I’m very excited to announce a new photo tour to Svalbard this winter in April 2017! As a guide, I will be accompanied by a fantastic crew of expedition guides. We will travel both by expedition boat and snow scooters. Our aim? To photograph the wonderful white winter landscapes of Svalbard and its wildlife such as Polar bears, Arctic foxes, Svalbard reindeer, whales and more.
My grandfather had a big collection of nature encyclopedia. As a child, I couldn’t stop looking at all the pictures in these books. And of all the places described, it was always most enchanted by the islands of the Galapagos. They seemed otherworldly, and definitely not a destination you could get to. Ever.
Fast forward to 2016, when I was offered the possibility to go and explore the Galapagos in autumn! Needless to say, I did not hesitate for a moment.
Too much travelling last year … so I ended up having a great arrear in editing and publishing my pictures. Many might not resurface during the first years, but hey … As long as we are having fun in the field and shooting fantastic wildlife and nature. And that’s exactly what we did last summer in Svalbard!
IN IN IN! That was the signal to jump in the water, given by our Scottish captain, Cam. With water in my ears, his accent was even harder to understand, but eventually, we got to talk quite a bit. IN!!! I was sitting on the side of the boat fully prepared. Dressed up in a warm wetsuit, flippers, diving mask, snorkel and my photo gear in underwater housing, ready to shoot some sharks!
So this is what icebergs look like! That was my first thought when we reached the Greenland coast. I’m pretty familiar with Svalbard’s glaciers, and they are stunning. But nothing compares to the huge glaciers of Greenland!
I set my record for fastest trip ever! I arrived in Akureyri, Iceland on the 12th of September and had to leave on the 14th. The 15th I was guiding a group to Finland. This gave me roughly 24 hours of light to shoot. I had planned too much, so only half my plan worked out. But I can’t complain.
I just had to look at the map and measured the distance: the closest nest to my home was a mere 3,5 kilometres away! What a situation … Ok, I had seen short-eared owls in my home region during winter, but breeding, who would have expected that?
Of course, I didn’t only photograph great crested grebes from the floating hide in Les Dombes (see last blog post). I was quite amazed to discover so many different species. The breeding season was slowly ending and the first waders were already arriving. Ducks started to moult and herons congregated. So there were lots of subjects to shoot. Even young kingfishers were flying around and muskrats were foraging at the borders of the lakes. Thousands of frogs played an impressive concert every evening.
Last June, I spent two weeks in France photographing birds from the floating hide. Thanks to my friend Sylvain Hello, I was able to guide two groups in the lake-rich area Les Dombes. Sylvain arranged permission to enter the lakes with the floating hide. These artificial lakes have been used to breed carp fish since the Middle Ages, and are very rich in birdlife today. Several species of grebes, herons, ducks and waders are found, but it was mainly the great crested grebe that drew my attention. So I worked hard to capture the essence of this bird.
I just spent two weeks in one of my favourite places on the planet: Svalbard. I was privileged to guide a wonderful and brave group of photographers during the first week and showed them all the great things Svalbard has to offer. I’m sure they all returned back home with lots of lasting impressions!
Last week I spent some days with the Dalmatian pelicans in Greece, joined by a group of photographers that I was guiding. It was my third time with these great birds and I was looking forward to get wing-beaten again, every time they get up too close. Last year my glasses flew off my head and I’d had quite a headache. Yes, I wanted more of that!