News from the Arctic


Who remembers stouf? Most of you should, as this dude – known among the scientific let’s-take-a-boat-trip-to-the-arctic community as Stéphane T.s – won the 1000th LomoLocation contest. He submitted a plethora of neat images from his last trip to the Canadian Arctic and absolutely convinced our contest jury.

However stouf is not the kind of person who rests on his laurels. On the contrary, he’s on the Amundsen boat again as we speak and shoots this time with the Horizon Perfekt he got for winning the LomoLocation contest. You’ll be updated right here on the results in a few weeks! But hold on: as for now, Stéphane provides us with another bunch of truly breathtaking shots from the arctic. This time they were taken with the Holga. Panoramas and fisheye-lens shots included.

The Amundsen boat that Stéphane is travelling with in Holgarama vision.

To top it all, Herr stouf also sent in his diary notes on the first 4 days on the boat. Go and read the story of this lomographic adventure!

When Holga went in the Arctic

Day 1 : 20 December 2007

02:00 – We leave Québec airport. Our final destination is the Canadian Coast Guard ice-breaker Amundsen, in the middle of the Arctic sea ice. We’re all very excited, especially Ramon and I, because it’s not our first cruise on the Amundsen, and we know what is coming…
But we also know that it is going to be a long trip before reaching the boat. The plane will stop at Winnipeg to take other scientists and take more fuel, and also in Yellowknife for more fuel…

14:00 – From the Nunavik airport, we take twin-hotters to reach the Sachs Harbour airport… We’re about 10 scientists by twin-hotter and we have great fun, it’s shaking, a bit scary, and so noisy that the pilot distributes hear plugs to passengers.

17:00 – We leave Sachs Harbour airport (if you can call this apartment-sized building an airport) by chopper to reach the Amundsen… Here, an important thing to add, is the fact that it’s winter time, so we’re in the polar night, we have only 2 hours of dusk-dawn (we don’t even see the sun) and 22 hours of night…
So we’re in the chopper, outside it’s night, about -30°C and we’re flying over the sea-ice… After five minutes, we can see a big white and orange light in the middle of the ice: the Amundsen. Now we all smile in the chopper, even if we meet for the first time (for some of us), we smile to each other, because we know that we’re living an incredible experience, and also because our endocrine system is pumping adrenaline in our veins… This is a great moment.
The chopper finally reaches the boat surrounded by ice, lands gently on the flight deck, and we finally make our first steps on the Amundsen. Smiling is not enough, Ramon and I just laugh as if we were a bit drunk.

20:00 – After dinner, it’s time for the first scientific meeting. Scientific meetings are directed by the chief scientist, and are moments where we organize the sampling schedule. Every one wants different types of samples depending on their field of science. Physicians need to get on the ice to measure its characteristics, biologists want water samples or living organisms captured with big fishing nets, others are going to release meteorological balloons to make measurements in the atmosphere, and so on… So these meetings are moments where scientists decide when, where and what is going to be sampled, and these decisions are taken with the agreement of the Amundsen commandant who as other priorities, such as not getting definitely trapped in the ice.

00:00 – We fall asleep. Still smiling…

Day 2 : 21 December 2007
Position: 71.54°N / 125.25°W

09:00 – We could wake up late this morning… I feel great and remember that it is today the shortest day of our lives, less than two hours of light… After this day, daytime will increase…
12:00 – We went outside to take some pictures… There is not enough light for a “Normal” speed setting, so I use a cable release, fix my Holga with the tripod clamp on the boat and shoot for 5 seconds… Is it enough? Is it too much? We’ll see that in two months, back on land…

19:30 – During the science meeting, we decided that sampling will start tomorrow… Let’s get ready.

22:45 – We went outside with Steeve, and Loic and saw northern lights… Loic was very excited, just as I was when I saw my first northern lights… And just as me he was excited but didn’t know that they were very diffuse and could be hundred times stronger and more coloured… I just told him that we will see stronger ones later…

23:16 – I go to bed, still smiling.

