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Chris Wahl

Polar Bears of Svalbard in Winter (6 images)

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Hey Chris, my man! It's so good to see you posting here again. 😊 These are amazing images. 

 

I cannot even comprehend -25˚C. How anyone can even function in such cold weather is beyond me, let alone make such awesome photos. 

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Chris, I second the motion, great to see your work again.  I can imagine -25C as I live in Minnesota, but makes it no less daunting.  Gorgeous images!

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Fantastic series Chris! 

@Dallas breathing at those temperatures becomes an experience :)

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1 hour ago, armando_m said:

Fantastic series Chris! 

@Dallas breathing at those temperatures becomes an experience :)

 

I have become such a ninny with cold weather (well, I use the term cold with gay abandon here because according to people from other parts of SA it doesn't get cold where I live). I recall some -5˚C weather when I was in the army, and a town only 90 minutes from where I live was -6˚C just last month. This was where my Dad had his farm. 

 

mooiriver.PNG

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13 hours ago, Dallas said:

Hey Chris, my man! It's so good to see you posting here again. 😊 These are amazing images. 

 

I cannot even comprehend -25˚C. How anyone can even function in such cold weather is beyond me, let alone make such awesome photos. 

My pleasure Dallas, glad you like the images!

 

-25°C is cold but is still within a range that can easily be handled by appropriate clothing. -30°C is where it slowly starts getting interesting 😉.

The gear was working perfectly. I left it on the deck 24/7 and only swapped cards and batteries. The DSLRs never failed to work which is amazing engineering. Some of the mirrorless cameras made a little trouble (no pun intended) and a Leica SL stopped working every now and then. My M10 however made a brilliant job. Starting at -10°C it told me that only single shots are working but who needs bursts with landscapes anyway :)

 

4 hours ago, Greg Drawbaugh said:

Chris, I second the motion, great to see your work again.  I can imagine -25C as I live in Minnesota, but makes it no less daunting.  Gorgeous images!

Thanks Greg! I can imagine that you are used to low temperatures ...

 

3 hours ago, armando_m said:

Fantastic series Chris! 

@Dallas breathing at those temperatures becomes an experience :)

Thanks Armando!

 

Breathing is still easy at -25°C to -30°C ... you want s.th. to cover your mouth and nose anyway if you are out on the deck for hours.

Breathing becomes a real problem starting at -40°C (if I remember correctly). You need some of those small devices in front of your mouth that slighly heat up the air that you breathe.

 

The coldest we had was -30° + windchill and the latter is what makes it a bit tough ... again ... proper clothing does the trick.

 

Well Dallas ... about time that you board an artic or antarctic expedition 😁

 

You do such things:

i-wSkQ9J9-X3.jpg

 

and yes ... it is cold :)

i-LncWWCT-X3.jpg

 

 

 

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Chris, great to see you back here, and what an amazing set of photos, including the stunning landscapes you posted earlier.

 

I was in Svalbard in July 2014.  It was nowhere near as cold as you had.  How many hours of daylight did you have?

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-25°C is certainly a test of both man and machine - but I think a bigger test would have been to get me onto a little tub like that on which to go sailing into ice-filled waters abounding with polar bears- I'd want something a lot more substantial between me and a frigid, watery grave or being a snack for a hungry bear... ;)  

 

Excellent set of photos, #3 is my favourite.

 

 

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@Chris Wahl I don't think I would even be able to find the right clothing here in SA to be able to go on a trip to the poles, but even if I did find somebody who could make the equivalent of a wearable electric blanket, I'd still have to open my eyes! 🤣 

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22 hours ago, Anthony said:

Chris, great to see you back here, and what an amazing set of photos, including the stunning landscapes you posted earlier.

 

I was in Svalbard in July 2014.  It was nowhere near as cold as you had.  How many hours of daylight did you have?

Thank you so much for your kind words Anthony!

Have you been in summer? We had between -5 and 10 most of the time when I was there last June.

 

We left Longyearbyen on the 25th of March and it was still kind of dark in the night. The more north we got the less dark it got and during the last days it did not get really dark any more. I guess we had between 10 and 12 hours of photography light each day with endless sunsets and sunrises :) But that is only a guess ... I don't really remember how much photography light we had.

 

 

19 hours ago, Alan7140 said:

-25°C is certainly a test of both man and machine - but I think a bigger test would have been to get me onto a little tub like that on which to go sailing into ice-filled waters abounding with polar bears- I'd want something a lot more substantial between me and a frigid, watery grave or being a snack for a hungry bear... ;)  

 

Excellent set of photos, #3 is my favourite.

