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Win a Cover Feature, Cool Prizes & Bragging Rights in Quark's Cover Photo Contest


We're working on our 2015.16 Quark Expeditions brochure and want YOU to help us create the perfect polar-themed cover! We're accepting polar-region photo submissions and public votes until July 20, when 12 semi-finalist photos will be reviewed by a panel of celebrity judges.

Three winners will take home amazing prizes (and bragging rights) and have their work featured in our brochure, with the grand prize winner gracing the cover!

If you've taken a cover-worthy shot on one of your Quark Expeditions voyages, you could be eligible for one of these awesome prize packages:

Grand Prize:

Go Pro CameraCover photo

  • A GoPro HERO3+ shockproof, waterproof camera with accessories. With its polycarbonate exoskeleton housing, 11MP and wind-noise reduction, your new GoPro HERO3+ will help you elevate your polar region photography efforts and produce incredible wildlife, scenic and action shots.
  • Your photo featured on the cover of the Quark Expeditions 2015.16 brochure.
  • Serious bragging rights!

Second Prize:

  • An iPad Mini, perfect for polar photography with higher resolution than an HDTV and the ability to produce incredibly detailed, vibrant photos from a 7.9-inch device.
  • Your photo featured in the Quark Expeditions 2015.16 brochure.

Third Prize:

  • An Olympus Tough Digital Camera Adventure Kit, complete with one of the toughest outdoor cameras going, with a case and float strap. Waterproof, shockproof, crushproof and freezeproof, it's made for extreme conditions like those at either pole.
  • Your photo featured in the Quark Expeditions 2015.16 brochure.

How to Enter the Quark Expeditions Cover Photo Contest:

Get your entries in ASAP and share with your friends, family and social networks. The public voting option will determine the top 12 finalists that will be reviewed by our panel of celebrity judges. So go online and encourage everyone to vote for their favorite photos!

To submit your photo, simply visit our Cover Photo Contest on our website or on Facebook to upload your image with a caption before July 20, 2014. Don't worry – if you have more than one amazing, cover-worthy photo, you can submit more than once.

Photos must be portrait layout (vertical) and a minimum resolution of 2700 x 3600 pixels @ 300 dpi. And color photos only please. And photos should have enough empty space at the top for the brochure masthead.

Winners Announced in August 2014

After the field of submissions is narrowed by popular public vote, our team of celebrity judges, alongside members of the Quark Expeditions team, will evaluate the finalist photos and choose the winners!

The judges include:

  • Paul Nicklen; National Geographic Photographer and Polar Expert
  • Jonathan Shackleton; Author, Historian and cousin to Sir Ernest Shackleton
  • Falcon Scott; Builder, Creator, Artisan and grandson of Captain Robert Falcon Scott
  • Chris Hudson; Group Art Editor, National Geographic Traveller

Celebrity Judge

Be sure to check out the results on the Quark Expeditions website and newsletter in early August. And remember, just because your photo wasn’t selected as one of the top three finalists, doesn’t mean your image won’t be featured in one of the brochure pages. Notable mentions may also be featured throughout the brochure, with photographer credits.

Will You Be Quark's Next Cover Photographer?

The contest is open – get your submissions in today and start campaigning for votes! If you caught a polar bear or penguin doing something incredible, or have an icescape you need to share with the world, or think your unique eye has captured an image perfectly encapsulating polar travel – share it with the world!

Visit the contest app to enter today. Good luck and may the best polar photographer win!


Quark interviews Polar Photographer Paul Nicklen


Feature photo by Göran Ehlmé, National Geographic Creative

Can you introduce yourself?

My name is Paul Nicklen and I’m a contributing photographer for National Geographic Magazine. I’m also a polar specialist in communicating the issues of climate change in the Polar Regions.

What drives you to go to the Polar Regions?

I continue to go to both the Arctic and Antarctica because they are the fastest climates changing in the world. They are also the most pristine, beautiful and least visited by people in the world. In order for change to happen, people need to be connected to this ecosystem. Not everyone is able to see these regions first-hand, so I need to bring these images to them. These images have to be intimate, powerful and emotive to bring people into this world that I care so much about.

What are the three lenses always in your camera bag?

