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Mateusz Moskalik

Addicted to the Cold

Pushing himself - and his gear - to the limit, Mateusz Moskalik has found a home in the harsh, arctic climates of the north. He thrives where others won't tread, and his bags have to be as tough as he is.

He is very patient, spending hours in bitter cold and blending into his surroundings so the local wildlife doesn't feel threatened and allows him to come close. No, he doesn't speak to animals — at least not yet. But he understands them perfectly and can predict their movements. He's in his element, and his fabulous images prove it.

He is Polish photographer Mateusz Moskalik and his favorite place on earth is Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago in Norway. Moskalik specializes in documenting animal behavior in arctic environments. He claims that his passion for photography was born there, as well. In this frigid climate, he discovered an intensity of color and rich, abundant wildlife. "How do you explain this to someone who believes there is only empty ice in this snow-covered land?" he asks. How indeed? With pictures of stunning beauty, a clarity of color and incredible interplay between light and shadow.

"There are only a few spots on earth," he says, "that are both mysterious and beautiful; where people feel a special tingling sensation standing in front of nature's power."

Almost every spring and summer, you'll find Moskalik in Spitsbergen where he combines his academic work with his true passions: photography, ornithology and exploring glacier caves. An experienced polar researcher, he has undertaken numerous expeditions. Along the way, he discovered considerable interest from adventure travelers, other photographers and sponsors. Moskalik saw this as a natural synergy between his career and his passion. He began using his photographs as the basis for a series of seminars and exhibitions as a way to alter the perception that the Arctic was "a land where only penguins live."

Moskalik has also spent time on research projects on the Hornshund Fjord where the Polish Polar Station Stanislaw Siedecki is located. He has been surrounded by sea gulls, "in between the ice chunks that were chopped and crushed by ships. The gulls were jumping and quarrelling and looked like dancers on a crowded street," he says.

And he's watched as the black-legged Kittiwakes cavort on the glaciers, sitting on the huge ice mountains waiting for the glaciers to calve and the falling ice to stun the small fish in the water below.

Moskalik is often asked why he doesn't "just enjoy my trips" but instead has a persistent need to teach. His answer is simple. "I need to share what I see because I want to encourage people to open their minds and share my passion. It is as much for all future generations as for me. Who knows how long this beauty will last?" Anyone who has seen his images can readily understand this

Mateusz's Gear

Dry Zone
Dry Zone Vertex Pro Trekker

Mateusz spends a lot of his time in extreme conditions. The bags he relies on to keep his gear safe are the Pro Trekker™ 600 AW, Dry Zone™ 200 and Vertex™ 300 AW — bags that are as tough as he is. Click the links to see why.

Story Links

Mateusz Moskalik:
Arctic Nature & Photographic Expeditions

"You can fall in love with the Arctic, or you can hate it; but you cannot stand emotionless."
Mateusz Moskalik

An experienced polar researcher, geophysicist and photographer, Mateusz Moskalik was a doctoral student at the Department of Polar and Marine Research, Institute of Geophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences. Founder of the Foto-Arktyka Project, which focuses on collecting photographic and educational documentation about the Svalbard archipelago, he has also received numerous nature and travel photography awards including Photographer of the Year from the Polish Nature Photographer Association, and European Wildlife Photographer of the Year. His work has been shown in numerous international exhibitions.

Moskalik's photos and articles have been published in Wiedza i žycie, Ptaki Polski, Woliera, National Geographic Traveler, Extremium, Magazyn Turystyki Górskiej, Górski Magazyn Sportowy, Globtroter, Zew Północy, Foto, Fotografia & Aparaty Cyfrowe, Foto-Kurier, EuroSTYL, and Nasze MORZE. He was the organizer of the first Polish Polar Festival as well as various other photo exhibitions presenting polar nature.


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