Mighty Fine Blog

A word from our partners in Andenes - Part 3 - Top Tips

Northern Lights in VesteralenWe spoke to Marten about what he thought would be the best tips for photographing wildlife in Vesteralen. He was pretty busy, so it is brief but he did emphasize that he would be more than happy to expand on these if you wanted to visit Vesterålen on either our Ultimate Whale Watching or Orca Whale Watching holidays.

Tips for visiting Vesterålen
“Climate and clothing: Vesterålen has a maritime climate with mild winters (-5 to +8 degrees Celsius) and summer (+5 to +25 degrees Celsius), so Norwegians wear mostly woollen clothing, in multiple layers. This means you can easily adjust to changes in temperature by putting on or removing clothing. Other man-made wicking materials found in outdoor clothing are also excellent. When you are out on the RIB you need to wrap up warm. While in summer you can, sometimes, get away with summer clothes you will also need to make sure you have autumn clothing as well. “


Tips for your cameras and equipment: 
1. Set your white balance between 5000 and 8000 Kelvin (see the instruction booklet of your camera).
humpback whale2. Although the guide will make sure the boat is as stable as possible having good balance yourself is an advantage. The combined movement of the boat and the animals can make photographing wildlife a real challenge. 
3. Take more than one trip, that way you can get used to the behaviour of the animals and the motion of the boat.
4. Allow time yourself time to watch the animals without the camera. Some people can get quite emotional when they see them and you will give yourself time to study them. Regularly looking at the landscape without the camera can also help prevent motion sickness.
5. For the whales in the summer you can manage well with a lens between 200 and 400 mm and a “bright” (wide aperture) lens is a nice to have, but not necessary.
6. For bird photography, a teleconverter can be very useful, particularly if you are not in possession of an expensive 600 or 800mm lens.
7. In the winter, a lens between 100 and 200 mm to get pictures of the humpback and killer whales is recommended.
8. In the winter controlling your brightness is a must, from F2.8 and below is highly recommended at any time that the sun is not high in the sky.
9. During the winter nights, a wide angle lens for the Northern Lights will be useful.

 

20. May 2015 by Emma Smith

A word from our partners in Andenes - Part 2 - The Wildlife Opportunities

We asked Marten for his opinion on the best wildlife to keep an eye out for on Andenes, why it is best, and when would be a good time to see it?

wildlife photographer Marten Bril"Sightings of natural phenomena, wildlife's most beautiful moments, are best realized in Vesteralen, because, as with all animals.... you look for them where the food is."

Puffins
The photogenic puffins, visit Andenes, in their thousands. They feast on the fish, but in turn they provide food for the equally interesting eagles.  Vesteralen is one of the best places in Europe to see them. It is the most normal thing in the world, to come across at least a handful every day. It is almost like being in your own nature documentary.

Tent pegs?
The local nickname for the herring. Mind you, we are talking about the great Norwegian herring and not small guppies! Every winter, the "pegs" seek shelter in the Norwegian fjords south of Tromsø and north of Andenes.  The result is that orca, fin and humpback whales regularly put in an appearance. In Andfjord, in particular, over the last three years, the herring catch by whales has been recorded by many a photographer.

Killer whales

Getting the perfect whale picture is best done in Andfjord, on a RIB boat, at sea level, with the beautiful backdrop of fjords and snowy peaked mountains as a backdrop. You are closer to the whales. You are at their level! Your adrenaline level rises when you're surrounded by killer whales and humpback whales waving their impressive tail to the boat (without touching it, incidentally).
Your whales pictures will have a variety of different backgrounds, a red horizon, purples, pastels and blues, or gray if it is cloudy.  I've never seen a photographer come off the boat bored and they "fizz" with excitement when they dive or snorkel with them. You might not think it, but photographers also have feelings, and they often have to wipe the tears of joy from their masks so they can see :)."

So what times of year should I go?

whale surfacing

"For Whales: Spring and summer: Whale safaris are best from early May until September. At this time, the male sperm whales forage around Andenes, and you also have a chance to see fin and humpback whales and dolphins, sometimes even killer whales. Autumn and winter: killer whales, fin whales and humpback whales follow the herring towards Andfjord. So when the herring are seen swimming into the fjords, the whales are there to be seen. Best between mid-November and mid-February, while January, because the days are getting longer, is a top month!
For Birds: Spring and summer: puffins, eagles, several species of other predators, guillemots, kittiwakes, owls and more.
Autumn and winter: eagles, owls and king eider."

 

 

8. May 2015 by Emma Smith

What a Mighty Fine Collection of Canada Holidays!

