Update For December 20, 2017
This Page Is Your Resource . . .
Welcome to the private web page for the 2018 Antarctica Photography Workshop Adventure. I want to welcome you and thank you for being part of our adventure. I have been to Antarctica many times and when people ask me where my favorite place to photograph is, the answer is always Antarctica. There is something about this wonderful place that has been a life changing experience for every visit I have made.
In January 2015 I was married there at a most incredible beach wedding.
We are a small group and it will be my pleasure to guide you and help you capture the beauty of the many places we will visit. We are visiting places where you’ll shoot more than you ever thought was possible and pretty much wherever you point your camera you’ll end up with a nice image.
This page will be your one-stop for information about our upcoming trip. We will periodically be adding to this page with new information and updates. The latest topics will always be at the top. We will also email you with updates and links back to this page so you can stay up to date with the latest information regarding our trip. weeks
So for the next several weeks this will be your go to page. Look for email updates that will direct you to this page when things are updated. If you have any questions then please send them to me at email@example.com I’ll either reply back individually or most likely post them on this page for everyone to benefit from.
At any time if you have questions please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +1 317-379-7482
Letter to All Passengers –
Hello Fellow Explorer
Are you excited? I am! I have been to Antarctica many times and a few times South Of The Circle. Each time though I get excited and look forward to new experiences. Each trip I have made to the Antarctica region has had a life-altering moment. It changes you and makes you want to visit time and time again. I am very happy and privileged to be sharing this trip with you.
We will be aboard one of the best ships to explore Antarctica. Not too big and not too small, just right is how I would describe the Ocean Nova. The crew is the best and every year I come back to the ship the same crew is there. They are like a big family and they are some of the happiest people I have met. You’ll love them and they will do their best to make sure you have a memorable trip.
The expedition team we have on this trip is the best there is. Once again they are the same group I have worked with before. All of them love doing the Luminous-Landscape trip so much they sign up immediately when they hear we are doing a trip. This is the kind of trip they love. You’ll be photographing long days and you won’t sleep sometimes. Bottom line is you are going to experience and photograph things very few people ever get the chance to do.
By now you should have all the information you need. You will have filled out forms and are prepared for travel to Argentina. I arrive on the 30th. Information will be provided us regarding a time for a safety meeting and boot sizing. We will also be briefed on the time we expect to fly to Antarctica.
This page is the best place to find out all sorts of information. Please review it again to make sure you have gotten all the information on it.
I want to stress the importance of being prepared for seasickness. I have been one of the lucky ones and have never been affected by sea sickness but I certainly have seen my share of people who do have a hard time. Please consult with your doctor about medication to bring with you. The ships doctor will also have medication if needed. The advantage of flying over the Drake is we are spared 2.5 days each way of possible heavy seas. For the most part, unless we run into weather the sea state for where we will be should be pretty calm. it’s best though to be prepared.
In rough seas, it can be hard to get around the ship. It’s a new experience to walk around when the floors are tilting and swaying. You’ll always want to have one hand for holding onto a rail. You need to be careful and take your time and you’ll be OK. It’s part of the adventure and you’ll have lots to share when you get home.
Normally once I am onboard I unpack and set the cabin up. I then take a walk around the ship until the first briefing. Your bags will be in your cabin waiting for you when you board. You’ll have a day in town to enjoy last minute shopping, a nice lunch and some photography before catching our flight.
Our bartender is a lovely guy and always has a big smile and makes some excellent drinks. We’ll enjoy happy hour every night usually with a debriefing of our day and what to look forward to the next day. The observation lounge is a great place to gather. You’ll work on your images here, and this is where we will do the lectures. I have my own chair and spot as I explained in the video (below) and I set my gear up ready for action here. I suggest we all try to mark our seats in the same area. That will be the port side as you look forward on the ship in the front corner.