 

 

Thanks Alan! The Origo is an outstanding ship ... Ice hardened, very massive and sturdy and high enough to keep bears from entering the kitchen. You would trust her ;)  

 

 

13 hours ago, Dallas said:

@Chris Wahl I don't think I would even be able to find the right clothing here in SA to be able to go on a trip to the poles, but even if I did find somebody who could make the equivalent of a wearable electric blanket, I'd still have to open my eyes! 🤣 

@Dallas ... you heard of that modern thing called online shops? :D I could advise you to get the right clothing and a couple of glasses that hide the cold *scnr*

 

but seriously ... you are right ... even in Germany where it is much colder than in SA that stuff is not available in too many places. The good thing is that this stuff does not have to look good so trying before buying is not that inportant ...

 

Cheers

Chris

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15 hours ago, Chris Wahl said:

 

Have you been in summer? We had between -5 and 10 most of the time when I was there last June.

 

 

Temperatures were similar when I was there in July 2014.  We had a lot of sun, which helped.

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I lived in Minnesota for 3 years and survived ok a few short experiences at or under -40C, if I stayed longer I would wear more protection to prevent frost byte, I was 30 yr younger and fool enough to ski at -20C, learned that removing ice from eye lashes can be painful 

 

What I meant by interesting feeling when breathing is the unsettling feeling of your nose hair freezing as air is inhaled 

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Very cool images Chris, I think that is quite an adventure.

 

How are the seas? Does the icebreaker move a whole lot while negotiating those waters? The reason I ask is because I am interested in this trip but motion sickness can be an issue for me and I am unsure if I want to spend those resources to lose my lunch every day for a week or longer.

 

I have thought about seeing a doctor to get some real prescription "solution" and do a couple of boat trips around the California coast to test before committing to the arctic experience. Any comments are greatly appreciated.

 

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Thanks Rodrigo! And yes, it is an adventure. In winter more so than in summer ...

 

The seas were as harmless as it gets. I was around Svalbard in summer and winter and it never  got tough. Of course this is up to the weather situation but there is no such thing as the Drake Passage where challenges are not unusual. The only time where it gets a little rough is when you make miles in the open ocean to get to another area but this is typically only at the end and at the beginning of the journey. I am prone to motion sickness too but some very mild medicine did the job. Laying flat on the bed listening to music was all that was needed (I skipped meals once :)). I guess if I would have taken something stronger that would have been no issue at all.

 

If you are in polar bear area the ship goes rather slowly near the coastline and once you are in that state there is no issue at all (if you don't experience a storm or strong winds).  I have not lost lunch a single time and as I said. Motion sickness is an issue for me too ...

 

If you are interested in more details let me know ... By now I know a thing or two about ships, guides, clothing etc.

 

Cheers

Chris

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Thanks so much for the information Chris, this is good to know. When time comes I will visit the doctor for some good prescription medicines in case they are needed and I should be good to go. I don't mind some mild sickness and skipping a couple meals, but I don't want to be rendered useless and have it become a nightmare, so your comments really help build up some confidence.

 

If I ever decide to go south I know that I will be flying over the Drake passage , there's no way I would brave it by sea. There are some options to fly over in a twin otter plane and for me that would be the way to go. Costs a bit more, but one doesn't go to those places to try to save money.

 

Thanks again,

 

Rodrigo

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Great set of images Chris. My favourite is #1 for the beautiful impression of scale and natural habitat of these fantastic animals. I was in Lapland in February with temperatures as low as -15°C, truth be told I hated it and the cold had a very negative impact on my mindset during our stay. So even though I'd very much like to see it in real life no arctic cruise for me, I"ll stick to Nat Geo Wild on my TV 😉

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On 16/09/2018 at 17:13, Luc de Schepper said:

Great set of images Chris. My favourite is #1 for the beautiful impression of scale and natural habitat of these fantastic animals. I was in Lapland in February with temperatures as low as -15°C, truth be told I hated it and the cold had a very negative impact on my mindset during our stay. So even though I'd very much like to see it in real life no arctic cruise for me, I"ll stick to Nat Geo Wild on my TV 😉

 

Thanks Luc, much appreciated! Seems you are not going to make friends with temperatures below zero :)

If you think back to your Lapland trip you might want to ask yourself whether you had the right clothes. If not, give it another try ... it is so incredibly beautiful in the ice ... 

 

Cheers

Chris

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21 minutes ago, Chris Wahl said:

 

Thanks Luc, much appreciated! Seems you are not going to make friends with temperatures below zero :)

If you think back to your Lapland trip you might want to ask yourself whether you had the right clothes. If not, give it another try ... it is so incredibly beautiful in the ice ... 

 

Cheers

Chris

 

Haha Chris yes I had the right set of clothes, three to four layers, including an NASA-like outer layer. Took me ages to dress and undress. I've now come to peace with it, I very much prefer a pair of shorts, a shirt and flip flops 😊

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23 minutes ago, Luc de Schepper said:

 

Haha Chris yes I had the right set of clothes, three to four layers, including an NASA-like outer layer. Took me ages to dress and undress. I've now come to peace with it, I very much prefer a pair of shorts, a shirt and flip flops 😊

 

You would be right at home here. Even in "winter". :) 

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