When I travel, I would make sure I have 16-35mm wide-angle lens. It would capture the vastness of the Arctic or Antarctica. I love to be really close to my subject, and the closer I am and the wider I am it creates this three-dimensional feeling and sort of transports you into that image. I also pack a 24-70mm for portraits of people like the Inuit, animals like penguins and seals. And then I like to bring something a little longer like the 80-400mm or 100-400mm or the 70-200mm. Then you’re covered from 16mm to 300mm.


Do you use any specific filters,like polarized filters?

To me, if you are using a filter you are trying to mask something that’s not there. The luxury I have being an assignment photographer, I visualize the picture I want to make and I will sit there for weeks or months until the conditions I want are right. People on Quark’s voyages are going to see amazing things but they are not in control of their own time all the time. So yes bring a filter, but I wouldn't go beyond bringing anything more than a polarizer.


Paul Nicklen Photographer Paul Nicklen with Quark Expeditions President Hans Lagerweij

What’s your advice for passengers traveling with Quark?

My number one advice for people going on a Quark trip is put your camera down and take pictures with your mind as well. You have to really soak it all up; a picture never can capture what’s in front of you. Yes take pictures, but don’t be forcing yourself to sit there and shoot a whole book.

How do you protect you gear when you’re in such harsh conditions like the Polar Regions?

Most of the gear nowadays is fairly weatherproof. Don’t get excessive rain or salt on it; make sure you dry it off when you get inside. The biggest thing is, say we have a really cold, windy and wet day, don’t just bring your camera inside and set it out in the heat. That’s when you get condensation and that’s when the camera gets wet and it gets into the lenses. You want to bring the camera into your room and throw a towel or a jacket on it and let it acclimate slowly to the room temperature. Sometimes I will keep my gear in a pelican case and when I bring it back inside I will just leave it in the pelican case. This way the transfer of heat is very slow. Also keep extra batteries in you jacket, and keep your batteries warm.

As a photographer, when do you know you've achieved THE shot? Is it the moment you take it, after an hour or so of shooting or only after reviewing all the pictures on your laptop?

I never know that I have the shot until I have been through the entire editing process. I did not like the cover shot of the Spirit Bear story at all. I would have thrown it away. But, the boss liked it and it became popular. I knew instantly, the second I got the cover of Polar Obsession [book] however.

How do you celebrate success – the achievement of THE shot?

When I get the shot, it is incredibly powerful but not a moment that I normally share. I usually give thanks to anyone and everyone around me and thank nature.

Join Paul on Quark’s Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica November 17, 2014 – December 6, 2014, voyage.




Quark Doctor Puts her Stamp on Nature Photography


For British doctor, Dr. Samantha Crimmin, one of Quark's onboard doctors, work and play have dovetailed in the most remarkable of ways.

The emergency medicine doctor, and amateur photographer, spent a year in South Georgia working as a medical officer for the British Antarctic Survey and given the scant population on the island, found she had lots of time on her hands. "To make up for the lack of patients, the island’s doctor becomes an apprentice in all trades... I weighed penguins and fur seal pups. I drove boats, learnt to bake bread, sold stamps and ran a post office. I learnt photography. I met some amazing people and was fortunate enough to spend a year in a very special place," said Dr. Crimmin.

In Dr. Crimmin's case, "learning photography" meant capturing some of the most incredible photos of this wildlife paradise you've ever seen. Though judging by the South Georgia landscape -- also known as the Galapagos of the Poles -- it's hard to imagine that anyone can't take beautiful photographs, really.

Recently, some of her long-exposure photos of the night sky were selected by the South Georgia government to become official stamps. Leaving her shutter open for 30 seconds at a time for a two-hour period, Dr. Crimmin was able to capture the trail the stars left behind them. And with the nearest light pollution being more than 800 miles (1300 km) away, the end result is something you need to see for yourself.

South Georgia government has used another night sky image of Dr. Samantha Crimmin for the church centenary stamp issue.


Church Centenary Stamp Church centenary stamp

To view more of Dr. Samantha Crimmin's stunning photograpghy visit: A year on South Georgia by Sam Crimmin, Quark Expedition Doctor






Quark 2014.15 New Brochure: Behind the Scenes


My name is Wendy Fowler and I’m a graphic designer at Scott Thornley + Company in Toronto, Canada. I’ve designed the brochure for Quark Expeditions for the last three seasons. Creating this lovely booklet though is really a group effort. The team here at STC includes a production manager, a proofreader, a photo editor/colour specialist, an account manager, and our creative director. Not to mention, of course, the team at Quark Expeditions with whom we work closely. Creating the brochure is an exciting time around the studio, and it's always rewarding to see the final product.



