Artic-Spitzbergen trip on Shokalskiy

Hi there, im going on this trip with my friend Rachel to celebrate a special birthday and would love to get in touch with fellow travellers. I'm abit concerned that i've booked a special photography trip when i'm only a beginner so any advice on this would be great.Look forward to hearing from you,




Hi Janie

is this the trip that departs on the 21st July? if so, i'm on that one too :-)   i'm travelling by myself on this trip - so looking forward to meeting people. have had a friend just return from 4 months in Antarctica - she got to know the crew on the Shokalskiy, and says they are great fun

i wouldn't worry about the photography part too much - its about the experience more than anything else. there will undoubtably be stacks of people to offer tips as well :-)



Hi Tracey, Yes that's the one, leaving on 21st July. Great to hear from you, wow 4 months in Antartica sounds superb. Good to hear about crew on Shokalskiy- the people on these trips can make such a difference to the whole experience. Rachel has just been down for a couple of days & we've been going through what to take with us, i hope my case is big enough! Have you been on any other trips with exodus Tracey? This will be my first one.


Hi guys ... my name is Rona and my husband (Mike) and I are on this trip ... and getting very excited!  Mike is a very keen photographer, but I am just a "snapper" ... so will probably need someone to chat to whilst he is doing his stuff!  I'm keen on all things arctic/polar and Mike was talking to someone who has been on this trip and had 29 sightings of polar bears (my favourite animal!!).  We are probably a fair bit older than you by the sound of it (who can tell?) but only in years, not mentally!  (Which special birthday is it, Janie?) We were with Exodus last year, trekking in Borneo - it was fantastic!  Has anyone been to any of Paul Goldstein's talks in Earls Court - we've been to a couple - they (and he) are really good!

We live near Banbury (Oxfordshire) if anyone is anywhere near - could always meet up?  Only six weeks (and a bit) to go ..... eeeeek!!

Rona (& Mike)


Keith Meredith


Keith Meredith


Hi Guys,


Sorry that I posted to replies with no content.


My wife (Sue) and I are on this trip and looking forward to it v much.  Its Sues big 50 while we are aboard so hoping for someything special, I'm a bit apprehensive regarding all the expert photographers!! I'm v much an amature just getting to grips with my new Nikon D90 and hoping to learn a lot.


We are both desperate to see the Polar Bear in its natural habitat and can't wait to get close in the Zodiacs.

See you all on board. (we are joining from Manchester)

Cheer Keith


Hi Rona & Mike, Keith & Sue,

Like Keiths wife, Sue, its my 50th birthday treat to myself! Im not 50 until august so im abit younger (!!) than you sue, but it'll be great to have a birthday celebration on board. I havent been to any of Paul Goldsteins talks as im abit too far away to get there as i live in shropshire although i used to live in Radway ( warks) so i know Banbury area quite well Rona. Rachel & I are travelling from Heathrow on the 19.30- are you on that flight Rona? I hope ive got the right sort of clothes- thermals etc but not really skiing stuff like some people are taking. Any advice on that would be good- getting really excited now & trying to work out my new camera,


Hi guys ... only four weeks today (not that we're counting!).   Yes, we are on the 19.30 from Heathrow so hope to meet up with some of you there.  We'll be the excited looking ones!  Re clothing ... don't think we'll need skiing stuff (hope not, we haven't got any!).  We're taking trekking-stuff mostly, cos that's what we have ... thermals, thick socks, boots (hoping to get a bit of hiking in!), warm stuff for going ashore, ordinary stuff for on-board.  Don't think it will be too cold, tho.  Don't forget they have a laundry service on board so don't need to take loads!  Looks like we'll have a few birthdays to celebrate whilst we're there!  Might take some travel-sickness pills - not sure how good I am on boats, specially if it gets rough at all! 

Keith, are you flying over from Manchester, or coming down to Heathrow?

Looking forward to meeting everyone - Rona/Mike


Great to hear from you all, we are in for a great trip! Rona/Mike we are flying to Oslo via Copenhagen direct from Manchester so its unlikey that we will meet up till early on the 22nd as we dont land in Oslo until late on the 21st.

As for gear we have waterproof ski pants (not that we ski) we bought them for the trip for use on the zodiacs.  We went on a tidal bore zodiac in Canada last June and we appreciated the supplied all in one jump suit, so though it would be good to get something though concerned they are bulky for flight. We will back all v casual stuff that we use for walking but include base layers. Dont think we will bring our boots but we both have walking soft shoes which we will use. 

No doubt will speak again before departure 

 Cheers - Keith & Sue


Hi All,

Who's the photographer amongst us? I have a 70-105mm lens but im not sure whether to get a 70-200mm, id hate to miss a good photo of a polar bear cos i hadnt got right lens or would that be long enough anyway? If so , would you get a IS lens or could i manage without- there's a big difference in price!!


