Part III, the last part of the article I have written for a magazine . The Arctic wildlife and nature is fascinating in all aspects. The vastness of the landscape is not to describe. It was an unforgettable experience and one of my best trips I have ever made.
Some photographers joined me and we tried all sorts of long exposure images. Sadly the machines of the boat haven’t been switched off long enough. During the night we had a long drive to the Moffen island to see walruses. Arriving early morning at Moffen Island which is a protected area. After nearly extinction of walruses in Svalbard the Moffen Island played an important role for re-establishing the walrus numbers and still is. It is forbidden between 15 of May and 15 of September to come closer than 500m to this island or even to set a foot on it. We arrived later than the 15 of September, we got the privilege to enter the little island.
Click image to view large!
The guides checked this little island for polar bears. Nones were seen so we could land to get a bit closer to a walrus herd. Landing on this island was a particularly sobering experience. While waiting until all photographers had set foot on land I was looking around, and what I saw made me sad: Continue reading
During breakfast the boat went on its journey through the Arctic sea. Waves? Yes. Big? I don’t know, but we all left our gear on the floor and not on the bed, just in case it fell off the bed! During the journeys between the stops, I spent most of the time on deck; I felt like a little kid, I was desperate not to miss any of the beauty of this amazing place, which unfortunately friends think is empty. On deck I began to talk with several photographers, the majority of whom came from Scandinavian countries and a few from a bit further down south, “middle Europe”. They were having fun and doing some tech talk of course, testing all sorts of images of the flying seagulls following the boat and the landscapes, until the intercom said: polar bear on the island ahead of us. Zodiacs will be loading in 15 min.
Click on image to view large
Everybody hurried down into their cabins to grab their bags and all the bits and pieces they needed, including life vests, which was the first time I had to wear such a strange thing. You got up tangled in this funny vest; it does not look like the ones you see in an airplane, which are easy to handle. Our vests were a bit tricky and we needed a bit practice. So, in the evening, after dinner, me and my cabin mate practiced with lots of laughter, and after 5 min we managed. It may seem trivial, but during the whole trip there was always someone tangled up somehow before boarding the zodiac. Before you entered the zodiac, you had to sign out on a sheet of paper hanging on the exit door, and when you came back you had to sign in again. With 35 people on board this was a very wise move. We sped off in the zodiacs, some to the right, others straight on and another zodiac a bit to the left. Walrus herds greeted us on our way to the island. Continue reading
A magazine has contacted me to write an article about my experiences on the nature, wildlife and landscape photography tour to the Arctic in Svalbard, Norway. This tour was fantastic, all photographers got great images of the animals and nature, what the Arctic has to offer. Below you can read what I have handed over to the magazine.
Arctic journey to Svalbard, far north of Europe, above the Arctic Circle to encounter northern Wildlife in their natural environment and the vastness of its landscape. The Wild Arctic in Svalbard, also called Spitsbergen, is an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. Most people I know asked me where on earth is this? It is in the far north, right between Norway and the North Pole, north of the Arctic Circle around 74 – 81 degrees longitude. Wow, I’ve never been so far north and we went much further to the north with the boat than Svalbard!
Click on the image to see it large!
We encountered Polar Bears in Svalbard eating seaweed, sleeping under the full moon, and sunbathing on a sandy beach. What else? I have learned that Polar bears eat nearly everything when hungry, so it’s better not to meet one on foot as you might get eaten! Usually, the Polar Bears follow their “living food” through the pack ice; however, some just miss the train and get stuck on Svalbard’s islands, and others try to swim to the pack ice. Not all reach and drown on their way, sadly. Since the pack ice declines more and more every year, means the longer the way it is to swim for the Polar Bears to reach their actual ”food” they are used to. How far can a Polar Bear swim to reach its normal food source, the seals following the pack ice easy etc.? I do not know the answer how far a Polar Bear can swim exactly! Scientist recorded 90 – 420 miles with GPS trackers! But the pack ice shrinks every year more, the distance gets bigger and bigger. Can Polar Bears swim 500 or even 1000 miles when needed?
African leopard (Panthera Pardus) African elephant (Loxodonta Africana) together at waterhole, leopard drinking, elephant bathing in water, full body, front view leopard, elephant head and body view and wet, Etosha National Park, Namibia, Africa. (Anette Mossbacher)
Click on the image to see it large!
African wildlife and nature photography brings sometimes quite some surprises on a safari during the day or during the night! Especially african predator photography, not to forget the big mammals, the elephants, both together I have not seen them very often! Actually only 3-4 x, going each other out of their way. This situation showed that action can come by surprise and you want to be ready for your photography in Africa for wildlife.
At a waterhole in Etosha National Park in Namibia, I found a female leopard. Continue reading
Click on the image to see it large!
Polar bear looks tiny in this landscape in the vastness of the wild arctic sea far north. At 83 degrees we have seen this polar bear having a nap on an iceberg. The vastness of the Arctic nature is extraordinary, the light is to dream off. This was such a great experience to be so far north, in the middle of the Arctic sea, surrounded by ice, somewhere in nowhere!
