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Thread: Trip to Antarctica

  1. #1
    Markvetnz's Avatar
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    Trip to Antarctica

    I'm about to cross off another item off my bucket list. I'm heading off to Antarctica in a week or so. I'd appreciate any advice from anyone who has been there. I think I've pretty much got my bases (excuse pun) covered. My main aims are to photograph birds, wildlife and of course try to get some landscape shots. I'll keep a diary and post a blog on my website when I get back mid December. I'm most worried about the Drake Channel and getting across the Southern Ocean (twice).

  2. #2

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    Allan Short

    Re: Trip to Antarctica

    Think sea sickness pills, even in rib's some people can and will get sea sick, I am lucky I don't, however sometimes what can cause it is the person beside you letting loose. On the nicest topic, but I had to bring it up.

    Cheers:

    Allan

  3. #3

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    Andre Burger

    Re: Trip to Antarctica

    Hi Mark,

    Don't think you are going to see much of bird life and wild life. Elephants keep a little more north. Penguins and seals, gulls and Albatrosses, yes! and lots of ice. Total silence - if the wind does not blow you away. Sea sickness does not exist - ride the waves like a roller coaster. Ships do not sink. The SAS Augullas has crossed the ocean to Antarctica more than a few times - without sinking. (Never had an Italian captain on the bridge however. )

    Enjoy the trip and capture plenty of good images.
    (Remember to take a jacket )

  4. #4
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    Re: Trip to Antarctica

    It sounds like a heck of an adventure, looking forward to the story and pics..........As for myself, I am preparing staying home, shovelling snow, and facing fierce winds........another year in Minnesota

  5. #5
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    Re: Trip to Antarctica

    I would ensure that I was shooting with the "correct" exposure for "white" conditions. That is adding a stop or two to my exposure. The camera's meter wants to turn the scene into 18% gray and will do that unless the photographer adds some exposure. I would also bring (and use) a white balance reference card like the WhiBal
    ( http://www.whibalhost.com/_Tutorials/WhiBal/01/ ).

    I also sugest that you bring a second camera. That makes changing focal lengths easier but, more importantly is an insurance policy against missing out on photography due to a camera that stopped working for one reason or another. It would be a long walk/swim to the nearest camera store...

    I have not been to the Antarctic but, have known many photographers who have. Both Navy and civilian photographers. I would suggest that you bring some effective sunscreen. It seems counter-intuitive but, it is very easy to get a nasty sunburn in that area...

    NG has a website with some pertinent information:
    http://photography.nationalgeographi...lson-brimberg/

    This also might help...
    http://2041.com/docs/photo-tips.pdf

    Google has a large number of Cold Weather Oriented links.
    https://www.google.com/#hl=en&sugexp...w=1280&bih=582

    Have fun, be safe and post lots of images when you return...
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 9th November 2012 at 02:23 PM.

  6. #6
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Trip to Antarctica

    And of course, all of the usual cold weather related issues; batteries don't last as long when they are cold, condensation issues when you bring equipment that has been out in the cold into a warm and humid environment. I suspect it will be cold but not too bad.

    For the first issue I carry a couple of spare batteries that I keep close to my body and will swap out when the power runs down (they regain much of their charge once they have warmed up again). The other thing that I do is seal my camera (and lenses) in an airtight plastic bag while I am outside and let them warm up for a couple of hours the relatively low humidity environment. Filters and lens caps will also trap humidity, so watch for that as well.

  7. #7
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    Trevor Reeves

    Re: Trip to Antarctica

    Mark I don't know if you will be shooting where the is any salt spray, but you may want to consider getting a waterproof cover for the camera and lenses. I have never used one so I have no recommendation for brand, the only company I am familiar with is 'ThinkTank". I am sure others on this forum have used this type of thing and may have specific experience.

    I expect you to get images at least equivalent to this fellows experience

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zxa6P73Awcg

  8. #8
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    Re: Trip to Antarctica

    i went to Antarctica last year.

    Three basic rules:
    You must have a backup camera.
    You must have a backup camera.
    You must have a backup camera.

    The backup camera should preferably accept the same lenses as your primary camera. In addition to those two cameras I suggest a P&S; it can be a phone camera.

