Below Zero: Images from the Arctic Circle
by Vicki Jones
28 February - 29 March 2018
About the show
In July 2017 Vicki participated in an expedition for photographers to The Arctic Circle. The intention of the voyage was to witness first-hand the remote ice wilderness, and to have close access to photographing the wildlife: polar bears, walruses, foxes, whales, seals, reindeer and birds.
The expedition departed from the world’s northernmost civilisation, Longyearbyen, on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. About 60% of Svalbard is glaciers, with dramatic jagged mountain peaks, fjords and icebergs that are intensely blue to the eye. The voyage followed the immense Ice Cliff at Brasvellbreen for two hours but it is 180km long and forms part of Svalbard’s and Europe’s largest glacier, Austfonna.
The conditions of the arctic summer allow for ships to push through the ice north of Svalbard to find polar bears living on the drift ice. With 24 hours of sunlight and constant watching from the bridge the group spotted nine polar bears, and were able to photograph four. Vicki photographed from the ship, the zodiacs and on land.
Vicki notes the most memorable moment was watching a spectacular iceberg, image Below Zero 3, float by. Right after, she was lying on the beach watching walruses when two swam right up to her, image Below Zero 8, and looked at her with the same amount of curiosity she had for them.
The two Norwegian scientists in the voyage spoke about the shrinking sea ice and the impact on polar bears. It was once expected that there will be no more sea ice in 10 to 20 years, but that has now been revised to just 10 years.
The beautifully soft arctic light was always spectacular as it mixed with sunshine, fog and heavy snow fall. The sun was lowest in the sky around midnight when it glowed warm on the horizon on this stunning but harsh environment.