Countdown for Svalbard Norway-Invitational Photo Tours, ADP and Polar Bears International

Posted Jul. 13th, 2011 by Daniel J. Cox

June 10, 2011

My last trip to Svalbard was almost two years ago. Soon I will be there again and this blog post is the beginning of my report from what is an incredible land of ice, water, wildlife and sky. If you’re interested you can read about my last Trip to this amazing wilderness on our  Blog/Corkboard.

A polar bear makes its way over barren rocks surrounded by patches of snow near Svalbard, Norway.

This time my wife Tanya is accompanying me. We’ve incorporated this trip into our Invitational Photo Tours schedule so we’ll be meeting numerous guests who’ve become friends and a few new faces that have never traveled with us before. You can find out more about the details of our cruise in the spectacular waters of Norway by visiting our Invitational Photo Tours web page. Here you will find all the details and if you like  you can even signup for the same adventure yourself for next year. Yep, we’ll be doing it all again in 2012.


Invitational Photo Tours

This adventure has several purposes. First and foremost is to expose our invited guests to one of the most impressive wilderness experiences left on planet earth. To show them what truly is an arctic wilderness adventure, all from the comfort of a luxury sailing yacht. During this time of peaceful exploration we’ll be learning the ins and outs of quality photography, I’ll be teaching each of our guests how to handle their camera’s, what makes for good composition, how to read a histogram for perfect exposures of white animals on white backgrounds and how they can depend on making it happen every time the push the shutter button. We’ll be covering how to archive the massive amount of pictures they’ll be bringing home, what software to try for the best results in printing their photos or preparing them for publication. We’ll be discussing the many different theories on who makes the best equipment, what types of gear are needed for being a successful natural history journalist and other subjects of importance like who makes the best Cabernet Sauvignon and what time in the evening will it be served.

The Arctic Documentary Project (ADP)

Our adventure to Svalbard is also part of my ongoing project for what we’re calling the Arctic Documentary Project also know as ADP. The ADP is on ongoing chronicle of the changing arctic due to a warming climate. Early in our nations history the government helped support important documentary projects of environmental changes, special areas of wilderness yet untouched by man, historical events of major upheavals in our countries social structure and any number of other issues that would be helpful for future generations to review from a historical perspective. Early projects that followed this line of thinking include William Henry Jackson’s documentation of Yellowstone National Park, historical photos of the The Great Depression by the Farm Security Administration, The Dust Bowl Era and numerous other projects of national importance.

Natural Exposures, Inc. and Polar Bears International Blogging Updates

If possible I will be blogging on a regular basis about our adventures in this magical landscape. Not just for my Blog/Corkboard but also for my good friends at Polar Bears International. I say if possible since I’m not positive that the satellite phone I’ve acquired will work as flawlessly as I’m told. We’re hopeful and the tests here in Montana look promising but Svalbard is a long way north and satellites are not as prevalent in that part of the world. I’m crossing my fingers that the photos zip through the internet there as fast as they did during our tests in the parking lot. Cross your fingers. We really want to bring you updates as they happen in nearly real time.

June 11, 2011

My godson Colter and I have been working for the past two days getting cameras, a satellite phone and computers ready for the trip. Unfortunately, my computer karma has not been good these past four weeks. Without having to relive all the details much of it has to do with the hard drive meltdown I recently wrote about in another blog entry.

Colter and Dice having a tailgate party while setting up the satellite phone.

Thank goodness I have a mini geek at my side for some help. Actually. like al; good tings we nourish,  he’s not so mini any more. He’s actually grown to the size of being a good camera bag carrier. Some of you who have been with us in Yellowstone know what I mean. He’s a lot of fun to have around and never one to sit around when help is needed.

ContourHD GPS miniture video camera.

Colter has taken on the job of getting our new CountourHD GPS camera up and running. The first one we bought locally and it wouldn’t connect with my IPhone as an LCD viewing screen. That’s an option on the GPS model. So back to F/11 it went. Picked up the GPS model that works with the IPhone but the firmware wasn’t up to date. OK, so we have to update firmware. That project I grabbed and damned if I didn’t blow the whole camera up. Not literally, but it was certainly dead. We called Contour and they made me feel a little better by telling me it’s not an unusual occurrence when updating firmware. They say, “you bricked it” and I reply, “what does bricked it mean?” They countered with. “it’s dead, you killed it” That finally sank in. Thankfully they packaged a new one up for overnight express and we’re now in the process of doing it all again. Hope this goes better than the first time.I think I’m going to let Colter work on this one.

Our only contact to the outside world. Iridium 9555

Our only contact to the outside world will be the Iridium 9555

The satellite phone went much better. In fact it’s the first technology project in four weeks that actually worked as planned and worked well. I purchased the Iridium 9555 from Blue Cosmo in Seattle. The new 9555 is a dream to use compared to older Iridium models. But the real key is the plan I bought to make sure we can get email and photos out. Our goal is to send back trip reports and pictures so Jill, our studio manager, can get them plugged into the blog and hopefully all interested can stay informed.





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  1. Fred KurtzOn Jul. 14th, 2011

    Dan,I want to thank you for developing the RSS feed so fans of yours can keep up with your corkboard posts with ease. For those who like to follow Natural Exposures, I recommend subscribing to the RSS feed. I subscribed several months ago and am glad I did. You and Tanya have safe travels in Norway and see you in Costa Rica.

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