Leisure/Travel

Mixed media: the challenges of photography above the Arctic Circle

Tools of the trade

Recherchebreen, Hellvetiafellet, Longyearbyen, Tempelfjorden, Bellsund, Blomstrandhalvøya, Antigua, glacier, ice, seaweed, kelp, confession, Norde Isfjorden National Park, Arctic Ocean, Ymerbukta, Esmarkbreen, Longyearbyen, The Arctic Circle, Svalbard, Spitsbergen, Norway, climate change, geology, beach, Templefjorden

The billion-piece puzzle of pixilated tallus slopes on Hellvetiafellet and the waning moon above Longyearbyen.

Not known for my technical skills or my use of cutting-edge technology, I found some photography challenges in Svalbard. The cold, the instant fog-up when entering the ship cabin (which opened directly onto the always-steamy galley), low light, great distances, ship motion, focusing while wearing mittens (not to mention shooting while wearing mittens), snowfall, rain, bow spray, and wind along with a host of computer program and storage space issues left me reeling with the feeling that many of my photos would be utter failures. There were no second chances; ships keep moving and the sun never really rises.

What I didn’t expect was some of these problems contributing to more interesting photos. The pixilation caused by low light, a zoom lens, and a high ISO creates the illusion of watercolor in some. Others appear as line drawings, pastels, or Suminogashi prints. The photos have more texture and less detail. Sharp edges give way to soft brushstrokes and smudged impressions.

My analytical, sharp-edged mind concedes; maybe the challenges added up to brilliant success in an unexpected form.

 

Recherchebreen, Isfjorden, Tempelfjorden, Bellsund, Blomstrandhalvøya, Antigua, glacier, ice, seaweed, kelp, confession, Norde Isfjorden National Park, Arctic Ocean, Ymerbukta, Esmarkbreen, Longyearbyen, The Arctic Circle, Svalbard, Spitsbergen, Norway, climate change, geology, beach, Templefjorden

Isfjorden takes on the color of a glacier while the mountains hide against the sky and peak out from behind the clouds – paper marbling at its finest.

 

Recherchebreen, Tempelfjorden, Bellsund, Blomstrandhalvøya, Antigua, glacier, ice, seaweed, kelp, confession, Norde Isfjorden National Park, Arctic Ocean, Ymerbukta, Esmarkbreen, Longyearbyen, The Arctic Circle, Svalbard, Spitsbergen, Norway, climate change, geology, beach, Templefjorden

A curious seal peers through a Monet-style painting.

 

Recherchebreen, beach, waves, Billefjorden, Gåsøyane, Tempelfjorden, Bellsund, Blomstrandhalvøya, Antigua, glacier, ice, seaweed, kelp, confession, Norde Isfjorden National Park, Arctic Ocean, Ymerbukta, Esmarkbreen, Longyearbyen, The Arctic Circle, Svalbard, Spitsbergen, Norway, climate change, geology, beach, Templefjorden

The jagged beach on Gåsøyane looks across to watercolor-softened mountains.

 

Recherchebreen, Gåsøyane, BillefjordenTempelfjorden, Bellsund, Blomstrandhalvøya, Antigua, glacier, ice, seaweed, kelp, confession, Norde Isfjorden National Park, Arctic Ocean, Ymerbukta, Esmarkbreen, Longyearbyen, The Arctic Circle, Svalbard, Spitsbergen, Norway, climate change, geology, beach, Templefjorden

The pastel view from Gåsøyane.

 

Recherchebreen, Billefjorden, Zodiac, Tempelfjorden, Bellsund, Blomstrandhalvøya, Antigua, glacier, ice, seaweed, kelp, confession, Norde Isfjorden National Park, Arctic Ocean, Ymerbukta, Esmarkbreen, Longyearbyen, The Arctic Circle, Svalbard, Spitsbergen, Norway, climate change, geology, beach, Templefjorden

Antigua at anchor in the Impressionist Billefjorden.

 

Recherchebreen, Isfjorden, Svenskehuset, Tempelfjorden, Bellsund, Blomstrandhalvøya, Antigua, glacier, ice, seaweed, kelp, confession, Norde Isfjorden National Park, Arctic Ocean, Ymerbukta, Esmarkbreen, Longyearbyen, The Arctic Circle, Svalbard, Spitsbergen, Norway, climate change, geology, beach, Templefjorden

Another Monet, return from Svenskehuset, across the tundra, mud mountain, and rogue waves.

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