If you prefer quiet time there is another lounge at the back of the ship with a library, coffee machine, and computer. You’ll figure things out pretty quickly. THis is also a good spot for our small group to meet if we want to do some private meetings and post-processing
Please note my cell phone and email address
If you have any questions or last minute changes please get in touch with me.
In case you are interested, I will be shooting with aSony a7r III and a9 cameras. I’ll have a 12-14mm, 16-35mm, 24-70mm, 100-400mm lens. I’ll have extra batteries as well as lots of cards. I’ll be using a MacBook Pro loaded with Capture One my main RAW processor. I’ll also have Lightroom and will be able to help you with either piece of software. I am not bringing a tripod. I carry all of this in a Tamrac backpack along with my iPad.
As a small group, we will try our best to stay together for Zodiac outings as well as dinner. This way we can always talk photography. We’ll get this sorted once we are aboard. You’ll catch on quickly.
As far as whether you can expect just about anything. I have been on this trip before and we had a full blizzard for a few hours, clouds, sun and wind. In this part of the world you can have all of that in a matter of hours. So be prepared for whatever mother nature throws at us. No matter what the weather it will amazing.
So, in closing, I have to admit I am excited. Not only to get the trip underway but to meet you and share this amazing part of the planet with you. Please travel safe.
Suitcases – Duffles – Packing – Things To Bring
I’m sure you are at the same point I am right now and that is gathering the things you are going to take to Antarctica. First, remember you can do laundry on the ship. So, you don’t have to bring three weeks of clothes. Toiletries are easy but you need to bring what you need for 20 days. I bring my own shampoo and conditioner. The ship has kind of an all-purpose type that is available in the shower. Good for body wash but not hair, in my own opinion. Each cabin has a hair dryer so you won’t need one of those. You will not need hiking boots. I will have the shoes on my feet plus a slip on type for on board the ship. Non-slip would be good so when you are on wet decks you don’t slip and fall.
In twin cabins, there is a berth that is an upper bunk that is folded up when you arrive. I usually pull it down and use that bunk as a staging area. I keep my hat, gloves and jacket ready for a quick exit to deck in case there is a whale sighting or a big iceberg. I also stage my cameras on this bunk for easy access. WARNING – while we are at sea and especially if we have heavy seas you will not want anything on this bunk as it could fall or roll off. I don’t even leave my computer on the desk in heavy sea conditions.
Getting your things there. Suitcase or duffles? I use a duffle on wheels. Specifically, I use the Osprey big duffle. This is one of the best duffles I have found next to the Club Glove duffles . I don’t like suitcases but I know many of you do. The duffles once unloaded fit under the berth and many suitcases don’t. There is limited storage in the cabins so you want to take that into consideration. Also, you should keep the weight of your luggage under 50 pounds if possible. You want to avoid any issues with the S. America airlines. Most US airlines will be OK up to 50 pounds.
I bring a small collapsible duffel that I use for the trip to the ship. As you have seen there are weight restrictions for the trip. Since there is laundry on the ship and our onboard time is fairly short I bring enough clothes for a few days and do laundry once or twice. AXXI knows we are photographers and will be bringing a lot of cameras. There has never been an issue but be smart. Don’t overdo it on camera gear. You’ll be surprised at how up close most things are. The 100-400mm lenses are great for just about anything you will need long lenses for.
There is a closet with shelves in your cabin and I usually unpack and store things on the shelf and hang jackets and vests. There are also hook for hanging waterproof pants, life preserver etc. I pack many of my clothes into clothes or packing bags. I use the kind where you can seal and end and then roll all the air out of them. It protects the clothes as well as leaves more room in a suitcase. You can get these at Bed Bath & Beyond. All pretty simple stuff. I also suggest wire ties to secure zippers on your bags. I pack a cutter in one of the outside pockets of the duffle.