    You will take more photos than you can imagine. You probably do not own enough memory cards. I strongly recommend bringing a laptop plus an external hard drive to store and backup your photos. Then you can reuse the cards.

    Bring chargers for all your equipment - cameras, phone, laptop, etc.

    I assume you will make zodiac landings once or twice a day. I suggest bringing a drybag to store your cameras for the trip in and out. It can sometimes be a rough landing depending on wave and wind conditions. A Storm Cover for the camera would be a good idea to protect against salt spray and rainy days. Some of the expedition companies have zodiac cruising along the shore and is a good way to see a lot. However, a zodiac is a very bad place to be when changing lenses - another reason to have two cameras. You will also need knee-high boots for getting into and out of the zodiac upon landing. Some companies provide them; with others you have to supply your own.

    For penguins a standard lens is sufficient. Sit down and they will come to you.

    For flying birds and whales you will need at a minimum a 300 mm lens, preferably a 400 mm. Sometimes the whales will approach the ship very closely and a wide angle will be better.

    The light is almost always excellent so very fast lenses are not required.

    I did not find a tripod to be very useful but a monopod was one of the best pieces of equipment I brought with me. Excellent for whales.

    Antarctica has no infrastructure. You need to bring everything you think you will need as there are no opportunities to pick it up once there.

    I found Antarctica to be the most fabulous place I have ever visited and I have traveled a lot. Enjoy your trip!

    Which expedition are you going with?

  9. #9
    Markvetnz's Avatar
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    Re: Trip to Antarctica

    Right

    Thanks for the tips. Nothing new so I must be pretty prepared. The only real problem I now have is convincing my wife to carry all the heavy gear around.

  10. #10
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Trip to Antarctica

    One additional thought...

    Although the OPTECH Rain Sleeve will do a pretty fair job protecting your camera/lens; it is not what I would choose for a long term solution. I like Kata Rain Covers. I used the Kata 702 on a two week trip to Alaska's Kenai Peninsula where it rained every single day of my trip. The Kata cover kept my camera safe and was a joy with which to shoot. I believe that Kata has recently brought out a smaller raincover, the Kata 690, which may fit your camera/lens.

    http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&key...ata+rain+cover

    Opteka also sells rain covers but, I am very happy with my Kata.

    I would also bring a Dry Bag. I used one to protect my equipment when riding in a boat and when I was not actually shooting. I bought mine on sale from Cabela's but, they no longer sell the model I use. There are several available on Amazon for a very low price considering how much money's worth of equipment the dry bag could save if you take some water over the side of the boat...

    http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&key...l_5rxn67rncm_e
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 11th November 2012 at 03:34 PM.

  11. #11
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Trip to Antarctica

    Quote Originally Posted by Markvetnz View Post
    I'm about to cross off another item off my bucket list. I'm heading off to Antarctica in a week or so.
    Something I dream about doing. I am so envious. Mind you, I have farther to travel than you.

    I hope you have a wonderful time and, like the others, look forward to seeing the results when you get back.

    22-51. Oh dear.
    Last edited by Donald; 11th November 2012 at 05:16 PM.

  12. #12

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    Re: Trip to Antarctica

    No matter what you do - keep safe.

  13. #13
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Trip to Antarctica

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Something I dream about doing. I am so envious.
    Heck, Donald, let's go!

  14. #14
    Markvetnz's Avatar
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    Re: Trip to Antarctica

    Well, it´s 6 degrees in summer in Ushuaia. It´s blowing a howling gale and we are due to set sail in 3 hours. I´ve just spoken to people who came in last night and apparently the the Drake Passage was ferociously rough. Part of me wants it to be calm and another part of me wants it to be rough so I can say I´ve seen it at it´s worst. I know with the wind it is the way it tis today, it won´t be calm. I (we) dragged 18Kg of photo gear across the world to get here. Internet access is limited so I´ll be posting a blog when I get back in 2 weeks. The first snag I hit was finding out that Camera Raw 7.0 doesn´t accept cr files from the 1DX. I had to download the latest version at dial up speed in the dead of the night and luckily I got it sorted. Anyway as they say down here Ädios amigos¨. I´ll post again when I make it back.

  15. #15

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    Re: Trip to Antarctica

    Best of luck and I will be waiting anxiously to see your shots.

    Keep safe though.

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