by our friend Laura Smith of Quixote-Expeditions: https://youtu.be/YNpsYLosl3M

Antarctica by Yacht
Map via Google
Expedition August 28 - September 6, 2018
19 spaces | $* Register

 

Join us for this all-inclusive expedition to the crown jewel of the High Arctic!

Note: Traveling alone? Feel free to book at the lower double-occupancy rates, so long as you are content to be paired with another guest of the same sex.

Designed for photographers by photographers, this expedition to the Svalbard archipelago will take you to the places we love, to make the most of the great spectacle of Arctic light, ice, landscape, and wildlife. Led by a dream team – Michael Melford, Daisy Gilardini, and Justin Black – generous expert photographic instruction will feature prominently throughout the voyage. Here are some highlights:

  • An excellent photography experience aboard the ideal expedition vessel
  • World-class photo instructor team, and an excellent participant-to-instructor ratio (group size limit of 19 guests)
  • The natural beauty of Svalbard itself, a superb destination for both landscape and wildlife photography, timed to coincide with seemingly endless sunsets, first snows of autumn on the mountains, and excellent wildlife opportunities.
  • All-inclusive from airport pickup in Oslo, Norway, featuring a high standard of accommodations and dining, and including R/T flights from Oslo to Svalbard, and all ground transfers.

Our expedition vessel, M/V Plancius, optimizes the photographic potential and overall quality of experience on this trip. She is a very comfortable and capable 296-foot ice-rated expedition ship with accommodation in comfortable en suite cabins and staterooms. We have chosen to do this voyage on this ship because she offers the capabilities, amenities, comfort, dining, and photographic support that will enable us to deliver a thoroughly enjoyable and creatively productive experience, both aboard and on shore. If you wish to travel with a world-class team of photographic instructors to the best locations, and you appreciate the advantages of an adventure designed specifically to optimize both the photography and overall experience, this is an exceptional opportunity.

Our expedition begins in Oslo, Norway, with an introductory reception dinner at one of the capital’s finest restaurants. After a restful night at The Thief – a modern Scandinavian boutique hotel that is one of Oslo’s very best – we fly as a group to the small harbor of Longyearbyen on the island of Spitsbergen, where our ship awaits us. We set sail that afternoon through the sheltered waters of Adventfjord on our way to the west coast where we will work our way northward with views of the stunning mountain landscape.

The wild landscape of Svalbard and the pack ice are characterized by a mesmerizing serenity… I felt like I was floating through a dream. –Justin Black

The High Arctic is one of Earth’s most serene, sublime, and evocative places, and in our opinion the mountainous, glacier-covered islands of the Svalbard archipelago are the crown jewels, in part because a visitor here experiences the best features of the Arctic in microcosm. We have deliberately timed this expedition for Arctic autumn – late August and early September – to take advantage of special seasonal phenomena. The quality of light at this time of year is beautiful. The sun sets for several hours at this time of year, but gorgeous post-sunset light lingers all night long. Also, by this time the mountains typically have had their first fresh snow for the season, making the landscape look its best. Polar bears are to be found on both the islands and the pack ice, and Arctic fox patrol the shorelines. Blue whales – the largest animal that has ever lived on Earth – ply the coastal waters. Large walrus colonies can be photographed both ashore and at sea, and seals – bearded, ringed, harp, and harbor – are commonly sighted. Migratory birds linger on for a while, including Ivory Gulls, Kittywakes, Fulmars, Eider ducks, and more, while native Rock Ptarmigans transition to their winter plumage. Temperatures are still relatively comfortable by Arctic standards, but the summer’s mosquitoes will have been killed off by the frost. Weather and seas tend to be calm, and free of fog that can limit visibility in summer.

We have conceived this Svalbard expedition with considerable advantages for the passionate photographer. The first-rate photo leader team comprises three outstanding professionals, all known as generous and engaging teachers, who have a superb collaborative chemistry. Their photographic specialties cover a cross-section of the opportunities we will be presented with during the expedition: wildlife, landscape, natural abstract, travel, fine art, and conservation.

M/V Plancius: Our ice-rated expedition vessel provides an excellent platform for this voyage, in part due to her strength, maneuverability, and ability to navigate the ice pack and waters that can be impassable to larger ships. Those who appreciate small-group travel will enjoy our group’s participant limit of nineteen guests, with our own private Zodiacs for landings and cruises to approach wildlife and explore the ice.  The ship typically carries a complement of around 108 passengers, supported by a fleet of ten zodiacs, a highly experienced expedition staff of eight, and a top-notch crew who welcome guests on the ship’s spacious bridge. With our relatively small group, everyone will have excellent access to our photo leaders and expedition staff, landing operations will be efficient, and we’ll be able to get to know one another well. Plancius offers an impressive range of vantage points for photography, from close to waterline to up high, and her three diesel-electric engines are surprisingly quiet and produce little vibration.

Dining aboard Plancius is of a high standard, with menus prepared by an accomplished German chef, sous chefs, and baker, with ample fresh ingredients and healthy options available. We are assembling an excellent wine list for the trip as well! She’s just a great ship.

Svalbard
Map via Google