Svalbard July 2021

Ocean Geographic WildPhoto Special Focus Arctic Expedition 2021

5 July - 15 July 2021

Ocean Geographic is collaborating with WildPhoto, the experts in polar wildlife photography, to bring you this unique opportunity to explore and photograph the arctic.  With a small team and one of the best polar guides this expedition is specially created for wildlife enthusiasts and passionate photographers who want to travel in a small group to spend more time with the enigmatic wildlife of the Arctic.

Join Michael AW & Eirik Grønningsæter for this unforgettable sojourn in the far north

from $US 11538 per person ( standard room).

Make your reservation now – 6 spots available 


In the summer of 2015, during the shoot for the Elysium Artists for the Arctic project we had incredible experiences with wildlife in the high Arctic. In 2019, we are going back with a small stealthy team to focus on interaction with belugas, polar bears, walruses, beared seals, ring seals, blue whales and puffins.

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Expedition Brief

The focus of this expedition will be wildlife on drifting sea ice such as polar bears walruses and seals. When opportunities allow, we will try to snorkel with them. However, we are planning to use state of the art polecams, drones and customised remote operated setups. With 24 hours daylight, and a small team of 12 in two zodiacs, we can focus and wait for the best photographic opportunities. Our expedition vessel is the M/S Origo, an ice class refurbished and rebuilt expedition ship that has been cruising the high Arctic waters around Svalbard every summer. We can expect efficient and swift operations.

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Meal times will be flexible to capitalise on great photographic opportunities. With the flexibility of two small groups and professional wildlife enthusiasts as guides we can get closer to the wildlife on the ice and searching for photo opportunities in front of the glaciers. This expedition is specially created for wildlife enthusiasts and passionate photographers who want to travel in small groups to spend more time with the enigmatic wildlife of the Arctic.

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Leading this expedition will be Michael AW, founder of Ocean Geographic and Eirik Grønningsæter, polar environment specialist. Eirik was naturalist and contributing photographer for Elysium Arctic; he is a polar expert with over 20 seasons in the Arctic. As Eirik is also a bird aficionado, we will be visiting bird cliffs with opportunity to snorkel with them as well. 

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Special focus on polar bears

Special focus on belugas - beluga cam

Special focus on walruses in the water - polecam

Bearded seals, harbor seals, and other seals *snorkelling

Cliff face bird colonies, nesting site.

Arctic foxes, reindeer, puffins, guillemots, ptarmigan, king eiders

Magnificent landscape and glaciers

Midnight sun

Very unique high arctic marine life


Day 0 We always recommend to arrive Longyearbyen at least one day in advance.

Day 1 Departure from Longyearbyen through Isfjorden.

Day 2-4 Heading toward the ice, searching for Polar bears. Depending on the ice conditions, this will probably be north of Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet.

Day 5 East toward Storøya, searching for Polar bears and walruses.

Day 6 Sailing south toward Bråsvellbreen and into Hinlopen with walruses and bird cliffs.

Day 7-9 Liefdefjorden with the Monaco glacier, north-western corner of Spitsbergen with walruses, seals and great landscape. South to Lilliehööksfjorden and Kongsfjorden, with glaciers, birds and marine mammals.

Day 10 Sailing south to Prins Karls Forland for our last landing with Walruses, and in the afternoon Alkehornet with bird cliffs, Arctic fox and Svalbard reindeers. Back to Longyearbyen late in the evening around 24:00.

Day 11 Disembark

*subject to weather and ice condition – we may circumnavigate the entire Svalbard archipelago if there report sighting of mother and calf polar bear at Bellsund and Hornsund

Expedition Platform

M/S Origo is a traditional ship. She was built 1955 at Finnboda shipyard in Sweden for the Swedish Maritime administration as an ice-strengthen Pilot ship. In the beginning of the 90´s the vessel was carefully refurbished and rebuilt to an expedition ship with space for 24 passengers. Since then she has been cruising in the Arctic waters around Svalbard every summer. M/S Origo is in spite of her old fashion charm, equipped with the latest navigation and security equipment. She is thoroughly maintained and in good condition. Every year she is going through all safety inspections with the Swedish Maritime Administration.

Length 40m, Breadth 8.8 m, Depth 3.5 m, Tonnage 368 GT, Electrical system 220v, Speed 10.5 knots, Ice strengthen according to Lloyds highest ice class


Expedition Package:

Full board, all zodiac excursion, landings, expedition photo book, expedition beret and jumper.



3 single cabins - standard: USD 11538 pp

5 single cabins - private: USD 11988 pp

1 twin - private cabin - USD 11988 pp

1 twin - standard cabin: USD$ 10838

Deposit: USD 4000pp

* you must apply to participate this expedition.

Expedition Leaders

eirikg90x120Eirik: Eirik Grønningsæter is a professional wildlife photographer and nature guide since 2007. As a photographer he has been awarded in competitions like BBC Wildlife Photographer of the year and European wildlife photographer of the year (GDT), as well as been published in prestigious magazines such as National Geographic. He has held several exhibitions and published two books.

In between his photography and guiding, he works as a fieldbiologist doing fieldwork for various scientific projects. His main interest is birds, but he has also worked with animals such as whales, large predators and bats in different parts of the world. Eirik has worked in Svalbard every summer since 2001. He also start guiding in the Antarctic since 2008. Through his work as a field biologist and photographer, he has gained extensive Polar Bear experience – with a lot of the encounters being on foot. His wide range of knowledge within animal behaviour and ecology ensures that an expedition with Eirik is always something more than ”just” a photography trip.

altMichael AW: Michael has been to Fakarava three times and documented the spawning aggregation in 2014. He is a senior Fellow of the  International League of Conservation Photographers and has authored over 35 books of the sea. His accolades include winning more than 65 international awards and being named as one of the world’s most influential nature photographers by Outdoor Photography. He is the first Asian to have won four awards at NHM Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition of which he was the winner of the underwater category in 2006 and 2015. In 2013 he was awarded the NOGI for Arts by the American Academy of Underwater Arts and Science. His essays and pictures have been featured in BBC Wildlife, National Geographic, the Smithsonian, Nature, Ocean Geographic, Times and Nature Focus to name just a few. Michael AW is the founder of Asian Geographic and Ocean Geographic.


To express interest or if you need further information email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you are ready to book please go to booking link

CLICK HERE to book your spot

NB. Booking is not confirmed until deposit is paid. Payment details for payment of deposit will be provided once booking is completed. Booking username and password is not the same as your OG username and password. If you are new trip client you can leave the existing client login blank and complete the booking . If you are an existing trip client please check with us first and we will let you know your trip client user ID and password which will enable you a much quicker booking process.

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