Hi Janie ... I should think Mike will know ... he's away at the moment - due back tomorrow night.  If you haven't had any other replies by then, I'll get him to log on and advise, if he can. It's all a bit over my head, I'm afraid!  I've got a Panasonic Lumix (which he assures me is the best thing without going to SLR!) and doesn't have the hassle of lots of different lens - and it seems to be able to take really good pictures without any help from me - I just point and shoot!  Rona x


Hi Rona, thanks for that, im beginning to wish id stuck with my compact, photos were pretty good too, still too late now! It'll be great if Mike could log on & give me his opinion, thank you, lots to learn. Not long to go now, what currency if any are people taking?

Cheers Janie


Hi Janie,

I have a similar dilema, I have the kit 18-105 lens and was thinking about purchasing a 70 - 300 though I have decided not to because I dont want the hassle of switching lenses.

 I'm sure we will be fine.

Cheers Keith


Hi Keith,

Sorry i meant 24-105mm- shows how much i know! Good to know you decided against, my friend has 70-300mm so maybe we could share lens- abit cheeky heh. Whatever we use im sure it'll be great, dont want to spend whole trip looking through a viewfinder anyway-big birthdays to celebrate

Cheers janie


Hi everyone, Rona's Mike here in response to the questions about lenses for Spitsbergen. I can't profess to being any kind of expert regarding the optimum focal lengths for taking next month - I suppose it depends on the luck we have as to how close we get to anything. My guess is that for longer distances something around 300mm would be ideal for longer sightings with a shorter length for land. I'm taking a variety of zooms from 18-500mm but these are lenses that I use a lot at home anyway. My suggestion would be to drop an email to Paul at Exodus and seek advice - even if he isn't around I guess someone there will have experience of the kind of sightings that we are likely to have and suitable kit for making the most of it. Sorry I can't be a bit more helpful.

Really looking forward to meeting you all next month.







Hi mike,

Thanks for your suggestions, i think you're right & for me personally it comes down to whether or not i want to spend more money on a longer lens!

Looking forward to meeting you all soon- only 3 weeks to go,

Cheers Janie


hi all

sorry had a bit of downtime since my last post - just too maniac with various trips and work!

re questions about lens - basically i think the rule is as big a lens as you can afford/use.... i have a 200-400mm zoom that i got for a trip to East Africa, and use it all the time! I have a spare 70-300mm canon lens that i can bring along too if any of you without a zoom has a canon DSLR/SLR?? Else instead of laying out a lot of cash for a zoom lens, have a look at an extender?  a 2x will mean your 105mm will become a 200mm?

 I asked my friend who has just spent 4 months in Antarctica re clothes to pack - and she said layers! can't have too many thermals and fleeces...and pack a pair of waterproof trousers to wear (handy for zodiac, encountering wet weather while on board). I'm also getting thermal paddling/photography gloves - less bulky than normal gloves and will be able to feel the camera controls....





Hi everyone. I'll be travelling on the trip too, travelling on my own. I'm hoping to get to grips with my new(ish) camera but main purpose is to visit Svalbard again. I have been once before, camping and trekking. So I'm expecting this trip to be more comfortable at any rate. For those wondering about clothes, hiking gear will be perfect with plenty of layers. The temperature last time hovered around freezing, but when the sun came out was really quite warm. It is stunningly beautiful in a bleak and wild sort of way. I too will be on the 19.30 flight to Oslo, so will look out for folk at Heathrow. Hope to see some of you in Oslo if not before. I just can't wait.


Good to hear from you, do you think hiking boots are necessary? Sue and I were just going to take our walking trainer type shoe.  Mike - great weather site thanks a lot, not long to go now. Keith and Sue


I am also going on this trip and traveling solo. Glad to see there are lots of other non expert photographers going. I have actually hired a lens for the trip, a 100 to 400mm telephoto. I have not used such a long lens before so thought it would be a good excuse to try one out without the expense of buying one. I did one of the Antarctica trips over Christmas /New year lots of layers were the answer, I didn't take any ski wear. Haven't decided whether or not to take the hiking boots. Hope to meet up with some of you at Heathrow,



I'm undecided about taking my walking boots, mainly because I'm not sure how much walking we get to do. I notice it says they provide wellies (or similar) and on my last trip that was fine for the limited amount of walking done by the folk who just did the cruise and were going ashore for only an hour or so at a time. But I suspect I probably will take them, in hopes that we get to climb up somewhere interesting.

I look forward to meeting you next week


Hi everyone .. it's not so much the outdoor clothes I'm struggling with, but stuff to wear on board!  If we are likely to get sightings at any given moment, I want to be prepared to be out on deck/on zodiacs!  I can see me wearing the same stuff all week (I will wash, don't worry!).  I am taking my walking boots tho as Paul Goldstein did mention some hikes and I don't fancy walking in wellies!  Better to have them and not need them than the other way round!  Busy making sure we have enough dry bags at the moment!  Don't forget the cameras!  See you at the Airport.  Rona x


Hi Looking forward to meeting everyone and seeing the midnight sun and polar bears. We're bringing hill walking boots - Exodus advise that they keep your feet warm in the zodiacs on non landing days, and we prefer them for hiking. Wellis are cold!
We're from the north of Scotland so will be flying from Aberdeen.
Elizabeth + Ellenor

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