Arctic Blues with Fuji equipment

Maria Sahai is a Fujifilm X-series user and F-stop gear ambassador. Her first contact with a camera was a disaster! But a decade later, she definitely fell in love with Photography and never stopped since then. From the icy landscapes of Greenland to the extreme heat of the deserts of Iran, Maria puts her equipment to the test.

If people heard of Svalbard Archipelago, chances are it is because of the Global Seed Vault.
The vault itself is situated 120 m deep inside a mountain surrounded by permafrost. It is a long-term seed storage facility, built to stand the test of time — and the challenge of natural or man-made disasters. The Seed Vault represents the world’s largest collection of crop diversity; as of 2017 there more than one million seeds stored there.
The entrance to the Vault is also an art installation called ‘Perpetual Repercussion’. In winter, its muted greenish-turquoise and white light imitates the Northern Lights.
They say it rains diamonds on Jupiter and Saturn. The closest we can get to that on earth is at Jökulsárlón Ice Beach in Iceland. The huge blocks of ice that calve from the edge of Vatnajökull – the largest and most voluminous ice cap in Iceland – are about 30 metres (98 ft) high which fills the lagoon stocked with icebergs. Smaller pieces of ice find their way to the black sand beach, which makes it look like someone dropped a handful of oversized diamonds from the sky.

“I am Maria Sahai, photographer passionate about nature, environment and the Arctic. I was born in a remote Russian Far East on the shores of Sea of Okhotsk, raised in the steppes of Southern Kazakhstan, and worked and lived all over the world since then.”

“Since day one of owning a simple Canon EOS Rebel T1 with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens, I fell in love with the process. I did everything that beginners do: sunsets, pictures of stray cats, annoyed all my friends and relatives forcing them to pose for portraits…”

“But one type of Photography was particularly dear to me – nature. Back in the day, my family, working in the Soviet military, traveled around the former Soviet Union, including less known areas where polar bears roam freely, the aurora borealis can be seen for months, and the indigenous chukchas live in seal skin covered yarangas.”

“In 2015, I switched from Canon to Fujifilm and never regretted it. No more back pain or sore muscles in my arms. And I couldn’t dream of a better image quality, colour rendering and flexibility of the menu.”

Spirituality, practiced by Hindus, explores the nature of the soul and asks questions such as who am I, from where have I come, and where will I go after death. Hindus believe that by asking these questions one can enhance one’s quality of life and experience happiness and peace.

My current setup consists of:
• Fujifilm X-T1
• Fujifilm X-T2
• Fujifilm XF 23mm f2.0
• Fujifilm XF 35mm f2.0
• Fujifilm XF 50-140mm f2.8
• Fujifilm XF 100-400 f4.5-5.6

“When I travel to places like Greenland, all of this gear is usually neatly packed in my f- stop Gear Ajna backpack ( Of all my photo bags, Ajna is my favourite, especially because I can take it as a hand luggage on airplanes. For many photographers going through security control in airports is a nightmare. Not anymore, if you own one of f-stop Gear backpacks. Its modular system with removable ICU lets me pack all my photo equipment, laptop, and hard drives in advance. When time comes, I simply remove the ICU and put it on a tray. No more removing my gear from a bag, risking that my lenses will be scratched or dropped when security officers handle them.”

“As every photographer knows, pushing a shutter release is just a first step. I take the backup of my images very seriously. Usually, I travel with two 4TB hard drives.”

Photography is not just an art for me. While travelling in both the Arctic and the tropics, I see first hand what effect the changing climate has on the environment and on the people living there. Together with my husband Karim Sahai we work on raising awareness of these changes through our images, workshops and public talks.”

Measurements of MODIS (Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) installed on NASA’s Aqua satellite from 2003 to 2010 testify that the hottest land surface on Earth is located in Dasht-e Loot Desert. In five of the seven years the highest surface temperature on Earth was found there. The single highest LST (land surface temperature) recorded in any year, in any region, occurred there in 2005, when MODIS recorded a temperature of 70.7°C (159.3°F).
Have you ever wondered why some Icebergs have this deep shade of blue? Blue icebergs have very little air inside while white icebergs have many air bubbles or a snowy surface.

You can read the full article in the
Fuji X Passion monthly magazine # 21, among many other interesting articles by talented photographers.

Don’t forget to visit the Maria Sahai’s website and check out the wonderful variety of workshops that she has to offer:



"I am Maria Sahai, photographer passionate about nature, environment and the Arctic. I was born in a remote Russian Far East on the shores of Sea of Okhotsk, raised in the steppes of Southern Kazakhstan, and worked and lived all over the world since then. Fujifilm user and F-stop gear ambassador."

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