A photographer in the Arctic should be ready for some specifics with which he does not meet in the moderate zone, but he has to count on them in the north. I have tried at least some of them to mention in this article.
Midnight Sun is a term with which you do not meet in a temperate or tropical zone. The light is continuously twenty-four hours a day, almost the same intensity. There is no known golden hour here for the day. It is not clearly recognizable either in the morning or in the evening. You can take pictures in similar conditions at midday and midnight. The only factor influencing the lighting conditions is the weather. However, the cloudiness, from which the sun rises from time to time, can even create magical light conditions. The photographer must be constantly on guard.
Arctic like april
The light conditions, changing often after minutes from a sunny sky through a heavy raindrop to snowfall, force us to work more intensely and more effectively with presetting the aperture, time and ISO values according to the scene we are trying to capture. Though it seems to be a smile, the shot is greatly influenced by the ubiquitous, powerful impact breeze which, with larger lenses, can fade many shots when taking pictures, especially when shooting against the wind.
Technology and equipment
Everything depends on the photographer’s possibilities. I would like to emphasize that when visiting bird colonies (eg the Ekkeroy peninsula or the island of Hornoya) there is no need for extremely long “lenses”. Photographic objects, guillemots, gulls, puffins and cormorants are literally at your fingertips. Beautiful pictures can be taken with a 200mm lens, even a “baselens”. We should not forget to provide the camera and the lens with moisture, whether it be moisture from the sea (the filter on the lens will often need to be cleaned) or a lot of precipitation (lens coat not only water drops, but also bird droppings).
Tactics and strategy
When visiting the Norwegian North, we initially suffered photographic frustrations. The reason was a completely misleading and hitherto widely reported misinformation that Arctic birds are not afraid of humans. Maybe that was the case once. Today, when in almost every household in Finmark we find at least one firearm, in the best case a hunting weapon, it is naive to think. The hunting restrictions here apply only to a few bird species, so Norwegian hunters just burn after all.
It should be remembered that the acquisition of the right image in different Arctic environments requires different approaches. On the seashore, the best tactic is to lie down on a massive bed of seaweed floating on the beach and wait. Waders, such as the Dunlins, Ringed plovers, Redshanks, Red necked phalarope, but also different types of ducks or gulls come or come sooner or later on their own.
The most intense photographic work is photographed in bird colonies such as the Ekkeroy Peninsula or Hornoya Island. The enormous concentration of birds offers countless action situations for recording in the photo as created. Common gulls, nesting nests, mating, feeding youngs, predation of predators or large gulls and Ravens. You have to be lucky and be in the right time in the right place. Conversely, it is possible to wait for the situations and activities that individual birds repeat in the flock. Then it is possible to experiment with time, aperture, backlight and angle of view.
A completely different situation occurs in the middle of a broad tundra. It is good to spend a lot of time on the walking. When I was searching for the Lapland longspur, I found myself sitting in the place where his characteristic singing sounded and I waited. The tart male (at least “my”) was very curious and after 15 to 20 minutes. He was approaching the circles closer and closer to the photographable distance.
In many cases, we have succeeded in using a car as a photo- hiding place. Unlike the human character, the birds responded only slightly. This was true in the case of the Ruffs, the Golden plovers, but also the singing males of Redwing.
The starting point of our trip was Alta. The road to Varanger is worth a trip, passing through several interesting places of the Porsangerfjord, near town Lakselv – ducks aned waders.
In Varanger itself, the traditional stop is Nesseby Village with a white chapel on a small peninsula with a lake. On it and on the coast of the peninsula can be photographed Red necked phalarope, Ringed plovers, Dunlins, Turnstones and Godwits.
The administrative town of the Vadso area links the Vadsoya Island with a short bridge.
Ekkeroy, a peninsula with 80-meter cliffs with giant colony of three-finger racks.
Hornoya – colonies of guillemots, puffins, razorbill, Common gulls, Shags.
Hamningberg. Arctic Mordor with a colony of Gannets, where we unfortunately did not get.
Road junction in the Berlevag administrative area, where you will get to the city of the same name to the left, to Batsfjord. Both of them are interesting coastal areas, where we have not missed. Lakes of loons, Long tailed duck, and Horned lark.
The mouth of the Tana River, where we observed, among other things, the flow of Temminck´s stint.