Without an ounce of overstatement, the landscapes, wilderness and wildlife on our Antarctic trips can often leave people lost for words. The immensity and the grandeur of the scenery and sheer quantity of the animal life can be overwhelming.
No photo, however good, can ever hope to capture it all properly but with the right equipment and a few handy tips everyone can come home with some incredible shots.
Some thoughts and suggestions:
1. Make sure you have protection for your gear. Cameras can be exposed to salt spray and water splashes, and saltwater can literally destroy them. Take "dry bags" (available at any outdoor shop) and/or a waterproof daypack to use when going ashore or on a Zodiac cruise. Lens caps are important when your camera is not in use, and you'll need to keep a constant eye on the lens itself to ensure it remains clean. Never try to change lens, cards or film unless you are in a sheltered area.
2. For wildlife shots, you will need a camera with a good telephoto capacity. For those using an SLR camera, a minimum of 300mm is recommended. Zoom lens (100mm-300mm) can be useful so that you don't have to keep changing lens.
3. The eye of an animal or bird is often the most important part of the subject, especially if it's fairly close. Aim to photograph the creature with at least one if not both of its eyes facing the camera. For that special shot try to get the sun glinting off the subject's eye. Make sure your camera is focused on the eye - often an auto-focus cameras will focus on the stomach or back of a large animal, leaving the head and eyes slightly out of focus.
And if you can't get its eye, look for an interesting facial expression - a bearing of teeth, a yawn (especially if the sun is on its teeth or beak), a sneeze or a tongue poking out.
4. Consider the amount of weight you are carrying: that metre-long 600mm lens, apart from being very large and heavy (you could fall foul of your airline), might render the person sitting next to you unconscious for a week if you were turn around suddenly with your camera in a Zodiac boat.
5. With landscape shots, it is sometimes worth including people in the picture, especially anyone wearing a brightly coloured jacket. It provides a sense of scale and proportion.
About the author: Peter Lemon has been connected with Gecko's since 1983. A passionate photographer, he has travelled extensively in Nepal, Antarctica and endlessly in Africa ever since.
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