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SVALBARD Photo Adventure – part 1 | wild camping and landscape photography behind the scenes

SVALBARD Photo Adventure – part 1 | wild camping and landscape photography behind the scenes


So here I am, on a nice little island
here on Svalbard. My good friend Martin just dropped me off here. Look, all my
equipment! I have given myself a little treat because I had the boat to help me
out, so I have brought a little extra photo equipment, much more than I would
usually bring, which is pretty nice! So hopefully I can play with some time
lapses, some wildlife photography, landscape, whatever.
I’m on this little island and it’s probably one kilometer on one side and
two kilometers on the other side, or something like that. It’s very flat
as you can see out here. My plan is to stay here for three or four days
and then get moved to another location where I can do some other kind of
photography, maybe some more landscapes. There are polar bears around here
and they are really good swimmers and polar bears have been seen in this
area so, yeah, I was told to be a little aware and that is my plan. I’m
going to test the firearm, see if it works, see if I hit where I’m aiming.
Let’s have a look at that and when that’s done, it will be base camp set up time, and
then I think it’s time for a coffee after that. Yeah! Let’s get
started with that. Let’s hope we hit something! Lucky! Nice! I’m happy. Here!
Yeah that works! Two small holes on one side, and then other side yeah! And
then now, it’s just time to set up the base camp. So, Ihave a little problem putting the pegs in
here because the ground is full of small stones like this, and smaller, so
I’m not really getting a solid pitching here. Right now it’s fine
and it’s tempting just to get the tent up, but if there comes some wind
these ones will just get pulled up. Normally I would take some big
rocks and use them instead, but it seems like everything is just like this size
so that’s not enough weight. So, what I’m doing now is using what I have. I
have found some driftwood, like this, and using them as bars in front and in
the back and maybe on the sides. It’s easier to put some smaller stones on
this, and make a nice little platform, maybe dig them down a little bit. Let’s see if that works. When I pitch my tent like this, I always have my bags here for the tent and for the pegs and stuff,
attached to these small hooks, because at home in the living room it’s always nice
and quiet, but you never know how the weather will be like when you pitch your tent. I don’t know if you remember my trip to Norway last year while I was
preparing for Ellesmere Island Expedition and I don’t know if you remember that but I was caught in bad weather, and at that point I was happy to
have done these preparations. Yeah, let’s get this thing up so we can make a cup of coffee! So, I have now fixed the rest of the gear,
it’s more or less lined up here. And, as you can see, I’ve taken the drone out. Actually, I wanted to take the drone up and fly over the tent and the camp, and
just get some footage of me packing out or setting up the tent. There are
just a few things that I would like to do before because you never know here,
it’ll start to rain, it will start to snow, start to be windy, so I kind of
want to get all the important things done, and then I can have fun afterwards.
And by fun, I mean setting up the drone and maybe starting a time-lapse, all that
kind of stuff. There is one thing that we need to do first. These are
for the bear alarm. I have to put them up now if possible. Yeah, let’s get that
bear alarm up and then it’s time to have some fun. And some coffee! So, last bit. This little phosphor
thing is the one that is hopefully going to scare the bear away if he gets
the idea to come during the night. The reason why these are important on a
place like this is if you don’t have dogs around that can warn you, and
if you’re not three or four persons so you can have a a few hours each
looking for bears, it’s very important to have something that can warn you if you
are in your sleep and the bear is sneaking up here. If you are in
there, and suddenly the bear is sticking his head in, to the tent it might be too
late to scare him away and may be too late to survive. So what
we going to do now is… in the perfect world you would have these
further away from the tent, but it’s really hard to get them very steady here.
This one should do. At least, what I’m going to do, is just to make it
so that if the bear comes in here, I’ll put them this hight, the thing here will go off,
warn me ,and I’ll have the time to get my rifle and my flare gun. Hopefully, the
bear will just run away. Nine out of ten times I have met bears, when I have shot
the flare gun and he hears the bang, he will run away. Or she! The way it
works is, first we put this one on here. I don’t want to put it too high
because the higher we put it the more this will bend, and if we put it too low
the bear can just step over. So around here would be good. Yeah. Very good. Now this one has to be armed, prepared, take this little thing off, we put this
one in, and the way it works is, when this one is taken out, this one
