Spitsbergen Reindeer

For me this first week is mainly a week to relax. I don’t have many plans or things I really have to do, but it’s great to be here, experience the Arctic and enjoy the nice atmosphere of this campsite. And if a nice photo opportunity arises, I’ll definitely take it. When I returned from town, I saw a Spitsbergen Reindeer resting next to the campsite. I quickly took my camera and tripod and slowly approached it. The previous two reindeer on the campsite were feeding and moving slowly over the tundra. This meant I could just sit somewhere and let the animals approach me. This is often the best way, as the animals can decide themselves how close they want to get. In this case the reindeer was laying down, so I could wait a long time before it would get any closer to my. So I slowly approached the deer. Waiting now and then to let the animal get used to me and close to the ground, so I didn’t pose a threat to him. This worked out fine and at only a couple of meters I stopped. I took some pictures and filmed a little (even though the animal wasn’t very active) and really enjoyed being so close to such a nice animal. After 30 minutes I decided to retreat slowly so I could leave the Reindeer behind the way I found it. This procedure takes some time, but pictures of undisturbed animals are in my opinion always a lot nicer as ones where you can see the animal is stressed. And, even more important, it’s also a lot better for the animal, as they already have to survive under extreme circumstances.

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.


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