on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Lights from the Far Far North

Olivier Caire

Olivier Caire

Civil Engineer by trade I discovered photography at the age of 16 when Dad gave me his old Olympus OM-40 to play with, a 35mm semi-automatic film camera mounted with a 50mm f/2.0. Starting with the basics. Ever since that day, photography has been the way for me to combine the cartesian DNA of my Father through precise settings, accurate light measurements and clean composition; with the artistic breaking-the-rules genes of my Mother, all of that brewed in their shared passion for travels and the discovery of new cultures.


Olivier Caire Landscape Photographer

The captain is throwing the anchor for the 10th time at least, I have stopped counting by now. In that part of the fjord, the shores drop really quickly and the chains of our little icebreaker are too short to ensure a safe mooring for the night in that little bay protected from the element. Conrad our captain push the engines back on and we head further north towards Lilliehöökbreen Glacier in hope of a better luck. We are 79 degrees North, the North Pole is 900 kilometres from us…

End of April, it is somewhere around 2.00AM. We have been here for a few days now and with the 24 hours arctic sun, we lost all sense of time in that little life-capsule that is our ship. Ulla Rinman, an 80 feet icebreaker, Conrad her captain and Roger his Second; our little life oasis in the middle of Spitzberg’s beauty and wilderness…

Svalbard is a wind-swept archipelo of islands located just below the north pole where the only predictable thing with the weather is its unpredictability… Crisp blue skies, clouds, snow-storms, the 24 hours sun provides a regular light throughout the day, stronger and warmer at midday; harsher and colder during the « night »… Enough to maintain of photographers

Each weather pattern brings its own light, each more incredible than the other : the deep blue sky of the midday sun, a black sea under a stormy sky, a white-out day during a snowfall, a field of pristine white snow under the midnight sun, the softened light of a cotton-like cloud or the bright blue ice of a glacier under a covered sky. Combine that with the purity of the arctic ocean, the majesty of the mountains and the fragility the glaciers and you will get a sense for the delicate balance and the incredible fragility of that Far North world. The gentleness and sensuality of the lights simply bring to our eyes the fragility of that world and its need for care and protection…

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