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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Journey To Antarctica


The massive frozen continent offers photo opportunities of glaciers, otherworldly coastlines, massive mountain peaks and, of course, incredible wildlife

Labels: Locations
This Article Features Photo Zoom

An aerial photograph of a melting iceberg in Antarctica; King penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) colony, South Georgia Island.
With your body covered, you can start preparing the necessary camera equipment to carry on your journey.

"If you're really serious about photography," Lanting says, "you bring a tripod along. But in my experience you can do a heck of a lot just by bringing a monopod. Monopods are very useful down there because you're often on uneven beaches, slippery rocks or on snow, and your monopod doubles up as a walking stick—very useful.

"What goes inside your pack?" he continues. "If I were to go really compact, I would take one camera body with a wide-angle zoom and a telephoto zoom and an extender. Zoom lenses are the way to go in Antarctica. If I translate this to the gear that I carry around—like a Nikon D3 or a D700—I will equip it with a 17-35mm and a 70-200mm with a 1.4x or 2x converter."

A wide-angle and a telephoto zoom with an extender are definitely enough, Lanting says, because the animals are so approachable. You don't really need long lenses; of course, serious photographers will bring them anyway.

"There are rules that govern how closely people can approach a penguin," he explains, "but there are no rules that govern how closely penguins can approach people. And penguins have absolutely no fear of humans. They look at us as another funny penguin.

"For serious photographers," continues Lanting, "I recommend that you consider bringing a longer lens. Personally, I would never leave home without my 200-400mm ƒ/4. It's such a spectacular lens; it gives me so many options. It's pretty heavy, but I can still fit it in a photo bag very easily."

The nice thing about a boat-based trip is that you're never far from the relative comfort and warmth back on ship. That means if you decide you've brought too much gear, you can always stow it in your cabin during your next trip ashore. And if you get cold and wet, rest assured that soon enough you can get warm and dry.

"You don't have to suffer to get to Antarctica," Lanting says. "Of course, if you want to suffer, you can book yourself onto a private yacht. There will be plenty of opportunities to get really seasick."

See more of Frans Lanting's photography at www.lanting.com. Go to travel and workshops to find operators who offer expeditions to Antarctica.

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