Lofoten Iceland and Svalbard – Departing for the Arctic Winter Season

The new 2018 year has rolled around all to quickly and very early AM tomorrow I am making my way up north to the Arctic for the winter season. It has been a hot summer here in Melbourne Australia and I am definitely looking forward to some cold weather, snow and ice. It is somewhat surreal to be sitting here in my studio at the moment surrounded by Arctic cold weather clothing whilst the mercury soars outside into the mid thirties celsius.

I am kicking off the season with my second workshop to Lofoten in Norway. I was last in Lofoten in 2016 (Read the 2016 Workshop Trip Report) and have been itching to return to this remarkable part of Norway. The landscapes of Lofoten are really quite something to behold and with a dusting of fresh snow and arctic winter light the entire area is akin to a fairy tail location and subsequently the photographic opportunities can be truly superb.After Lofoten I am travelling the remote Hornstrandir Nature reserve in the north west of Iceland for my annual winter Arctic Fox expedition. This expedition for just five photographers has long been sold out, but I recently announced dates and availability for the 2019 expedition HERE.Arctic Foxes are unfortunately hunted and shot across most of Iceland making them extremely shy and difficult to find (and even more difficult to photograph). In the remote north-west however the Arctic Foxes are protected inside the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve and can be more easily approached and photographed. This photography expedition will last for 7 days ( 6 nights). We will be staying in a small remote cabin that is rustic, but functional and clean.

When I finish in Iceland I will travel to Svalbard for the remainder of the winter season where I will be spending time on a personal snow mobile project before I lead my annual expedition north for fantastic snow and ice covered landscapes. I will be opening bookings for the 2019 expedition within the next week.As is traditional for me, I like to post my packing list before an expedition. I am packing for both landscape and wildlife and as such I am taking quite a bit of equipment with me (what else is new…) I am also packing a Really Right Stuff tripod with Satchler FSB-6 fluid head for both the 400mm F2.8L IS MKII and 600mm F4L IS MKII lenses in my checked luggage (yes! I am taking both lenses!). With all of that in mind I settled on the following as my selection for these two expeditions:

Lightroom F-Stop Roller (Carry on Luggage)

– 2 x Canon EOS 1DX MKII bodies
– 1 x Canon 16-35mm F4L Lens
– 1 x Canon 24-70mm F4L IS Lens
– 1 x Canon 70-200mm F2.8L MKII IS Lens
– 1 x Canon 600mm F4L IS MKII Lens
– 1 x Sigma 15mm Fish Eye Lens
– 1 x Canon 1.4 MKIII Teleconverter
– 1 x Leica Ultra-vid 10×42 HD Binoculars
Gura Gear Chobe (Carry on Luggage)
– 1 x Apple MacBook Pro 15″ Retina
– 1 x Apple laptop charger
– 2 x USB 3 2TB external portable Sandisk SSD Drives
– 1 x  Thunderbolt CFast card reader and CF card Reader
– 1 x Sunglasses and sunglasses case
– 1 x Canon 400mm F2.8L IS MKII Lens (yes, this really does fit in the Chobe with the lens hood reversed)
Etcetera Case #1 (Inside Chobe)
– 1 x Canon 1-Series camera charger
– 2 x Power Adapters for on board ship
– 2 x Canon 1DX spare Batteries
Etcetera Case #2 (Inside North Face Duffle)
– 1 x Arctic Butterfly Sensor Cleaner
– 1 x Filter Wrench
– 1 x Zeiss Cleaning Fluid and Lens Cleaning Tissue
– 1 x Micro Fibre Lens Cloth
– 1 x Rocket Blower with Hepa-Filter
In addition to all of the above, I am also taking a set of pocket wizards for remotely triggering a camera for Arctic Foxes in Iceland. Those of you who follow my packing lists closely will notice I am taking the new 400mm F2.8L IS MKII as well as the 600mm F4L IS MKII. This was a bit of a tough decision for me as its a lot of equipment to schlep around the world. My reasoning is based on having spent some time recently analysing my photographs from both Iceland and Svalbard. For the Arctic Foxes I found I mostly prefer the images I have shot with my 200-400mm F4L Lens (used mostly at 400mm) and in Svalbard I found I needed the extra reach of the 600mm. See you in Lofoten!

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