Photography tips for Antarctica: Part 2

This is Part 2 of Peter Lemon's blog about photography in Antarctica. Read Part 1 here.

There can be stunning photo opportunities in Antarctica – massive icebergs and glaciers below skies of wonderful colours and variations and huge penguin rookeries with their extraordinary levels of activity and interaction to name a few.

These days, most people use digital, so it's possible to edit images with Photoshop or similar when you get back home (one concedes that pink or purple penguins are no longer out of the question). 

But the better the original, the more you can do with it later, or the less you actually need or want to do with it.

Tips and hints

1. Some people we know have made a valiant attempt to photograph just about every penguin in Antarctica – beware that many shots will look much the same. Aim for variation in your pictures – close, medium and group shots; swimming, walking, tobogganing, running and interacting with their chicks.


2. For scenery shots, a wide angle lens is very important. You just cannot photograph a tabular 'berg, or the face of a glacier or a mountain range with a telephoto lens unless you are a long distance away.  A good general wide-angle zoom is something in the range of 18mm to 70mm.


3. Weather and lighting conditions in Antarctica can vary dramatically, sometimes within a couple of hours.  Fog, low cloud, the occasional storm, brilliant blue sky and still conditions, perhaps some drizzle or even some snow can all be on the menu.  They are all part of the Antarctic experience. But my first rule is that when you get fine and clear conditions – go for your camera and take as much as you can.

The colours and shapes of the ice can be amazing, with a thousand different shades of blue and turquoise on offer, and often some truly beautiful reflections to behold. If the day is fine, use it to the utmost.

If there is mist or fog you can sometimes get some good mood photos, and interesting lighting effects, but how often can you see photos such as these in a brochure!?

4. Provided you have adequate battery power, review your photos frequently, especially on a sunny day.  The very strong light reflected off snow, ice or ea can  sometimes "trick" the light meters into thinking there is much more light than is necessary, which can lead it selecting a wrong exposure setting. The result is that the whites come out grey. Be prepared to bracket your shots, or to override the exposure which your camera might select automatically.

Photographer on board

All Peregrine voyages have expedition staff on board who are highly qualified and experienced in taking photos in Antarctic conditions. They will be happy to talk to you. Bring a number of spare batteries, a recharger, and a lot of memory capacity or film.  It is usually possible to download photos from your camera to discs on board ship, with a couple of ship-board computers available to passengers for this purpose.

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