Day 3 : 22 December 2007
Position: 71.54°N / 125.25°W

12:00 – I joined a team that went in the ice to take ice-cores. We took a ski-doo to be around 50 meters away from the boat. When a team is on the ice, there must be a (licensed) person with a shotgun to protect us from an eventual polar bear attack… I started by taking some pictures, and finished the roll just before my hands start to really hurt because of the cold. My cable release froze and broke, but I think I can fix it. My Holga went fine, I was afraid that the shutter would freeze and break, but it didn’t… So that was an extreme test for the Holga, and the result: you can still take pictures at -40°C while others run out of battery. I love this camera.

Holga 35mm in deep cold.

Day 4 : 23 December 2007
Position: 71.54°N / 125.25°W

10:00 – Here we are. We start moving! So the boat started to move backward and forward, in order to break the ice that was surrounding us. Then, the captain puts all the engines forward and we break ice… On the sides of the boat, huge blocks of ice, about 1 meter thick, are violently pushed away. Sometimes, flaws appear making a black broken line in the white thick ice. Blocks of ice move just like little ice cubes in a glass. Except that we’re a glass surrounded by ice cubes…
And the noise. An incredible noise, there is the vibration from the engines in background, but you constantly hear ice blocks shearing and chocking on the sides of the boat. The whole boat is reacting, sometimes you can hear scary metallic sounds coming from the torsion of the boat itself, just like if we were about to sink… But no. The Amundsen is a strong ice-breaker, making his way in thick ice. Oh, finally, we move…

15:00 – First sampling for the team. We are the zooplankton team, so we use nets and capture zooplankton. Zooplankton are like little shrimps and they are at the basis of the carnivorous food web. So zooplankton eats phytoplankton (algae) and is eaten by fishes which in turn are eaten by bigger predators (birds, seals, polar bears…). This is the way energy flows through the food web. Has we are surrounded by ice, one way to reach water is from what we call the “moon pool”, which is an aperture (higher that the sea level) inside the boat at the front side. So, we’re in the boat, but in contact with the surface of the water. Another way is by digging a hole in the ice…

17:00 – Sunday diner. It is an important moment in the boat. Everyone has to wear his best dresses, and we can buy a bottle of wine. At the end of diner, some of us get together around a table and make jokes. Crew members and scientists are all together and hierarchy is forgotten. Engines stop at 71°14.015 N / 124°11.71°W.

We are curiously waiting for stouf’s Horizon shots when he comes back from his current trip!

Have you been to a similar crazy place on earth and took pictures? Submit your own LomoLocation!

written by severin on 2008-06-18 #news #people #lomolocation-arctic-holga-diary


  1. snoop
    snoop ·

    amazing gallery and pictures! cant wait to see the horizon shots too!

  2. jogintas
    jogintas ·

    yep, these are wonderful shots, as well as the whole trip... SUPERB, oh my God! do not have words... P.S. my question: by submiting lomolocations in betalomoworld, using the new form, which is superb, do we get 10 piggies for a story like in old good times?

  3. azurblue
    azurblue ·

    Gorgeous pics !

  4. champi
    champi ·

    Awesome pics as always!! i wish so hard I could go to these places someday!!

  5. grad
    grad ·

    it's fantastic!!!

  6. grenoouille
    grenoouille ·

    Amazing gallery! And one wish the diary would go on...
    So now Stouf, will you finally reveal the secret of that incredible plankton shot?

  7. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    Simply AMAZING shots and FANTASTIC diary. And I can't wait to see the next shots of the new mission he's actually making again in the arctic!!
    Go Stouf, Go!! :)))

  8. stouf
    stouf ·

    Thanks all !!!
    I'm there again, it's sunny all the day... My horizon is screaming all day long...

    Thanks again for your comments, your opinion is important to me as you are all great photographers !

    LOMO ON !!!

  9. spela
    spela ·

    ajoooj ....waau


  10. shhquiet
    shhquiet ·


  11. rater
    rater ·

    Ahh, reading the diary makes me remember the nice time we had on the boat... you did great photos, I amsure that now with the 24h sun you will be able of getting even better shots!

    Have fun!

  12. dreadlockboy
    dreadlockboy ·

    great!!! :O

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