rank amateur needs advice on Antarctic trip

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by WilsonMarkT, Oct 3, 2006.

  1. WilsonMarkT

    WilsonMarkT Guest

    I recently bought a Nikon D70 with a Nikon 18-70mm and a Nikon 70-300mm
    lenses off e-bay. All seems fine and I have taken some good photos - no

    But I am now going to Antarctic in December and as a once ever type
    trip I want to make sure I make the best of the photo opps there and
    deal with the unusual lighting conditions.

    Firstly, lenses - I have been advised that a VR lens is a must but they
    are expensive and it would make the existing long lens obsolete - any
    opinions out there?

    Secondly filters - currently I have a skylight on the long lens -
    nothing on the short lens. What filters would you recommend. Someone
    suggested a warm polarising filter - is this something you would use
    all the time down there and should I get one for both lenses (as
    different filter sizes 62 & 67mm). Any other advice on filters???

    As you can see I could use some constructive advice!

    Thanks in anticipation

    WilsonMarkT, Oct 3, 2006
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  2. I've never been there, but can relate to it. :)

    In December you'll have 24 hours of light, even in the northern
    most parts of Antarctica (the sun may go down, north of the
    Antarctic Circle, but it won't get dark).

    In most places sunlight will vary from directly overhead for
    half the day to low in the sky for the other half (at "night").
    What you are used to as afternoon/evening sunlight (color
    temperature, angle, etc) will be available about half the day.
    (If life there is like it is here, you'll lose track of what is
    day and night, so you can just schedule yourself for whatever
    type of light you prefer!)

    Temperatures and weather will depend on where you are going, so
    you'll want to do some web research on that.
    VR is *definitely* nice... but photography managed without it
    for at least a few years, eh? However, the alternatives may not
    be as inviting as you'd like. Do you want to haul a
    heavy/expensive tripod everywhere you go? A couple of VR lenses
    might be just as productive as a $600+ fiber tripod?
    Mostly none. If you use a hood, then perhaps a skylight filter
    is okay. No hood? then *don't* use a filter. The flare etc
    from the filter is much worse without a hood.
    If you will be taking pictures of water, that might be a really
    good idea. Also if you want more saturation in the blue sky,
    etc, for landscapes. (Or, shoot RAW and fix it with PhotoShop

    I use 77mm filters. That way I only need one set. I put a
    stepup adapter on every lense, and use 77mm rubber lens hoods
    (nice because they provide a bit of physical protection for the
    front of the lenses).
    I'd have a good tripod (with or without the VR lenses), and a
    decent 500-600mm lense with a Gimbel mount, if you can. You
    might also look at a 90 or 105mm macro lense if that kind of
    thing is interesting. Another option is close-up diopter lenses.
    Note that there are the standard cheapie types, and there are
    also multi-element achromatic diopters (Canon, Nikon and Olympus
    make them) that are significantly better. I have no idea how
    well they work with the Nikkor 70-300 though...

    Incidentally, I liked your choice of lenses. Given the 24 hours
    of daylight, you probably do not have any great need for a
    faster lense (unless you like to take "people pictures" inside,
    in which case a Nikkor 85mm or 50mm f/1.8 AFD might be a good
    idea). The 18-70mm is a nice "walk around" lense (I use one for

    Also a flash. Inside pictures will be better with a flash, and
    outside a fill light is nice. For the flash you might want to
    look at a rechargable external battery, such as the Quantum
    units. Or you might look at a couple sets of rechargable AA

    You may be experiencing weather that is at or below freezing
    too. Condensation on the cameras and lenses as you go into and
    out of heated building will be a problem at or below freezing.
    Use google to find some of the past threads in this and other
    photography newsgroups. Take a few ziplock bags to pack your
    equipment in. Most camera bags will actually suffice, but to be
    safe you'll want to have a plastic bag to put the camera into
    when going to a warm environment with a cold camera. I would
    assume kitchen sized garbage bags will be available there, but
    would put everything in your camera bag into ziplock bags, and
    then take at least one set of spare ziplock bags.

