A trip for all photography and nature lovers.
DURATION: 7 days
MINIMUM NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: 6 PAX
MAXIMUM NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: 7 PAX
DATES: 24-30 march/31 march-6 april/7-13 april/14-20 april/21-27 april
ACCOMMODATION: Hotel – Guesthouse
TRANSPORTATION: SKUA Nature van – Boat
MEALS: Restaurants – Packed lunch
DIFFICULTY: Easy – Support from guides expert about the area
INFORMATION: SKUA headquarters: email@example.com –
+39 0141 918349
After half of the cold season is over, the sun reappears above the horizon over the Barents Sea, and after the long polar night, the days alternate with light and darkness once more. In the icy climes of the Varanger Peninsula in northern Norway, the valleys and cliffs still wear their winter coats, covered with snow and ice, while the stunning Northern Lights colour the sky green at night. and at night the sky is coloured emerald by the spectacular Northern Lights.
Prepare yourself for an unforgettable expedition 400 km north of the Arctic Circle, where we will photograph over 40 different species. After crossing the Finnish taiga and its vast evergreen forests home to the Siberian Jay and Pine Grosbeak, we will arrive in the Finnmark region, which in Old Norse gave its name to the land of the Sami, also known as “reindeer herders”. We will then visit Kongsfjord, a small fishing community with some of Norway’s oldest buildings, where we will spend half of our trip home to some of the oldest inhabited houses in Norway and where we will spend half of our trip. We will drive to Berlevag, Norway’ northernmost town, the northernmost town on the Norwegian mainland, a few degrees south of the famous North Cape, where we will photograph the King Eider and the Steller’s Eider from a floating photo hide.
We will take a boat ride in the waters around Batsfjorden to get a close look at other seabirds of the Varanger region such as the Long-tailed Duck and the Common Eider. We will follow the tracks of Arctic Hares and Rock Ptarmigans, whose white fur blends in with the snow-covered tundra. On the last part of our journey, we will drive around the Varangerfjord in search of White-tailed Eagles, Northern Hawk Owls, and Rough-legged Buzzards. Finally, we will visit Hornøya, the jewel of the Norwegian spring migration, with its colony of over 100,000 seabirds. This is one-of-a-kind location where you may photograph hundreds of Puffins, Razorbills, Common Murres and European Shags among the late-winter snows. on the island of Hornøya, the jewel of the northern Norwegian spring migration. This is a unique place where you can photograph hundreds of Puffins, Razorbills, Common Murres and European Shags amidst the last snows of late winter.
Always accompanied by our guides, who are experts in photography and ornithology, we go in search of the great diversity of Norwegian wildlife. Do not miss this opportunity, contact us today!
Basic fee: € 2,820
THE PRICE INCLUDES
- local transportation and excursions
- drivers and guide with experience in wildlife observation
- accommodation for 7 days
- photo hide sessions
- equipment for excursions/Nordic activities
- entry tickets for sites/activities that require an entrance permit
- breakfast, lunch, dinner
THE PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE
- roundtrip airfare
- travel insurance
Our journey will begin in Ivalo, where the group will be picked up at their accommodation after breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Depending on the flights each participant has booked and whether you prefer to stay overnight in Ivalo, please contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a meeting spot where the guide will pick you up to begin the tour.
Once the entire group of photographers and ornithologists is in the van, we will drive into the snowy taiga, a land that will characterize the first part of our adventure beginning 250 km north of the Arctic Circle. Along the way, we will stop to admire and enjoy the geometries that ice and snow draw in the landscape. With a little luck, we will find the White-throated Dipper and make the first stop in Kaamanen.
Siberian Jays, Grey-headed Chickadees, Pine Grosbeaks, and Arctic Redpolls frequent the bird feeders installed by the local restaurant. Red squirrels flock to these feeders as well, allowing us to capture stunning images of these acrobats in both pose and action. We will have then an exclusive photo session in a new photographic hide at the restaurant’s base which enables high-resolution portrait photographs in Kaamanen’s winter woodland.
After lunch, we will wander around the feeding area and take pictures from different perspectives, this time in complete freedom around the hide, as these birds are very used to people. The evening light will help us to take impressive shots of these birds without disturbing them. In the afternoon we will board our van and head to Northern Norway, where with a little luck we will be greeted by the Northern Lights at the border with Finland. In the evening we will arrive in Kongsfjord, where we will have dinner and spend the first three days of our journey.
From our accommodation, in Kongsfjord we drive to the nearby village of Berlevåg, the northernmost town on the Norwegian mainland. The drive there is one of the highlights of the trip: The road winds through three small fjords where snow and ice stalactites cover the jagged rocks and cliffs of the Barents Sea. The glacial valleys formed millions of years ago, are now home to White-tailed Eagles, Gyrfalcons, and herds of Reindeer.
Two floating photo hides at Berlevåg harbour will allow us to photograph species such as Steller’s Eider, King Eider, Common Eider, and Long-tailed Duck, as well as Grey Seals attempting to prey on birds in the harbour. We will also look for several gull species in this area, as individuals of thea are common. To get the most out of photography, we will have a first picture session till noon and then a packed lunch at the hide. After lunch, we will go for a walk to the various docks to photograph seabirds from different angles.
