A cruise to the Arctic has become an increasingly popular choice for seasoned globetrotters and tourists in the recent years. It accounts for 6% of the northern region of the Earth, spanning across the North Pole and bordering Alaska, Sweden, Greenland, Finland, Iceland, Russia, Canada, and Norway.
But more than just the travellers, the Arctic Circle is also attracting photographers wanting to get a shot of beautiful landscapes, the abundant wildlife, and the presence of indigenous tribes still flourishing. Imagine seeing a sleuth of polar bears roaming around, seeing Arctic Foxes, reindeers, Humpback Whales, and Walruses all enjoying their natural habitat. How about fast-moving ice sheets from the glaciers, windswept tundras, and snow-capped, jagged mountains. That is the Arctic Circle landscape, and it would be a shame not to immortalize it in photos.
Just like with any subject, getting the right photo will take time. You will have to account for the lighting, the movements of your subject, and the environment in which you are taking photos. But with the right tools and these tips, you can get the best photos you can during your trip to the Arctic.
Choose the subject of your photos
Because there are quite a lot of things you can see in the Arctic Circle, you may need to choose one or two subjects to focus on. Will you be taking pictures of the wildlife? Just the landscapes? How about pictures of the everyday life of indigenous tribes or the people living in small towns? Having a focus subject will help you prepare the right tools to bring to get the right shot. You can definitely choose a mix of subjects, like people interacting with the wildlife, or the indigenous tribes who find themselves in small, modern towns. Either way, your purpose is more than just taking a shot. As a photographer, you are also after the story you can create through your photos. So start with a concept, and then choose your subject.
Bring the appropriate lenses
Now that you know what your subject is going to be, it is time to prepare the tools. For this, you can choose any camera you want or used to bringing, because what is important are the lenses. If you are planning to take shots of the wildlife, it would be best to take a zoom lens with you and wide-angle lenses are perfect for taking pictures of the landscape. If you want, you can also bring a tripod with you, especially if you are going to spend an enormous amount of time capturing moments in one place.
This goes without saying: you do not need to splurge for new equipment. Nowadays, your phone can probably take photos that are close to professional grade camera quality. However, if you already have the gear, do not hesitate to bring ones that can help you get the perfect shot.
Remember the rule of thirds
While photography does not have rules set in stone, there are techniques that can be applied across all types of photography. For a trip to the Arctic, the most appropriate of these techniques is the rule of thirds. They say that a photo will look better if there is a certain flow on from other elements in the photo to the subject. So you align the subject one-third of the way up or down and one-third in from the side of the frame. Some people are satisfied with their subjects positioned in the middle of the photo, but this does not give it the personality and texture it deserves. This technique is just something to think about when you are playing with concepts during your trip.
The most important thing to remember, though, is you need a lot of patience if you want to get the perfect shot. You will take hundreds of shots for just one scene, and you might spend a couple of hours just waiting for the right lighting — but the end result will definitely be worth all that effort. You are already in the Arctic, so try to take your sweet time and chill while taking the best photos you can possibly have.