Well, that’s a wrap. I’m sitting in Houston awaiting a flight to Toronto, then one more to Ottawa. I left Antarctica on Wednesday and with the Drake Passage and flights, it’s so far taken 4 days to get home. But what a trip! I hope I’ve already expressed on how much fun this trip was, how much I enjoyed being able to bring you along with me via the blog, and how grateful I am for your comments and encouragement. This trip was a working trip for me, a return to intentionally exploring and creating, and it blew the doors off my expectations. After all the travel I really had less than a week to work, but what a place in which to do that. Antarctica is something special, a place I already long to return to again and again.
Practically, I shot with two bodies most of the time. For all my talk about going light I eventually caved in and brought my 300/2.8 and 24mm tilt-shift lens. I didn’t take the tilt-shift out once, and I could have done just fine without the 300/2.8. I was much more interested in the wider landscapes, so the 16-35/4.0 was on one body all the time, and the 70-200/2.8 on the other. Penguins don’t run away, so proximity’s not an issue. I suppose had we seen many whales I’d have wanted the reach of a 300mm, but there are smaller 300mm lenses than the massive, and expensive 300/2.8. I might consider taking one of those next time. I could have used a tripod once or twice, but was glad to have left it behind.
The big “must haves” in Antarctica are a good supply of lens cloths, and an easy way to waterproof your gear. I saw alot of people with rain covers, but those do nothing to stop the rain, snow, and spray from spotting the front of the lens,which was my biggest struggle and rain covers drive me insane. If it’s raining so hard I need to protect my gear, it’s impossible to keep the front of a wide lens clean, so I don’t bother. I just brought a couple large OR (Outdoor Research) dry bags, clipped to my lifejacket, or shoved in my pockets when not in use. Simple and cheap and easy to cram a camera into when the waves got choppy and threw spray into the zodiac.
My biggest worry was that shooting beside so many photographers would either stifle my creativity or produce similar photographs, but it was amazing how much alone time I had to shoot, and how so many photographers created such different work. I’m coming home with a body of work I’m thrilled with, and am already making plans to go back. One of the big thrills was meeting so many of my readers and having a chance to share meals, shoot together, and explore this amazing piece of our planet together. Thanks for hanging out with me!
Two more images from the trip…
Gear is Good. Soup Is Better. Courtesy of John Paul Caponigro.
This much fun should be illegal. Antarctica, 2011
*I’ve put my complete packing list into the comments, so read down if you’re interested.