Pack Your Camera

Capture the Arctic and take the best photos of your life


"The polar regions remain the wildest destinations on earth. I’m addicted to photographing ice – from frozen oceans and broken pack ice, to massive icebergs and calving tidewater glaciers. I can’t get enough. Explorers called it “Polar Fever” and I’ve got it bad. I never get tired of being in the ice and return to the Arctic year after year. And, for me, there are few photographic quests more thrilling than the search for wildlife in the vast icy wilderness of the far north. When the magic happens, the experience may be fleeting, but the images capture moments that will last a lifetime."
Ralph Lee Hopkins, Director of Expedition Photography 

A voyage to the Arctic is a true expedition. The far north of our planet is the Land of the Midnight Sun – where the sun never sets in summer. Here, ports of call are few and far between, making every day a day of exploration. From the jagged peaks of the Svalbard archipelago, the volcanic landscapes and waterfalls of Iceland, the fjords of Greenland, and the vast icy wilderness of Baffin Island and the Canadian Arctic, the element of surprise looms each and every day. And the days are endless...

National Geographic photographer at your service
On the one hand, you’ll find amazing Arctic photography opportunities. On the other, you’ll discover the unique challenges of shooting in polar conditions. Luckily, you’ll have the services of a National Geographic photographer and Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor. Thanks to our Expedition Photography program you’ll have the assistance you need to take the best shots of your life. And you’ll get to participate in unique share and learn opportunities too, including one-to-one critiques, on-board presentations and slideshows, plus laptop gallery events. Whether you think of yourself as a photographer, or just someone with a point-and-shoot, you’ll go home a better, more confident image-maker.

Top 5 Reasons to Photograph in the Arctic

1. Photographers are drawn to summer in the Arctic for the light – Land of the Midnight Sun when the sun either never sets or twilight lasts for hour.

2. A voyage to the Arctic is a true expedition. The element of surprise builds each day, while navigating through the ice, and with the uncertainty of finding polar bears, walrus, and seals.

3. Photographing polar bears out on the pack ice in their natural habitat is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

4. Tundra walks are filled with landscape photo opportunities and arctic wildflowers and, depending on the destination, there's always a chance of encountering arctic fox, reindeer, or muskox.

5. For most photographers ice – in all it’s forms – is the number one reason for joining an expedition to the Arctic.

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What to Pack for the Arctic

  • Bring your camera of choice, from DSLR, Mirrorless system, to compact super zoom
  • Longer zooms (up to 400mm) and long telephoto (500-600mm) lenses are a must zoom for photographing wildlife at distance on the pack ice
  • Wide-angle zoom (16-35, 24-70, etc.) lenses are also important for landscape images and making compositions of arctic animals in their environment
  • Camera backpack with rain cover, and also a rain cover for your camera
  • A monopod will make you more patient working with your longer lenses while waiting for animal sightings and behavior out on deck

*Note: Photography in the Arctic will challenge your ability to work with bright or white conditions and extremes of contrast. Be sure to practice and become familiar with your camera’s exposure compensation feature.

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