I spent a fascinating evening this week at a presentation by Kristian Bogner, a Canadian master photographer just back from an expedition to the Antarctic. The event was presented by Nikon Canada, and both the subject matter and the sponsor were very à propos. Because in a few weeks, courtesy of Nikon Canada, I’ll also be taking photographs at the end of the earth – though the opposite one. The Travelling Boomer is going to the Arctic!
First, a little more on the Tuesday night event. It was part of the annual Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, held in Toronto each May. The festival features the work of some of Canada’s best photographers. That includes Kristian Bogner, whose photo assignments take him around the world. And recently they took him to the Antarctic, as part of an expedition mounted by the True Patriot Love Foundation, which brings together injured Canadian soldiers and business leaders.
The expedition’s goal was to climb the Vinson Massive, the highest mountain in Antarctica and one of the world’s Seven Summits — mission accomplished. And the images he brought back were amazing: stony peaks towering over ghostly white landscapes, morning sunlight softening snow cliffs into sensuous sculptures, mountain climbers tracing long, curving lines across the pristine slopes.
Still, they were no more amazing than the news I received a week or so ago when I opened an e-mail from Nikon Canada. It was a message informing me that they had chosen me to be their designated photo-journalist on a remarkable cruise called Heart of the Arctic 2016, operated by the Adventure Canada tour company. By happy coincidence, Adventure Canada is headquartered in Port Credit, Ontario, my home town.
The cruise will take me to places most people never see in a lifetime. Starting in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, our ship will cruise down one of the world’s longest fjords to explore the island’s west coast, with a visit to Nuuk, Greenland’s capital. Then, after crossing the Davis Strait, we’ll sail along the rugged coasts of Baffin Island and Nunavik, stopping at places with names like Pangnirtung, Kimmirut and Kangiqsujuaq.
We’ll meet the local Inuit people, experience their culture, sample the local dishes, and importantly, meet the artists who produce the region’s famous art. Adventure Canada calls the voyage “our most community- and art-focused Arctic expedition”, and fittingly, it includes a visit to Kinngait, or Cape Dorset, considered the Inuit art capital of the world.
Along the way, there’ll be opportunities to see and photograph the Arctic wildlife, from musk oxen and polar bears to whales and thick-billed murres. And that will provide an opportunity to use some of Nikon’s newest cameras and lenses in a region known for its extreme conditions – though they’re built to stand up to the challenge, as Kristian Bogner demonstrated.
There are a few weeks remaining till my ship sets sail, and lots of preparations to make. I’m expecting 24-hour sunlight, since we’ll be visiting very close to the summer solstice, but as for the weather and the conditions, there’s a lot to learn. I’m looking forward to it.
By the time this trip is over, I’ll have travelled and photographed wildlife in the Galapagos Islands and the Arctic in the same year — what a life. Well, somebody’s got to do it …
Photo at top by Mike Beedell. Arctic photos courtesy of Adventure Canada