With our guide Christopher we are getting the first impressions of the Svalbard landscape. With four teams of eager and highly energetic sled dogs we are heading out. The mountainous landscape is under a soft blanket of snow. The silence is interrupted only by the barking and yelping of the dog teams. We are planning to travel up to a glacier and enter through a narrow cave deep into the center of the frozen body of ice.
The dogs had had a good rest before our trip and so the are ready to go. It is all that is on their mind. Everything needs to be tightly tied down on the sleds and before we give the go, we need to tie it down with a “ice hook” so that the dogs don`t take off with the sled by themselves. Once the sled is off the hook, the dogs take off like a bullet. The only way to slow the sled down is to push down on an iron plow-like break that digs itself into the snow.
Once the sled is on the go all the dogs are completely focused on pulling. Every individual wants to do its part and not lack behind. I guess that is what they are bread for. Pulling is what is on their mind. We make it up to the cave. I have little idea of what to expect. As my eyes start to adapt to the darkness I see a wonderful sculptured cave landscape. In some areas water must have melted late in the season and has created incredible ice sculptures. With my flashlight I am painting over the formations, leaving the curtain of my camera open for over one minute. The image that appears on the back of the viewfinder reminds me of a “Cathedral of Ice”.
I had a small tripod with which it was easy to enter some of the narrow cavities. I used a cable release with a lock mechanism so I could keep have exposure times of 1 to 2 minutes. Another key was the more neutral colored LED light of my headlamp. It allowed for a more curate rendering of the colors.http://www.vimeo.com/11043183