Photos that say: “WOW! I want to experience that.”

The most important job with each brochure is organizing and selecting the vast amount of expedition photography that comes in from the travellers. Quark is fortunate to have many passengers from all around the world who are also amazing photographers. The brochure is a great opportunity to feature some of these beautiful images. It’s the passenger’s point of view that truly reinforces the authenticity and uniqueness of the expeditions: the precious one-on-one time with a Gentoo penguin in the Antarctic Peninsula, or a couple marvelling at the Northern Lights in Eastern Greenland. Such visual memories are special because they show the traveller interacting with nature in a very personal and meaningful way.




A graphic designer can’t ask for better photographs than these!

The submissions were really unbelievable this year. We received so many unexpected gems: a kayaker amongst curious Minke whales, or orcas following a Zodiac. And of course our fabulous cover shot: a Spitsbergen polar bear, captured in the most beautiful light and pristine ice.


Brochure Cover


Tips for the Quark adventurer — we want to feature YOUR amazing images

One of the heartbreaking parts of my job is finding a great photo, only to discover the resolution is too low, or it's too dark or grainy. So, for all travellers ready to depart on an extraordinary Quark polar adventure, here are a few tips:

• We are always looking for that special interaction between traveller and wildlife;

• The higher resolution the photo, the better – set your picture quality to the largest setting;

• If the photo is too dark or grainy, we can't use it;

• We love gorgeous landscapes, especially pristine ice and blue skies;

• We also love day-to-day life aboard the ship, especially for our ‘Day in the Life’ features;

• Quark Expeditions is very thankful that their passengers share their beautiful photography. Please include your full name in your photo submissions to ensure we include you in the photography credit listing on the inside back cover.

Thank you Quark Expeditions

I feel very fortunate to work on such a special project here at Scott Thornley + Company. I can’t wait to see all the photos for next year, especially from the Arctic destinations and Canadian trips that are new to this season. I’ve learned a lot about these regions, not just from studying the photography, but by becoming fully immersed in all of the details and stories. I think it’s finally time to start planning for my trip. But, the most difficult decision is going to be... Arctic or Antarctica?



Epic High Arctic: Baffin Island Explorer via Fury and Hecla 2014



An exploration of historic Canadian sites in the Arctic, combined with abundant wildlife equals one special Arctic expedition. This in-depth adventure provides fantastic opportunities for seeing all of the Arctic’s iconic creatures, including polar bears.


Photo taken at the historic Hudson Bay Company trading post on Day 4 at Fort Ross.

Expedition in Brief:

Arctic wildlife – polar bears, whales, and massive sea bird colonies

Experience the sites of the rarely traversed Fury & Hecla Strait

Traditional Inuit Communities

Remote National Historic Sites of Canada

Cape Dorset, Canada’s Capital of Inuit Art

An abandoned Hudson’s Bay Trading Post

tundra hiking for all fitness levels

Zodiac cruising

Optional kayak adventure option on selected voyages

For more information on this incredible new voyage visit: Epic High Arctic: Baffin Island Explorer via Fury and Hecla 2014


Sea Spirit: The Ultimate in Comfort Expedition


Polar expeditions, by nature, are meant to be immersive, explorative adventures enabling passengers to truly get up close and personal with the wildlife and nature of these remote destinations. Some say that the key difference with expedition travel is that it’s all about the destination – not the ship. However, all Polar exploration ships are not created equal. True expedition should not come at the cost of personal comfort; the environment may be harsh and inhospitable, but your ship should be a welcome haven.

Sea Spirit

Although purpose-built for expedition cruising, Quark’s all-inclusive ship, Sea Spirit, is the epitome of comfort and class, carrying out the same expedition experience as those former Russian scientific vessels Quark once operated, however using significantly less fuel then we used to consume. Of course, less fuel means a lighter carbon footprint. Sea Spirit is also capable of carrying out all those hallmarks of expedition cruising such as flexibility of changing course or altering plans to take advantage of weather, sea conditions, wildlife sightings or any other serendipitous occasion.

Sea Spirit

No comfort is spared aboard this intimate but spacious luxury expedition ship, which carries just 114 passengers with an seasoned expedition team of historians, biologists and ornithologists. Your expedition will be led by two of the most seasoned Expedition Leaders, Cheli Larsen and Shane Evoy for the Antarctic 2013.14 season. The smaller number of passengers also means those interested in adventure options such as kayaking can enjoy the intimacy of smaller group outings.

