Stephen Scourfield recently ran a photography session on photographing in extreme conditions, particularly for those travelling to Antarctica with RAC Travel on One Ocean Expeditions voyages in the summer season from South America. Here are some of his tips and advice from that session.

In the austral summer (November to March), daylight hours are very long and the light quality can be very good. The weather changes frequently and quickly. Expect to have a number of overcast days (and rain) during a visit to the Antarctic. Exposure is the issue. The snow and ice fools exposure meters into thinking that light levels are very high, so most cameras shoot grey pictures. Set your exposure to between +0.5 and +1, to expose your pictures a bit more. (Check the results and be prepared to move to +1.5 to 2 stops.) Choose your lens before getting into Zodiacs – don’t expect to change them there (spray, salt). Zodiac drivers often keen photographers and will try to put Zodiac in the best position – ask them. Include people in landscape shots. Get a set of pictures – look for variety, close, long, up and down.

WILDLIFE

If you can, shoot in RAW and correct exposure in editing. “Recovery” is useful in Aperture.stephen scourfield

Photograph wildlife from its eye level. Shoot near the edges of penguin and other colonies, to eliminate other birds from the background. Position yourself so the background is rocks or ocean. When there are many animals in an image, control aperture. Either reduce depth of field and isolate one, or to increase it to keep them all sharp. Note that penguins are clean after feeding (swimming). The eye of an animal or bird is often the most important part. Sea birds such as albatrosses and petrels fly alongside the ship. The middle level deck is good for photographing them: control shutter speed, pan with them.

LANDSCAPE

As the ship sails through ice fields in narrow channels, shoot from top deck to show floating ice against ocean.

EQUIPMENT LIST

  • Extra batteries.
  • 300mm lens with 1.4x teleconverter.
  • 100 – 400mm lens.
  • 24mm lens (important wide of scenery).
  • Backup camera body.
  • Waterproof & freezeproof camera, such as Lumix.
  • SB drive (ie 1TB).
  • Some landing sites are windy -a tripod can improve camera stability.
  • Use drybags (and test them in the bath first – not with camera).
  • Lens cleaning paper and fluid.
  • Gloves that allow camera operation. Silk glove liners with fingerless gloves. Latex gloves under regular gloves.
  • Knee pads – you’ll spend a lot of time kneeling on rocks.
  • Ziplock bags.
  • Polarising filter.
  • Photoshop Elements.
  • Aperture (Recovery).

 

Discover more about Antarctica Cruises with RAC Travel.

Source: The West Australian