Meet Our Expedition Leader
Next to the captain of the Ocean Nove the next most important person as far as we are concerned is the Expedition Leader. This person along with his team will make sure we get to the best location at the best light. Antarctica XXI has some great Expedition Leaders and I have been fortunate to work with a number of them. This year’s leaders is someone who I have worked with before and he embraces Antarctica, as well just about anything outdoors. He lives a life of adventure and shares it with great knowledge and passion. He always has a smile on his face and he will be a big part of this trip.
His team is second to none in this business. They will be with us for meals, lectures and all things we do. I have worked with this team before and I am excited to have them with us again, especially on a journey like we are about to embark. You’ll meet all of them as part of our first briefing. By the end of the trip, these folks will be our good friends. The collective knowledge of this group is unlike anything you’ll ever experience.
Please Check Back Often
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing more information that may help you. My advice is don’t over prepare and weigh yourself down. Follow the guidelines here and on the link Antarctica XXI sent you. You’ll be fine and enjoy your trip a lot.
Your cabin is serviced twice a day. Fresh towels, bed making and turn down are standard for each day. The hotel staff on board has been there a long time. I have become friends with many of them. They will be happy to accommodate you any way they can.
Each cabin will have a hair dryer.
Shampoo and Conditioner
I suggest that you bring your own Shampoo and Conditioner as the ships has a generic one kind does all dispenser in the shower.
The Ocean Nova is like a hotel and like all good hotels the ship has laundry service. In your cabin, you’ll find laundry bags and a laundry ticket. Put your laundry in the bag and fill out the ticket and in 12 hours or so your laundry will be returned to your room. The charges will be added to your shipboard account. Normally I only travel with a few days of clothes and use the laundry service thus keeping the size of my duffle to a smaller size, not that it isn’t bigger than it should be.
I have had a few question about tipping on the ship. Tips are expected by the crew and the expedition team. Towards the end of the trip you’ll receive information on tipping. The information will suggest tipping amounts. Envelopes will be provided if you want to pay with cash. You can also pay with a credit card on your ship account. No need to do anything until the end of the trip and it will be all explained for you.
Ship Board Accounts
On board the ship you’ll have your own account. This account will be used for extras like laundry, bar bills, wine, internet etc.. You’ll do just as you do in a hotel and leave a credit card and at the end of the trip your account will be settled to this card or another if you wish. We’ll explain all of this in detail once you are aboard.
Internet and Email
Hopefully, we can all forget the internet and email for a while and enjoy our adventure to the remarkable part of the world we are visiting. However, you may wish to have an email account. The internet is positively outrageous so I won’t even recommend that. What I normally do is sign up for an email account and then email family and prime business accounts the email address. They then have a way to get in touch in case there are any issues. For me I’ll have Chris and my wife keep me posted on LuLa matters. You pay by kilobyte so you won’t be sending photos or any attachments. Once again everything will be explained about this system once we are onboard.
Hot New Gloves (Highly Recommended)
On a recent trip to Greenland, I saw the Zodiac drivers with these odd looking gloves. They told me they were fisherman gloves. I asked my son who has been a lobster fisherman about the kind of gloves he used when lobstering and he recommended the Atlas 282 TemRes Lobster Gloves. So, I went out and ordered a set for my wife and myself. The gloves have a liner and a textured outside surface. These gloves will best used for zodiac rides and excursions to shore. For these trips, you sit on a pontoon and hold onto a rope. You will get splashed and these gloves will do the trick to keep your hands dry. Once on shore you can change into your regular gloves. You can find these gloves at Landfall for a cost of $25.99. I’m sure they are available elsewhere as well as possibly other brands. I suggest you consider these.
A Guided Tour By Kevin Raber Of The Ocean Nova
Welcome aboard the Ocean Nova. I have been fortunate enough to have sailed on this ship numerous times in both Polar regions. It’s a good ship and it’s perfect of an expedition like the one we are about to embark on. I was in Greenland this past September on board the Ocean Nova and with the help of Chris Sanderson made a video tour of the ship. It’s a good way to see the ship you’ll be spending three weeks on. The staff on board the ship have been on board for a long time. Lots of familiar faces and it’s always great to see them again on a new cruise. You’ll get to know many of them by name over our three-week journey.