While searching for polar bears in the vastness of the pack ice, we had to drive far north of Svalbard to 82-83 degrees. The pack ice had declined very far in summer 2013. The drive from the northern Svalbard Archipelago took more than 15 hours.
Big iceberg floating in the middle of the Arctic Atlantic ocean close by 82 degrees. North of Svalbard, Norway (Anette Mossbacher)
In September 2013 I went on an Arctic Nature and Wildlife Photography Tour to Svalbard, Spitsbergen, Norway. The journey was to take photographs of the arctic wildlife, nature and landscape. As well the marine life of walruses, seals, whales and many more. We have been fortunate on our journey that we have seen 26 polar bears (Ursus maritimus) less in the pack ice at 83 degrees, for that more on the islands of Svalbard. On our way from Longyearbyen up to the pack ice with our boat, driving along the Svalbard archipelago we also came across many walruses, several seals, many whales which have been accompanied by white beaked dolphins.
Far north, at 82 degrees Continue reading
The year 2013 is slowly winding down. 2014 is knocking on our front door, waiting for new adventures, new journeys and many more photos of nature and wildlife. This year in 2013 I did not travel much, or did I? With all images on my hard drives swirling around like the hands of a clock, sometimes it’s difficult for me to remember. Thinking about it and seeing all folders sitting under my 2013 file, it looks like I did. Oh yes, right. A trip to Spain, France and Austria, not to mention all the trips to Germany! The best journey I took this year was like a dream come true; to Svalbard in the Arctic. Far north. I was lucky enough to get a spot on the tour of great photographers in Europe: Roy Mangersnes, Ole Jorgen Liodden & Frede Lamo.
The dream had come true. Going through my head was that I needed to prepare for a place I’d never been. At 82-83 degrees, a place that was very cold, filled with ice, close to north pole. Lots and lots of ice. Witnessed the birth of ice as well how far the ice retreats in summer time! Something to think about and to react! We were surrounded with ice like I’d never experienced. The expedition for polar bears and other wildlife in the Arctic region and Atlantic was breath taking, not to forget the light, faaantastic. An experience that will stay with me forever.
In this post I have compiled my favorite images, and they have been hard for me to choose. Every image that I took is my favorite and every image has a story behind it. Not to forget they are all like my children on those swirling hard drives. And those hard drives are going all day, every day and only rest when I travel or sleep or I’m walking my dog in the forest.
Starting with Wildlife, in their very own natural habitat.
Polar bear nestled high above in the cliffs of Carl XII island, far north of Svalbard under the full moon. (ANETTE MOSSBACHER)
Good night, sleep tight! Polar bear embedded in the cliffs high above the arctic sea on the Karl XII island. We have been in a few zodiacs taking turns to take pictures of this tight sleeping polar bear. It was not easy to get this one under the hood. Rough sea, zodiac rocking, dawn light, but we managed. f/5.6 1/800sec. ISO 4000 300mm f/2.8 & 2x ext. III on a MK IV
My thoughts, when I was taking this image of a polar bear sleeping tight under the full moon: Continue reading
Click on the image to see large!
African Lion Portrait in Black and White – Fine Art Photography
This is from my last Photography Journey to Namibia in Africa. While looking for animals I came across a herd of Wildebeest passing my car at the right, running, as well other Wildlife following them! Normally wild animals walk in peace, no need to hurry at all, they would eat while moving on. There must be a reason that they run! Indeed the reason showed up within 20 seconds – African Lions, about 17 animals showed up on the left hand side on top of a hill. A few females followed by quite a number of a bit older cubs, at the end two male lions. Continue reading
Polar eating sea weed on the beach of Kvitøya in Svalbard above the arctic circle (Anette Mossbacher)
Journey to Svalbard, to the far north of Europe, above the arctic circle to encounter the northern Wildlife in their natural environment.
Wild Arctic in Svalbard also called Spitsbergen. It is an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. Most people I know asked me where on earth is this? Far north, nearly in the middle between Norway and North Pole, north the Arctic circle, around 74 – 81 degrees longitude. Wow, never been so far north and we went much further to the north with the boat!
Above a Polar Bear in Svalbard eating sea weed. Have learned that the Polar bears eat nearly everything when hungry. So better do not meet one on foot, you might get eaten! Usually the Polar Bears follow their “living food” with the pack ice. Some just miss the train and get stuck on Svalbard’s islands. Some others try to swim to the pack ice. Not all reach it and drown on their way, sadly. Since the pack ice melts more and more every year, means the longer the way it is to swim for the Polar Bears to reach “food”
How far can a Polar Bear swim to reach it’s normal food source, the seals, the pack ice …etc.?
… adventure, because we will venture into Namibia in a small group, visiting a variety of landscape gems that will make any ambitious photographers drool. However, this tour is open to photographers and non-photographers alike. A maximum of 6 participants will join the two Africa-experienced tour leaders, Anette Mossbacher and Christa Niederer, who – together – are a treasure-trove of knowledge where the country and photography are concerned. Accommodation will be in tents, allowing participants to experience nature with all senses as well as hotels and lodges.
Duration: 27 May 2014 – 10 June 2014 ( With all vacancies having filled up for the first tour, we have decided to offer a second tour ) SOLD OUT!