Norway’s Frozen Island

Some haunting and etherial Arctic scenes by photographer Reuben Wu taken on the frozen island of Svalbard in northern Norway. Using a vintage Polaroid and other film cameras, Wu’s images are striking in both their desolation and rough beauty. Via Wired:

The imposing entrance to the Global Seed Vault.

Aurora Borealis lights the sky above the Adventdalen valley. This eight-minute exposure reveals the nearly parallel motion of the stars, due to Svalbard’s proximity to the North Pole.

The tracks of a polar bear, likely male. It is illegal to leave the borders of Longyearbyen without a gun for self-defense.

The last picture Wu took at Svalbard – a Polaroid from the lounge of the most northerly airport in the world.

The abandoned aerial transport station used to convey coal from the mines. While still an active coal mining site, Svalbard’s main industry is now tourism, and coal is transported in trucks.

An aircraft fire simulator used by Longyearbyen Airport crews for practice. The ground is covered in several inches of ice.

The vehicles Wu and his compatriots used to get around. “Probably the closest I’ll ever get to riding an Imperial Speeder Bike on Hoth,” says Wu.
The Noorderlicht, a ship that sails into the Tempelfjord every winter, where it allows the ice to form around it. While here, it is used as a base camp for expeditions. “I stayed outside and played with the huskies as everyone went inside for cookies and a hot drink,” says Wu. “I couldn’t stand the thought of going from ‘extreme outside’ to ‘extreme inside.'”


These antennae form part of the SOUSY Svalbard Radar, a weather monitoring facility. Spotted in waist-high snow on the way out of Longyearbyen.

Wu says of this image, “It was a lot colder than the photograph suggests. The Polaroids need to be dried and stored carefully after developing. Everyone else on the trip was shooting digital while I was struggling with light meters, loading film and storing prints in my jacket.”

The frozen surface of Tempelfjord in Svalbard.

An expired, 80 or less ISO Polaroid of the Northern Lights.