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Meet Konsta Punkka – Expert Wildlife & Adventure Photographer

Meet Konsta Punkka – Expert Wildlife & Adventure Photographer

An Interview with Konsta Punkka

In this interview, Konsta unveils his photographic background and passion, along with his profound fascination with the Arctic, particularly Svalbard. If you’re eager to experience the magical autumn light, encounter remarkable wildlife like polar bears, arctic foxes, and walruses, and witness Europe’s largest ice cap, Austfonna, then don’t miss the opportunity to join Konsta on one of our exclusive photo tours in Svalbard.

Please introduce yourself.

My name is Konsta Punkka, and I’m a Finnish wildlife and adventure photographer.

What is your background and passion as a photographer?

I have been involved in photography for the past 15 years. Initially, I began as a commercial music photographer, but my deep love for nature and wildlife gradually drew me towards spending more time in natural settings. This ultimately led me to become a full-time wildlife and nature photographer. My specialization lies in capturing intimate portraits of wildlife and photographing them in their natural habitats.

See Konsta’s work on Instagram

Konsta Punkka

What drew you to the Arctic, particularly Svalbard, as a photographer?

Coming from Finland, where the northern regions hold a special appeal to me, I find myself more inclined towards spending time in cold environments rather than warm ones. As a result, Svalbard naturally became an intriguing destination for me about ten years ago. Over the years, I have visited Svalbard multiple times during both the summer months and the harsh winter. However, the primary reason behind my visits as a photographer is to utilize my storytelling abilities and photographs to showcase the beauty and fragility of the Arctic to my audience. By doing so, I hope to bring about a change in people’s perspectives regarding climate change.

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Why is a small expedition vessel the best way to visit Svalbard as a photographer?

When it comes to traveling in Svalbard, using a small expedition vessel is essential. Each day presents different opportunities and surprises, making it unpredictable as to what you might encounter. Therefore, utilizing a small vessel with a smaller crew allows for greater flexibility in terms of the schedule and provides better opportunities for incredible wildlife encounters.

Arctic fox Konsta Punkka

What wildlife encounters can I expect on a photo tour, and what are your favorite wildlife photography tips?

During this photo tour, participants have a wonderful chance to observe various mammal and arctic bird species along the way. We can expect to see walruses, whales, polar bears, and arctic foxes, all bathed in beautiful autumnal light. Whenever we spot wildlife, I often take a moment to appreciate the scene before capturing the first photos. While capturing intimate portraits is an important aspect of documenting the trip, I also strive to photograph the animals in their natural environments. Instead of aimlessly shooting, I carefully consider the landscape behind the animal and search for a composition that best represents the overall environment. Additionally, the perspective from which you photograph can set you apart from other photographers. Capturing wildlife at eye level gives the animal the respect it deserves in the photo. However, it is important not to overlook other angles as well. Shooting from a higher to lower perspective can also showcase the vastness of the landscape.

Konsta Punkka Svalbard Photo Tour with Secret-Atlas

Other than a camera and lenses, what else do you pack in your camera bag for an Arctic Expedition?

In a vast landscape like Svalbard, binoculars play a vital role. They allow you to spot wildlife from a distance, providing the best opportunity to capture beautiful photographs. Aside from the technical gear, proper clothing is essential. Given the unpredictable weather conditions, it is crucial to pack a combination of weatherproof gear and warm layers.

Is it necessary to have the best and most expensive gear when going on a photo expedition?

While having long lenses and a good camera can certainly provide an advantage when photographing wildlife from a distance, it’s important to remember that you are the artist behind the lens. Nowadays, even with a phone, you can capture incredible and impactful photos and videos. Therefore, I believe that the equipment doesn’t solely determine the outcome, and with creativity and skill, remarkable images can be created regardless of the gear used.

Who is the target audience for the photo tour? Is it necessary to be a professional to participate?

This photo tour caters to both professional and amateur photographers. My colleague, Hannes Becker, and I will be present throughout the journey to offer guidance and support, ensuring that every participant goes home with amazing photos from the trip.

Konsta Punkka

Why is it so important to protect the Arctic?

Protecting the Arctic holds immense significance for several reasons. It serves as a crucial habitat for endangered species, and the preservation of the arctic ice sheet is essential for maintaining the global climate balance.

How can photography be used for conservation and help spread the message about the threats the Arctic faces?

Photography has always played a vital role in conservation efforts. A single photograph, whether it portrays a heart-wrenching or heartwarming moment, has the power to make a significant impact on the world. By showcasing the reality of the Arctic to a wider audience, more people become motivated to protect and preserve this unique environment.

Guest Stories

People are at the heart of everything we do here at Secret Atlas, and our guests' experience is top of our list.

We've put together a video for our guests to share their experiences with you, or you can read guests' stories below.