will pop up and bang into this one and this one will fly up. So what we do now
is we make sure that this one is in all the time.
That little thing here is the safety and just before I go to bed I take this
out. As it is now it will not go off. This one goes here, this one goes here. Here we go, now this one is very good. What we do now is to take the little
metal wire here, and go from here over to the next one, and that’ll be the first
bear trap. It’s very important that the safety is in. I’ll
just take this off just so. If this little thing is not in and I
pull too hard, we have problems. Except from having firearms and the
signal gun and the bear trap here, or the flare trap, all that is for safety, but if
you have to use that, the bear is already too close and the situation is
not so nice. So there are a few other things that I always practice
when I’m in bear territory. One of them is to make sure that when I go to the
toilet I go far away from the camp and you can see now I have… no, you cannot
see that, but I can feel that I have the wind in my back, and that means that most
often the bear will come… if he sees me he’ll try to come and go up that way
so he has the the wind in his nose, and he can smell what is going on. Therefore,
what I’m going to do is when I go to the toilet I will go far down there. At the same place as the toilet I will put the leftovers for food and stuff. I only
have freeze-dried food here so nothing can smell, only oats and stuff like that,
but if there’s meat or anything else that smells good, it has to go down away
from the camp. Even having the oats there, I should probably
make a little storage down there. That is what usually attracts them,
the smell of something if they are hungry. So, toilet down there, food down
there, leftovers down there, meaning that if the bear comes up with the wind he
will reach the food and the stuff before he’s actually reaching me and that will
usually make a lot of noise where he is scratching around. You could put
a stick with a pot or something noisy so when he starts to move around there… maybe some strings or a string with some metal in the end, some pots and pans,
whatever you have that can make a noise – some cans, or whatever
you find on the beach, there’s garbage everywhere! Then he will make a
noise and the point in that is just to get a warning before it’s too late.
The tent is good, and set up, the water is here so I don’t have to pick up
another stone, the airport is over there and I want to get the last bags in and
then, here, they got a little wet on the trip, so I have my socks and my shirt
hanging to dry here. I need some coffee now! It’s getting late now, and it’s still
pretty bright. It’s after nine in the evening but soon, very very soon up here on Svalbard it’ll be dark 24 hours a day. It goes
very, very fast now. But it’s beautiful! I got my two cameras that
were doing time lapses, and at least one of them, I think, worked. Yeah, that was amazing! Now I am really tired. It was a
long flight up here yesterday and I only had a few hours of sleep so I’m really,
really tempted to go in and just sleep. But first I have a few things to do – I
have to put up the bear alarm and arm it so that I can sleep with both eyes
closed. Then I have to recharge all my batteries, at least put them in
the charger and in the power bank so that they are fully charged tomorrow
when I wake up. Also, I need to empty all the cards from the time-lapse camera and
from the film camera, and from the few photos I’ve made today so that I
don’t start the day tomorrow with only half capacity on cards and
batteries. So yeah, even though it’s really tempting now to just have a
little cup of coffee and go into the sleeping bag, I have another hour of
work to do but, you know, look around, it’s really, really hard to
complain about anything here. Yes, better get going! When I am emptying my cards here in the
tent with a computer I have very limited power so I try to make the
computer last as long as possible. I can charge it with a solar panel but,
if it’s very cloudy and raining, it’s really bad to run out of power. So what I
do is basically, I create a folder called ‘Svalbard’ and then I have ‘Day One’,
today, ‘Day One’ and then I just make ‘Card One, Two, Three, Four’, and so on, ‘Day Two, Card One, Two, Three’, because then I don’t have to look at the pictures and see what it
is and try to put them into different places, or import to Lightroom or
anything because that will drain the computer from battery. On purpose I’m
using very fast cards. If I have a slow, very slow old SD card, that can take maybe four or five times as long, and that will, of
course, use more battery. Then, when I get back to Longyearbyen and I can plug my computer in, I can import the photos to Lightroom, and then organise them, keyword them and stuff. But that’s not
something I want to go into now! I’m tired so I’m just going to import these
photos, have a single cup of coffee, some water, and then it’s time to arm the
bear alarm, and time to say goodnight. This is different than it used to be!
Here it’s me moving away from the deer!

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