    Get twice as many CF cards as you think you need. If one breaks
    or gets lost, you'd be in bad shape if it were the only one you

    Buy three sets of Wells-Lamont "monkey gloves". They are yellow
    or green fuzzy material, and can be (or I should say, should be)
    washed. There are other brands, but Wells-Lamont is by *far*
    the best. Keep one set in your quarters, one in your coat
    pocket, and wear the other set when outdoors. Rotate them, and
    make sure you have a dry pair with you all the time.
    Floyd L. Davidson, Oct 3, 2006
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  3. WilsonMarkT

    Greg Guarino Guest

    One comment: Look up how your batteries will be affected by
    temperature. I don't know about today's rechargeables, but I had to
    carry extra batteries for my Canon AE-1s when I was in Quebec City one
    February many years ago.. The temperature ranged from -10F to +10F and
    the batteries would stop functioning after a pretty short time
    outdoors. (they work again when they warm up)

    I carried a couple of extra batteries in my shirt pocket to keep them
    warm but found that I couldn't really change them outdoors anyway. The
    battery door was difficult enough to negotiate under normal
    circumstances, but with thick gloves it was really impossible.

    I ended up keeping the whole camera under my coat. (not attractive
    looking, nor comfortable; thank goodness I was mostly using a 28mm
    lens). That solved the problem well enough. I wonder if the most
    practical thing these days might not be a separate (belt-type) battery
    pack that you could keep inside your coat.

    I would definitely ask people with actual experience in the Antarctic.
    Greg Guarino
    Greg Guarino, Oct 3, 2006
  4. WilsonMarkT

    tomm42 Guest

    Go to Luminos Landscape, at the top of the page choose Location, then
    Location index. They have several articles on photography in
    Antarctica. This is based on a trip several pros took last year.
    I would think lenswise you are set. Cards and batteries are all you
    need, well maybe a hard drive or laptop to download to. A backup camera
    wouldn't hurt but that gets expensive. Listen to Floyd about the
    weather, he is from Alaska and should know. Handling a camera in a cold
    enviroment does require special techniques.
    In the LL articals they talk about strange colors, they felt were
    almost other world like, and how to deal with it. Interesting articles

    tomm42, Oct 3, 2006
  5. WilsonMarkT

    Hebee Jeebes Guest

    Don't wear shorts and a tank top. Take a coat. Take lots of extra batteries
    for everything since cold and batteries is like Bush and intelligents they
    just don't mix. If you see a large white lump moving run, its a polar bear.
    Don't feed the penguins they will stowaway in your bags.


    Hebee Jeebes, Oct 3, 2006
  6. WilsonMarkT

    Scott W Guest

    Wrong end of the earth.

    Scott W, Oct 3, 2006
  7. WilsonMarkT

    George Kerby Guest

    Talk about lacking intelligence, most folks know that Antarctica is the
    continent of the South Pole, not the ice flow of the North Pole, where polar
    bears reside. Any large white lump moving would be a snow drift.
    George Kerby, Oct 4, 2006
  8. WilsonMarkT

    Philippe Guest

    Hey.. polar bears can swim for a *long* time.. Maybe they wanted to hit
    the miami beaches and got turned around..


    it could happen...

    Philippe, Oct 4, 2006
  9. WilsonMarkT

    prep Guest

    Find some one who had been there, NOW. Accept no substitute. Find out
    what works and do it, even if that means changing over all your kit.

    Do it now, and start practicing using ot with your gloves/mittens.

    Paul Repacholi 1 Crescent Rd.,
    +61 (08) 9257-1001 Kalamunda.
    West Australia 6076
    comp.os.vms,- The Older, Grumpier Slashdot
    Raw, Cooked or Well-done, it's all half baked.
    EPIC, The Architecture of the future, always has been, always will be.
    prep, Oct 5, 2006
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