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Choosing between a summer or winter Svalbard photo tour

800km north of the Norwegian mainland lies the archipelago of Svalbard, where the polar bear population exceeds our human counterparts. Traveling to Svalbard is as unique as it is rewarding but with an option between a winter and summer expedition to this island, which one would be ideal for you?

ORYX Photographic Expeditions is able to offer nature photographers a unique opportunity to travel on a Svalbard photography tour at either time of the year – it all depends on what your photographic goals are!


The summer months are considered the best times to visit Svalbard as the ice has melted sufficiently to allow ships to navigate the area thoroughly. Temperatures are also warmer and thanks to the midnight sun, the ample light provides more time to view the island’s exquisite wildlife, fjords and glaciers. Nature positively flourishes at this time of year! Numerous native species such as walruses, bearded seals, ringed seals, humpback whales, fin whales, blue whales, belugas, acrtic fox and seabirds are at a photographer’s disposal but the main drawcard to a summer Svalbard photography tour would be the opportunity to capture their magnificent polar bears as they are found among the drifting ice sprinkled across the sea.

It is a wild wilderness on top of the world and although most tours and tourists prefer a summer exploration to this island, winter time in Svalbard is an extraordinary photo experience.


If you are looking for snowy, winter-scapes and glorious lighting conditions, a Svalbard winter is trip is the ideal choice. An expedition during this time of year is different, exciting and will focus on Arctic winter light, landscape and wildlife photography. Winter trips to Svalbard are limited due to the coverage of ice but thanks to the WildPhoto Travel team that charter these tours, they have access to explore the northern and western areas of Spitsbergen that are not usually reachable.

During the months of March and April, the lighting conditions on Svalbard are just magical with soft, pastel shades of orange, pink and blue that bathe the landscape in an otherworldly light that is indescribable.

Walruses, seals, arctic fox and reindeer are often seen and seabirds are in the process of returning to their breeding grounds. Although polar bears are not as numerous as in the summer time because there is more ice to hide on in winter, April is peak breeding time for them and these kings of the ice will be out on the glacier floors looking for a mate.

A winter Svalbard photography tour is a distinctive trip that is seen by so few and should be added to a growing photography bucket list because of its adventure appeal.


Whatever your photographic ambitions may be, Svalbard is a phenomenal photographic encounter that very few photographers have had the pleasure of experiencing. If you are looking for something different and exciting, that combines landscapes, magnificent wildlife and surreal light, this is the expedition for you. The tour leaders, Ole Jørgen Liodden and Roy Mangersnes, are award-winning photographers and naturalists that know the region’s mammals and birds intimately, and will use their hard-won knowledge and expertise in this unforgiving but pristine environment to get you the best photo opportunities when you come aboard on a Svalbard photography tour.

Turn your dreams into a reality with ORYX today!

To join ORYX on a Svalbard tour in 2018, please click here for the itinerary and rates.

For more information on our photo safaris that Roy hosts, please click here.

For more information on our photo safaris that Ole hosts, please click here.

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