Nature photographer Floris Smeets is known for being outside when the weather conditions are the worst. He has a passion for capturing images of rare moments. Photos no one else has captured before. Mainly focused on wildlife.
- The biggest challenge for any wildlife photographer is the capability of spending time with the subject. I have to spend a lot of time searching for the subject, allowing them to be comfortable with me, and trying to get within the right shooting distance and angle. Once I am in a good position, I need to be able to stay there as long as possible and maximize each opportunity. Here in the north, that means you have to dress extremely well.
Every year in January and February, he spends a lot of time in Dovrefjell, Norway, to photograph the musk-oxen in some of the harshest winter conditions.
- Every time I head out into the mountains, I prefer to stay up there for four to seven days. The temperature usually ranges between -5 and -30°C (23 to -22°F), and the wind speed is between 15 and 130 km/h. Picking the right clothing for trips like this can be quite tricky. I want to limit the amount of weight I am taking on these trips. But the lightest clothing is easily damaged when used extensively. Thick parka clothing would fit well for my type of usage, but the weight starts to become an issue.
That was until Floris discovered the Polar clothing from Non-stop.
- Arctic jakka pro+ and the Arctic buksa give me the best from both worlds. You can really see that this clothing is made to handle a beating but still offers excellent mobility and weighs a lot less than other thick parka options. Even though the outer fabric is rather thin, it is incredibly durable and allows me to crawl over rocks without worrying about damaging the clothing.
Easy to adjust temperature
Another big challenge when it comes to the right clothing for a wildlife photographer, is that there are periods where they have to be very active, walk long distances, followed up with long periods where they have to sit still. This is quite similar to the behavior of a dog musher.
- You can see that these pieces of clothing are exactly designed for these types of usage. While hiking up a mountain, I can have the jacket hanging from the shoulder straps, and I can open the zippers on the sides of the trousers, preventing me from sweating. When I get to the musk-oxen, I can quickly close my jacket and trousers, making sure that I don't lose any heat and that I am ready to shoot in just a few seconds.
Plenty of space
Both the jacket and trousers have big pockets, giving plenty of space for spare batteries, memory cards, snow goggles, extra gloves, heat packs, extra camera, landscape lens, action camera, head torch, GPS and other things you want to have with you.
- There are also several big pockets on the inside of the jacket, allowing you to store gear that has to stay warm, such as extra batteries, a phone, and food. This means that I don't need to drag along my camera backpack every time I change my position while photographing.
Another reason why Floris chose Non-stop is the neutral colors, allowing him to blend in more with the surroundings if needed.
- I have known the brand Non-stop dogwear for quite a while now, because I am using their leashes and harnesses for my dogs. When I learned that Non-stop also made clothing for dog mushers, I knew instantly that this clothing would fit very well for my type of usage and that the clothing would be top quality.
Full-time nature photographer and guide
Most of Floris' income comes from guiding other nature photographers in the stunning nature of Norway through his company "Photo Tours Norway".
Coming from a family consisting of biologists, his love for nature and wildlife has been there for as long as he can remember.
- I always dreamt of working with wildlife/nature management and conservation. Therefore I focused my studies on nature and wildlife management. During my studies, I started to earn money with my photography and also started to guide photographers. When I finished my masters in ecology back in 2014, I started my own company. Since then, I have been working full-time as a nature photographer and guide. Nature conservation is still very important to me, and I am now using my photographic capabilities for wildlife conservation projects.