The Mighty Fine Company has updated its range of holidays in Canada and I, for one, cannot wait to get out on one of them! From Polar Bear watching to helicopter rides to the stunning Northern Lights display, you really will feel spoilt for choice! Take a look…

 

Blueberry Lake
Here you can enjoy a vast array of activities which are fun for people of all ages. This, in combination with the areas beautiful scenery means you get excitement and an enticing backdrop all in one trip. Take the Luxury Canada Winter Adventure and enjoy snow-based activities such as cross-country skiing, ice fishing and more. Alternatively, take the Canadian Summer Adventure Holiday and indulge in whitewater rafting and off road buggy tours, amongst other exciting summer activities.

 

The Rocky Mountains
Visit the awe striking ‘Rockies’ and be thrilled by the spectacular attractions which spread through North America and Canada. Travel by rail, road and the famous Rocky Mountaineer as you discover Banff, Vancouver and so much more! Check out the Canadian Rockies Rail Tour for your chance to explore by rail on the Rocky Mountaineer plus engage in a thrilling Helicopter Tour. Explore the area on the Wild West Rockies Self Drive where you’ll spend four nights in traditional wild west style ranches. Take the Luxury Rockies Fly Drive where you’ll not only have the chance to explore your stunning surroundings, but you’ll also stay in the lap of luxury at a beautiful waterside lodge.

 

The Northern Lights
Churchill in Canada is one of the best places in the world to view the surreal Aurora Borealis due to its northerliness. On the Northern Lights in Canada tour you make the most of this great Northern Lights spotting location as you embark on four night time safaris in search of the stunning vision. Also, try your hand at exciting snow-based activities such as dogsledding and snowshoeing.

 

Niagara Falls and Toronto
On the Toronto and Niagara Falls Holiday, spend eight days enjoying the stunning highlights of Toronto and the surrounding area. Visit natures stunning creation, Niagara Falls, and gaze in wonderment at its beauty. Spend a day touring the nearby winery and later, tasting the delicious local wines.

 

 

 

Canada by Trans Rail
Explore Canada in unique style on the Trans Canada Rail Holiday as the one-of-a-kind Rocky Mountaineer leads you from west to east stopping at truly remarkable attractions. Banff National Park offers hot spring reserves and unparalleled mountain scenery for you to enjoy. The clear waters of Lake Louise allow for some fantastic landscape photograph opportunities.

 

Polar Bear Watching
Visit the ‘Polar Bear Capital of the World’ in Churchill where you’ll feast your eyes on the majestic, snowy coloured animals which reside in the area. Be overwhelmed by their presence as your Tundra Buggy transport gets within inches of the great white bears. The Polar Bear Watching Holiday is ideal for wildlife lovers as it allows you to spend three full days on board the buggy ensuring that you have ample opportunities to enjoy this unique vision. Keen photographers should take the Polar Bear Photography Holiday for their chance to improve their skills with the help of a professional photographer and capture the shot of a lifetime.

 

Canadian Wildlife
Aside from Polar Bears, Canada offers a whole host of stunning wildlife for you to discover. The Polar Bears closest living relative, the Black Bear, resides in western areas of Canada along with other rare animals such as the Bald Eagle. On the Wildlife Holiday in British Columbia adventure you’ll travel by floatplane to the fantastic Knight Inlet Lodge where you’ll spend three days Bear watching. You’ll also enjoy two separate Whale watching activities.

Canadian Fjords and the Sunshine Coast
Travel by land and sea as you discover sublime Canadian Fjords, striking Black Bears and fascinating Whales on the Canada Sunshine Coast Self Drive Holiday. Travel on a round trip from Vancouver visiting the Sunshine Coast and many other places along the way. Also, take part in a thrilling Black Bear watching safari and an exciting Whale watching safari.

 

Snow Hotel in Québec
Feast your eyes on a truly remarkable piece of architecture as you visit the amazing Hôtel de Glace in Québec. As the hotel melts every summer, a new building is created every year for tourists to enjoy. The structure is made solely from ice and snow and consists of fantastic artistic carvings and mood lighting. A trip to the Snow Hotel Quebec not only allows you to stay in this marvellous creation but also features an exciting dog sledding activity and gives you some time exploring the only walled city north of Mexico, Québec.

With so much choice, it’s hard to decide! Take a look at the full selection of new Canadian getaways and see which trip is right for you.

16. July 2014 by Joanne Wilson

Capturing the Magic of the City

The classic cityscape photo is an iconic feature of the photography industry, whether it’s the city lights shining under a night sky, a captured moment of the bustle of city life or the powerful image of some of your location’s most impressive architecture. However, sensational as these shots can be to look at, attempts at taking your own often err towards the frustrating rather than the fantastic. A common complaint amongst photography enthusiasts is that their pictures capture the look of the city but none of the feel of it, that unlike the images that inspired them, their attempts lack that aura of city life frozen in a heartbeat.

It’s a problem I’ve run into more than once and one I’ve finally found a solution to – a solution that comes in in four steps:

1. subject
2. equipment
3. camera settings
4. technique.

Get these four right and you’ve got yourself the perfect city photo! More...

9. January 2014 by James Walker

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