There will be an opportunity to return to the photo hide and photograph the birds while the lights of the pier are reflected in the water, adding new colours to your pictures. In the evening we will return to Kongsfjord, where after dinner we will look for the Northern Lights near the snow-covered plateaus one of Norway’s most beautiful landscapes.
Before sunrise, we drive east on a scenic road where we have the opportunity to photograph herds of Reindeer, Moose and Rock Ptarmigans.
Once arrived in Båtsfjord, we will have another photo session from the pier platforms, this time focused on King Eider, Common Eider, Steller’s Eider, and Long-tailed Duck. The colourful residences in the neighbourhood contribute hues to the harbour’s water, generating warm reflections that accentuate the seabirds’ white plumage.
We will have lunch in a nearby restaurant to warm up and recharge our batteries before starting a new photography adventure in the afternoon: we will search for the same species, but this time we will cruise around the Barents Sea shoreline. We will be able to capture seabirds in vast groups, in flight, and even up close, from every angle.
On our drive back to Kongsfjord in the afternoon, we pass through the snowy mountains of northern Norway, which provide exceptional prospects for landscape photography. Once arrived, we can take a leisurely walk along the beach with our cameras in hand to capture small groups of Purple Sandpipers.
Early in the morning we will drive down the north shore of Varangerfjord to the settlement of Vardø, which is located on an island connected to the mainland by an underwater tunnel. We will go through a variety of unspoiled scenery along the cliffs of Varangerfjord, which border the vast river, Tana. Here we can picture the majestic White-tailed Eagle and, hopefully, the Bohemian Waxwing. We will pay close attention to the surrounding vegetation of the tundra area before Tana, as a pair of Northern Hawk Owls has been observed throughout winter and is pretty easy to photograph. When we reach Vardø, where we will spend two nights, we will unpack and have lunch before beginning another adventure at sea. This time, we will take a one-hour boat around the island of Hornøya.
More than 100,000 seabirds live on the island. Puffins, Common Murres (including the “bridled” morpho), Thick-billed Murres, Razorbills, Black-legged Kittiwakes, and European Shags may all be photographed here. Small bays at its bottom, where the sea and mountains meet, serve as gathering and resting areas for many seabirds, Grey Seals, and Harbour Seals, which we will try to locate from our boat. We walk ashore on the island with the final lights of sunset to explore the land and its people. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experiment with high-key photography while also taking advantage of the first migratory birds to land on the island. This quick trip to Hornya will help us decide the photos we’d like to take the next day when we will have complete freedom and time. We will return to our Vardø lodging for dinner before setting out to discover new locations to capture the Northern Lights.
We will board early in the morning to capture great flocks of eiders that congregate in the coastal waters of Hornøya. We will go on a two-hour boat ride to spot Common Murres, Puffins, and European Shags up close. We will be able to photograph these seabirds in flight and swimming in the open sea during this sea expedition. We may also see cetaceans such as rorquals and porpoises if we are lucky. We will disembark around noon on the island of Hornøya, where we will have plenty of time to explore the surroundings and take the photos we choose. It will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to photograph the couples’ courtship rituals, such as the gift exchange or the battle over the territory of the many seabird species, as they are surrounded by snow. We will cruise around this Barents Sea beauty until the afternoon so that you will enjoy your packed lunch. We will return to Vardø in the evening to spend the night and pack our belongings before leaving the village the next day to begin our journey to Finland.
We will visit the Ekkerøy cliffs at dawn, where over 10,000 pairs of Black-legged Kittiwakes create a big colony on a wall above the sea. When it snows, the snowflakes make an excellent backdrop for shots of these birds in flight. We will also visit Vadsø harbour to look for Common Eider and Steller’s Eider. Most significantly, we will seek the Mountain Hare, which is concealed in the icy tundra with its white fur, giving us exceptional photo chances. After lunch, we will start the descent to the restaurant in Kaamanen, where we will eat dinner and spend the night.
Along the journey, we will be on the lookout for species like Reindeer and Moose, as well as the gorgeous route’s opportunities for landscape photography. If the light is favourable, we could do another photo shoot of the forest birds near the restaurant. we will spend the evening going on the last night-time search for the Northern Lights, this time in the immense Finnish woodlands.
We will leave early in the morning for Ivalo, hoping to see the last herds of Reindeer in the Finnish taiga and, perhaps, a few photos of the White-throated Dipper on the freezing rivers around Ivalo. We will arrive at the airport before midday, say our goodbyes, and prepare for our next trip together.
King Eider, Common Eider, Steller’s Eider, Long-tailed Duck, Common Murre, Black Guillemot, Thick-billed Murre, Razorbill, Puffin, Black-legged Kittiwake, Purple Sandpiper, Rock Ptarmigan, Mountain Hare, White-tailed Eagle, Northern Hawk Owl, Siberian Jay, Grey-headed Chickadee, Arctic Redpoll and Reindeer.
- Photo lenses: Lenses with a focal length of at least 400mm are recommended for wildlife photography. For landscape and Northern Lights photography, a short or a wide-angle lens is ideal.
- Clothing suitable for outdoor activities. Temperatures are below 0°C and can reach -20°C. It is very important to choose clothes that provide comfort and safety.
- Headlamp, ice crampons, winter barrier cream and/or moisturizer.
- Check the required documents for the ongoing global pandemic of COVID-19.
- Travel insurance is required.
- If you book flights independently, it is advisable to choose tickets that include a refund in case of cancellation or change of itinerary.