In a race against daylight

In a race against daylight | SIGMA 10-18mm F2.8 DC DN | Contemporary on Fjällräven Polar 2024

- Albin Edbom

Albin Edbom. SIGMA 10-18mm F2.8 DC DN | Contemporary.

With a dream of becoming an adventure photographer, I started the journey towards my goals, with an adventure of a lifetime. 

April 3, 2024, myself and a team of 19 strangers got together to complete a Polar Expedition together with Fjällräven and ride 300km on a dog sled, starting in Poikkijärvi in the northern part of Sweden, finishing in Signaldalen in the northern part of Norway. To achieve this, the expedition lasted for five days and four nights sleeping outside in tents with temperatures reaching -35 degrees.

On this expedition, one of the things that was extremely important to me personally to bring, was a camera setup. I brought a Sony A6700 camerahouse, combined with the SIGMA 10-18mm F2.8 DC DN | Contemporary. I also brought other lenses, but due to the lack of time I had to prioritize which lens to use, and for 99% of the expedition I used the SIGMA 10-18mm F2.8 due to its super compact and lightweight size and the ultra-wide focal length that helped me capture everything that I wanted. 

Albin Edbom. SIGMA 10-18mm F2.8 DC DN | Contemporary.

I brought this particular lens to be able to capture the mesmerizing landscape that we were about to see. I also needed a lens that was easy to use because I had to photograph from my sled and not by the comfort of a tripod with all the time in the world to find the perfect position.

With a schedule that barely left any time for anything else than work, from the moment I opened my eyes in the morning until I closed them in the night, it was hard for me as a photographer. Beautiful landscapes and spectacular views, but no time to get the perfect picture. Therefore, I packed my sled in a more strategic way for the second day, so that I could reach my camera at the same time as I was driving the sled. This was also possible due to the compact and lightweight size of the lens, which meant that I could fit both the lens and my necessities such as food and water for the ride in the same small pocket on my sled. 

Albin Edbom. SIGMA 10-18mm F2.8 DC DN | Contemporary.

Most of my photographs from this expedition are therefore from a moving sled, powered by 6 dogs that I had to keep control of at the same time as I tried to get “that shot”. This was a difficult, but not impossible, task. 

Each morning we were in a race, not against each other, but against daylight. Waking up before the sunrise and with a goal to have reached our next destination and completing the daily tasks before the sunset.

Albin Edbom. SIGMA 10-18mm F2.8 DC DN | Contemporary.

Our first days started at around 05.30 by getting dressed. Everything was deep frozen so to just get dressed was the first challenge of the day. As soon as we got out of the tents we had to be efficient, so we divided the different tasks between us in our team. Someone had to feed the dogs, someone had to take down the tents, pack the sleds and melt snow so we had water until lunch. Getting ready took about 3 hours and as soon as we were all good to go, we began the amazing journey on our dog sleds.

Albin Edbom. SIGMA 18-50mm F2.8 DC DN | Contemporary.

Each day we drove between 6-8 hours including a quick lunch break. When we arrived at our destination, the tasks started again. Melting snow, feeding the dogs, pitching the tents and if the conditions looked like it was going to be a stormy night, we built a snow wall to protect the tents. At around 22.00 it was completely dark, and we had to make sure we were finished and ready to try to get some sleep. Every new day got more and more challenging, both because of the lack of sleep, sleeping in -35 and 150 dogs howling at the moon is not ideal and also because we were going for a longer and longer distance each day, meaning that we had less and less time setting up camp and had to become more efficient for every new day.

Even though I had been told that the SIGMA 10-18mm F2.8 DC DN | Cotemporary should work in these types of conditions, I was surprised by the fact that I could use it throughout my entire expedition. Even after 5 days in extreme cold reaching -35 degrees, I could still zoom in and out without any problem at all which is truly impressive.

Albin Edbom. SIGMA 10-18mm F2.8 DC DN | Contemporary.

The night when the temperature reached -35 degrees was one of the best nights I have had in my entire life. Not because I slept well, because I definitely didn't, but because for the first time in my life, I saw nature's most spectacular lightshow, the northern lights. The sky was clear and we were trying to melt some snow to have hot water during the night. Because of the temperature it took around 45 minutes to fill one bottle. Even though we were freezing we decided to wait outside for a little bit longer because we knew there was a small chance to see the lights, and when I saw the first green lights starting to dance in the sky I screamed of joy, probably waking up the rest of the crew. Filled with adrenaline, I ran into my tent, taking out my camera, hoping that I would be able to capture the lights. It was the first time I ever did any kind of astrophotography, and even though I see a lot of room for improvement, I am extremely happy about the results and I learned a few new tricks for the next time I will travel the northern parts again. 

Albin Edbom. SIGMA 10-18mm F2.8 DC DN | Contemporary.

After photographing the lights for an hour, I had to run, do burpees and everything else I could think of for around 30 minutes to gather some heat in my body before going into the tent, hoping to get some sleep.

Our last day started at 03.30 to be able to arrive at our final destination before a hard storm was going to hit us. Even though we were exhausted when reaching the finish line, all I could feel was pride. Together with my team, we had completed a challenge that only a few people ever get the chance to try - Fjällräven Polar 2024. 

Albin Edbom

Albin Edbom is a Swedish photographer who started his photography journey last year and have since then found a new passion in his life. He enjoys all kind of photography, from people to animals and landscapes, and his dream and goal right now is to become an adventure photographer, which will allow him to do all kinds of photography with both people, animals and landscapes at the same time. The way Albin looks at photography is not only what he can produce through his camera, but also the places you see and the people you meet in the search for "that picture". Thats what makes it magical, the results and the journey.

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