Polar Bears of Svalbard Expedition July 25th – August 4th 2017 Single Place Availability

There is now only a single place available on my Polar Bears of Svalbard expedition this July before the expedition will be sold out (Read the report from last years expedition). The expedition runs from the 25th of July until the 4th of August and is strictly limited to twelve participants – one place remaining only.

The High Arctic is a place to inspire the imagination. Nowhere is it more accessible than the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, located deep within the Arctic Circle. Nowhere else can the Polar Bear be seen more reliably in its natural habitat, and photographing these magnificent animals will be our main objective. We will also search for walrus and the other wildlife of the region. Dramatic glaciers, plunging cliffs and beautiful drift ice formations will be present as well.Our intention is to sail directly north from the small town of Longyearbyen in Svalbard to approximately 80o degrees north, to the very edge of the permanent pack ice. At our northerly most point we will likely be less than 600 miles from the North Pole and depending on the sea ice we may get even closer. We will be using the ice hardened expedition ship M.S Origo that will enable us to skirt the edge of the pack ice searching for and photographing Polar Bears. M.S Origo is widely regarded as the best ship in the Arctic for Polar Bear Photography. With low-lying decks and operable portholes a mere 60cm above the water line we can photograph at eye level with wild Polar Bears. Our expedition ship is also equipped with sufficient zodiacs (2 x Zodiac MKV models) and crew for all photographers to be shooting simultaneously with plenty of room to spare for camera equipment – So bring what you need!Watch the expedition video ‘Kingdom of the Ice Bear’ to get an idea of what this expedition entails.If you are excited by the idea of traveling to the edge of the permanent pack ice to photograph Polar Bears in their natural environment with a small group of dedicated photographers now is the time to secure the very last place. You can download a detailed PDF itinerary HERE.

Canon Australia – No One Sees it Like You Feature

Canon Australia have just published a short feature on their Facebook Page on some of my polar photography. The feature series ‘No One Sees it Like You’ is designed to showcase the work of professional Australian photographers working with Canon equipment around the world.

New Zealand 2017 South Island Masterclass Workshop

It is hard to believe that in just a few days I will be leaving Australia again and making the short hop across the pond to the South Island of New Zealand for my sold out 2017 Masterclass workshop (it really does feel like I just arrived home from winter in the Arctic). Much of what I was hoping to accomplish in terms of post production, printing and office work before I left for New Zealand is  still residing in my inbox; where it will now stay until sometime in June when I return from my Puffin Workshop in Iceland (after I finish in New Zealand I will guide a small private tour through Tasmania before I head straight to Iceland). I have found time to process and print a few of my favourite images from Svalbard this winter, but I have only just begun to scratch the surface.

As is traditional, I like to post a packing post of what equipment I am planning to carry and use during the workshop. For my Masterclass workshop this year I have decided to travel super light (first time for everything!) and only take a very limited selection of equipment. This particular workshop is solely about landscape photography so there is little need for big heavy telephoto lenses or high speed cameras. Truth be told, I am actually really looking forward to travelling with such a  light load for a change (I will have plenty of heavier equipment when I head back to Iceland for the Puffins).

For New Zealand I have decided to take both my tilt and shift lenses (17mm and 24mm) instead of  a wide angle zoom. I have found in recent times I prefer the movements of the tilt/shift lenses to the flexibility of a zoom lens when I am working from tripod. It is a trade off I find acceptable when I am predominately working with landscape on a tripod. Although we have quite a bit of aerial photography from helicopter planned for this workshop experience has shown me that 24-70mm is usually a better focal length than 16-35mm for this sort of work.

My camera bag for this trip is actually a small non-dedicated backpack that I can easily accomodate my equipment in and still have room for filters, a rain jacket and accessories.

Camera Backpack (Carry on Luggage)

– 1 x Canon EOS 5DSR body with two spare batteries and RRS L Bracket
– 1 x Canon 17mm TSE Lens
– 1 x Canon 24mm TSE lens
– 1 x Canon 24-70mm F2.8L IS MKII Lens
– 1 x Canon 70-200mm F2.8L IS MK II Lens
– 1 x Canon 104 Teleconverter MKIII
– 1 x LEE Filter Kit includes: Graduated ND and ND Filters / Holder and Accessories
Gura Gear Chobe (Carry on Luggage)
– 1 x Apple MacBook Pro 15″ Retina
– 1 x Apple laptop charger
– 2 x Sandisk Extreme 2TB SSD Drives
– 1 x  USB CF card reader
– 1 x Sunglasses and sunglasses case
– 1 x iPad Pro 9.7″ Tablet
Tripod (checked Luggage)
– 1 x RRS 3-Series Tripod
– 1 x Arca Swiss D4 Geared Tripod Head

There is one other important piece of documentation I will be taking with me on this expedition and that is an Australian Customs Declaration form. If you are travelling internationally from Australia you can read about the benefit arming yourself with this documentation HERE.

For the astute readers amongst you; you may have picked up that after I finish in the South Island I will be running a private trip to Tasmania. This Tasmania trip will be something I am offering in May 2019 for a small group of just six photographers. The workshop will take in iconic areas such as the Cradle Mountain National Park, Freycinet National Park, The Wild West Coast and much more. I will have more details later this year – but you are welcome to register your interest to be amongst the first to be notified when details are finalised (no obligation at this point). See you in New Zealand!


World Penguin Day Today

Happy World Penguin Day! This year, we can celebrate the news that the Adélie and Emperor penguins from Antarctica’s Ross Sea now live in the world’s largest marine protected area.

The world’s experts on Antarctic marine conservation have agreed to establish a marine protected area (MPA) in Antarctica’s Ross Sea.

This week at the Meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) in Hobart, Australia, all Member countries have agreed to a joint USA/New Zealand proposal to establish a 1.55 million km2area of the Ross Sea with special protection from human activities.

This new MPA, to come into force in December 2017, will limit, or entirely prohibit, certain activities in order to meet specific conservation, habitat protection, ecosystem monitoring and fisheries management objectives. Seventy-two percent of the MPA will be a ‘no-take’ zone, which forbids all fishing, while other sections will permit some harvesting of fish and krill for scientific research.

Melrakki Arctic Fox 2018 Calendars Now Available

After many requests for a calendar for the Melrakki project (recently reviewed on the Luminous Landscape) I am extremely pleased to announce that calendars are now available for order directly from my website at www.jhoko.com for the coming 2018 year. Printed in Australia by the Nulab Group the calendars measure 42xm x 30cm closed and 84cm x 30cm open and are spiral bound. The calendars are printed on the highest quality stock with a gloss laminate using the HP Indego printer process. The front cover includes an Arctic Fox logo cut out reveal and each month includes one photograph from the project as well as select project notes from the Limited Edition book. The Melrakki calendar is now available to order for $80 plus postage and handling.