Sea Spirit’s amenities do set it apart from the rest of Quark’s fleet. The all-inclusive beverages feature allows guests the freedom to enjoy their trip without being concerned about the final bill, and three categories of generously-sized cabins — are an absolute premium selling feature – especially for Quark’s longer itineraries.

Sea Spirit SuiteSea Spirit

Whatever your preferred travel style, Quark has a diverse fleet of modern ships to ensure every passenger experiences true expedition in comfort.


Guest Post: Antarctica through the Eyes of an Arctic Aficionado by Andrew White


As someone who has truly been bitten by the Arctic bug, I was chomping at the bit to see Antarctica. And as the newest member of the Quark sales team, I was looking forward to seeing a Quark expedition in action. Like most salespeople it is easier to sell something you have experienced and even easier if you are genuinely passionate about it. Would it stack up to my experiences in the Arctic? Would I be able to sell Antarctica as passionately as I can sell the Arctic? And more importantly, would I get sick crossing the Drake Passage? (Yes. Yes. And NO!)

I overheard one passenger say that she had brought four books to read during the voyage but there was so much to do and so much to see that she didn't have time to crack open even the first book. To me, that sums up the experience of seeing Antarctica. A Quark Expeditions trip to Antarctica is sensory overload and I definitely ‘came back different.’ Based on the many conversations I had with guests as well as having read all the customer feedback surveys, I wasn't the only one! Not only did I return with friendships and memories that I will take to my grave but I also returned with a profound respect and sense of deep appreciation for the world’s last great wilderness.

Iceberg Antarctica

Ice: In Antarctica, it’s all about scale and colour of these amazing icescapes. The blue ice totally “blew” me away. They may measure in excess of 25 cubic miles whereas the Arctic masses are measured in mere yards. 90% of the all the ice and 70% of all the fresh water on the planet is in Antarctica, these stats are quite staggering and completely dwarf ice caps as massive as even those found in Greenland. But stats are stats; you need to experience the sheer scale of enormity, the texture, the colour and the movement of the ice – photos and video simply don’t capture its immensity.

Penguins Antarctica

Wildlife: To see wildlife in Antarctica you just have to be there! Thousands of penguins, hundreds of seals, plenty of whales and unique bird life galore – the soaring albatross or the leopard seal patrolling the shore will stay in my memory forever. To stand in the middle of a large penguin colony and witness parents taking turns waddling from their nest to the water to gather enough krill (which can take days), to then return to find their hungry chicks (amongst thousands of others) and regurgitate the krill into their chick’s mouths is a sight to behold; the 'circle of life' takes on a new meaning. If frequency of sighting and quantity of wildlife is high on your list then Antarctica is your destination. When I guide in the Arctic I tell guests that we cannot absolutely guarantee we will see polar bears, narwhals, musk ox, belugas, wolf and walrus (which is what makes those sightings so unique and magical), BUT seeing an abundance of wildlife in Antarctica on every excursion is guaranteed!

Needless to say, I can’t wait until my next trip – I have been well and truly bitten by the Antarctic bug. Bring on South Georgia, the Falklands, and let’s cross the circle while we’re at it. This trip was just the tip of the iceberg (pardon the pun). And yes, now I am more than a salesperson for Quark, I am an evangelist!

For anyone considering a trip to Antarctica I defy you to look at photos and watch video and not feel compelled to visit this uniquely special part of the world. And if that still doesn't do it for you, call me directly and I would be happy to share first-hand what to expect (1.416.645.8252).


A time to reflect...


“We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey.” – John Hope Franklin




The Spectacular Lemaire Channel


7 miles of sheer beauty!

Renowned as one of the most beautiful parts of the world, the Lemaire Channel runs between the mainland of the Antarctic peninsula and Booth Island, off the Graham Coast.


Photo courtesy of award-winning photographer Catalin Marin www.momentaryawe.com/blog


Scenic Waters


If only we could walk on water! This stunning photo was captured in July 2011 on one of our amazing Spitsbergen Expeditions.


Photo credit: Passenger Al Gellin

Got an ice photo of your own to share? Post it to twitter and tag with #IcePhoto! Follow Quark Expeditions on twitter @quarkexpedition where we share photos and videos and chat about all things polar!

Follow us: @QuarkExpedition on Twitter | QuarkExpeditions on Facebook


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