Whales, bears and walrus captured in the eye of a lens

josh harriosn
josh harriosn

Driffield’s Josh Harrison is a famililiar face on the streets of the town as he helps his father Mally with a window cleaning round.

ButJosh’s real passions are photography and travel.

polar bear

polar bear

He got to combine the two during a special trip to the frozen North Atlantic, where he got the opportunity to photograph the kind of wildlife that most people only see in zoos.

Here, he recounts his trip:

“My trip to Spitsbergen in 2010 with a company called Aqua-Firma was pretty incredible and I was well aware that not every trip is that lucky so I went with no expectations of what we would see.

“Having said that, the luck appeared to be with us again for the 2013 trip as well. The first great experience occurred in the sea ice in the North Atlantic, between Jan Mayen and Spitsbergen, when we encountered a moulting colony of Harp Seals. There were thousands of them dotted on icebergs for miles around and some did not even wake up from their evening nap as our captain expertly drifted the ship through the ice.

“A few days later as we headed up the North West coast of Spitsbergen, we woke up to a beautiful sunny morning and a crystal clear sea, which was full of Beluga Whales. There are places around Siberia where they are known to gather in large numbers but to see a small pod round Spitsbergen is quite lucky but we had possibly hundreds of them, some swimming only metres from the ship.

“Our luck with the Polar Bears had not been as good this time but we did still manage to get relatively close to a lone male bear walking along the shore and a mother and cub sleeping on a small island in one of the fjords. It was on our way out of the fjord that we came across five or six Fin Whales feeding in the shallows. Fin Whales are one of biggest whale species and as they swam round us in the clear waters you could see how easily these massive creatures moved through the water. We stayed with them for about 40mins and then left them to carry on feeding.

“The sea ice had meant we could not reach some area’s in North Spitsbergen but it had also given us great opportunities to observe Seals, Walrus, Bears, Whales and the countless bird species that make use of the moving ice and the sheltered fjords of Spitsbergen.

“My next Arctic Photography Exhibition will take place at the Theatre Royal in York from 15 October until the 25 November. It is a public exhibition and is free to attend. There will also be a launch evening for the exhibition and if you are interested in attending please contact me for more details.”

For contact information and more photos please visit my website, www.joshharrisonphotography.co.uk
Shown here are a selection of the best images captured by Josh on his trip. Pictures of Josh courtesy of Pete Gwatkin, Graham Gashmuir and Katrin Schlegel.