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Trip To Ellesmere Island – In Search Of Arctic Wildlife

by Keerat

By Laurie Stone, Editor At Large

 

KEEPING a cool head in the midst of a worldwide pandemic has been a prerequisite for any successful businessman or woman.

So, if you’ve kept your nerve and even managed to boost your prospects and profits in these trying times, how about rewarding yourself with the ultimate test of your ability to stay imperturbable – a ‘chill-out’ adventure holiday that will help recharge your batteries for what lies ahead.

It’s a trip to remote Ellesmere Island in the Canadian High Arctic to photograph some of the most stunningly beautiful and elusive wildlife on the planet.

Run by acclaimed professional photographers David Gibbon and Joshua Holko, the trip of a lifetime will be hoping to capture – on camera of course – white Arctic wolves, Arctic hares, Arctic fox, musk oxen and Polar bears, as well as ptarmigan in their winter plumage and snowy owls.

 

 

The organisers have won countless awards for their polar photography. Joshua, from Australia, was crowned the 2015 Global Arctic Photographer of the Year and has picked up a string of other awards, while UK-born Gibbon was Highly Commended in the prestigious 2020 Nature Photographer of the Year for his Arctic Fox imagery. He also gained a Special Mention in the global Travel Photographer of the Year for the wide-angle Arctic fox photograph, shown here, which was taken in the far north-west of Iceland.

David says: “Ellesmere is unique and that makes it incredibly special and really elevates it to a different level to pretty much any other location. If you’re looking for real adventure on your next overseas trip then this is for you.”

Joshua adds: “It is a remote, isolated and virtually untouched world and it represents a clean slate for wildlife photography. In winter it is very rarely visited and even less rarely photographed.”

 

David Gibbon

Ellesmere Island is a dream location for wildlife photographers. It’s a place many aspire to visit but very few ever do due to the complex logistics involved in getting there.

David explains:

“American Jim Brandenburg and French-born Vincent Munier are the only two photographers who have ever made a serious attempt to capture Ellesmere and we will be following, very carefully, in their footsteps.”

Joshua already runs his own very successful wildlife photography tour company called Wild Nature Travel and has been taking groups of photographers to some incredible places for many years, from Antarctica to Greenland and beyond. His tours regularly sell out and he is a Canon ambassador in Australia.

David also runs his own photography trips.

 

Joshua Holko

“It was seeing Joshua’s incredible work that inspired me to start running trips,” he says. “I made a solo trip to the far north of Iceland in 2016 and since 2017 have run annual winter trips there to photograph Arctic fox.

“My winter Arctic Fox Tours are already sold out for 2022 and 2023 and I only have a few bookings available for 2024.

“After thinking about Ellesmere, I contacted Joshua and we found we got on really well.

“Ellesmere has always been a dream location so I took the idea to Joshua and we agreed to run this tour together. For anyone interested in wildlife photography, this is the ultimate destination. There’s no doubt about it.”

 

 

But will the cold – temperatures could potentially drop to minus 50 degrees – put people off?

“Well, the cold is one aspect of the trip that may deter some people,” says Josh.  “But that is not a problem when you are suitably dressed. As we like to say, ‘there’s no such thing as cold weather… there’s only bad clothing’. Being prepared is the key to dealing with any environmental conditions. We spend a lot of time with our clients before we leave to make sure they have the right clothing to stay warm and comfortable.

“But even more important than the right clothing is safety – and that’s our top priority. We will have a satellite phone so we are always able to contact outside help and we have tried-and-tested tactics to scare off any unwanted Polar bear attention.

 

 

“And you don’t need to be super fit to take part, as clients will be carried around Ellesmere on the back of purpose-built sledges pulled by Snowmobiles.

“However, you will need to love photography and have a genuine spirit of adventure. I think that goes without saying.”

 

EXPEDITION AT A GLANCE

Dates: 14-03-2022 until the 28-03-2022
Duration: 11 Nights/12 Days
Participants: Maximum 4 Photographers plus 2 leaders
Cost: $14,780 USD
Start: Grise fjord, Ellesmere Island
Finish: Grise fjord, Ellesmere Island
Trip Highlights: Arctic wildlife in a Winter snow setting and small group size

ELLESMERE ISLAND IN WINTER IN SEARCH OF THE WHITE WOLF

 

For more information about the 2022 Ellesmere expedition and to book for 2023 go to: info@jholko.com.

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