Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, is one of the most remote locations on Earth. Positioned midway between Norway and the North Pole, the islands of Svalbard are home to only 2,462 residents. It’s remote location, extreme climates, and polar winters and summers have largely kept Svalbard off of the tourist map. However, a small team of photographers from Lofoten Tours in Norway is trying to change that.
After several scouting adventures, the company has created Svalbard Photo Tours, which aims to bring this cold slab of rugged nature to regular photographers. Photographers with a sense of adventure and warm blood, apparently. Even during the summer months, Svalbard rarely tops 42 degrees fahrenheit (6°C ), and in the cold, dark winters, temperatures can get as low as 0 fahrenheit (-17°C ), with the wind chill reaching -22 °F (-30°C). Perhaps making the extreme conditions seem bearable, visitors are treated to the famed Arctic midnight sun during summer, and hours of light shows from the Aurora Borealis during the winter.
Transportation methods through Svalbard depends on the season, as roads are not a word used in these parts. During the winter, snowmobile or dog sleds are the only way to navigate the treacherous terrain, while during the summer months, boats and hiking are the most common.
In the winter months, it is not uncommon for visitors to come face to face with polar bears. The chance is so high, the Norway Tourism Board has even created a PDF on Polar Bear Safety precautions when traveling to Svalbard.
There is no doubt that Svalbard is a remote wilderness that not many will come to see, but for those that do, the experiences, the frozen limbs, the adrenaline, and the photographs will live as a testament that they were able to witness one of Earth’s last untouched frontiers.
To explore Svalbard, contact the team at Svalbard Photo Tours or on their Facebook.
All photographs taken by Tommy Simonsen, Arild Heitmann, and Stian Klo.
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