How To Dress Video
Last week I was on board the Ocean Nova with Chris Sanderson. This is my favorite ship and I have been aboard her many times. The same hotel staff and crew was there that has been there for years. They are really looking forward to our group. During our trip, we made a couple of videos. One is a guided tour of the Ocean Nova and the other on how to dress for Polar weather is below. The guided tour and more information will be available soon. I’m in Germany this week and will post more when I get home.
Questions and Answers – Part 1
ANSWER: In all my years coming to Antarctica I watch a lot of photographers come all geared out. They think they are visiting the most extreme place on earth. And, while it is extreme it is not much different weather wise from what you find at home in most northern climates. A good camera pack is a real wise investment and most come with rain covers. For the most part, that is all you need. Dry Bags are a pain to work with. In my pack, I carry a few trash bags. If things become extreme which means spray from a bumpy zodiac ride or an unexpected snow or rain storm, I pull out a bag and drop my bag in it and tie it off. Simple and light.
QUESTION: As you know I carry and use Lee Filters (NDs, ND grads and a Polariser). Thinking about the sort of photography we’ll be doing I’m not sure how useful it’ll be to bring these? What’s your view?
ANSWER: The only filter I have ever used or needed in Antarctica was a polarizer. There isn’t anything I can’t do in post as long as I have a good histogram regarding graduated filters. Of course, it is up to you. When going ashore I like to stay unencumbered. With my early trips to Antarctica, I tended to bring every piece of gear I owned. I brought tripods that I never used. I brought every filter I had and never used them. I learned that good exposure discipline or when in doubt good bracketing always got me an exposure I could use. You’ll be wanting to shoot fast. This is a lot different environment than many of you may be accustomed to. There will be so much to shoot that you’ll want to be able to capture everything and you can only do that by being flexible and carrying a light load. More on this soon.
This is my flight information for the trip.
29 JAN 18 – MONDAY
AIR DELTA AIR LINES INC FLT:2281 NO MEAL SVC
LV INDIANAPOLIS 639P EQP: MD-88
AR ATLANTA 825P NON-STOP
ARRIVE: SOUTH TERMINAL REF: HPSI95
AIR DELTA AIR LINES INC FLT:147 DINNER
LV ATLANTA 1026P EQP: BOEING 767-300 WI
DEPART: MAYNARD JACKSON INTL TERM 09HR 29MIN
30 JAN 18 – TUESDAY
AR SANTIAGO SCL 955A NON-STOP
AIR LATAM AIRLINES GROUP FLT:289 ECONOMY FOOD-BEV/PUR
OPERATED BY LATAM AIRLINES CHILE
LV SANTIAGO SCL 1210P EQP: AIRBUS A321
AR PUNTA ARENAS 447P 1-STOP
VIA PUERTO MONTT
10 FEB 18 – SATURDAY
AIR LATAM AIRLINES GROUP FLT:282 ECONOMY FOOD-BEV/PUR
OPERATED BY LATAM AIRLINES CHILE
LV PUNTA ARENAS 143P EQP: AIRBUS A321
AR SANTIAGO SCL 503P NON-STOP
AIR DELTA AIR LINES INC FLT:146 DINNER
LV SANTIAGO SCL 950P EQP: BOEING 767-300 WI
11 FEB 18 – SUNDAY
AR ATLANTA 534A NON-STOP
ARRIVE: MAYNARD JACKSON INTL TERM REF: HPSI95
AIR DELTA AIR LINES INC FLT:2986 NO MEAL SVC
LV ATLANTA 913A EQP: MD-88
DEPART: SOUTH TERMINAL 01HR 33MIN
AR INDIANAPOLIS 1046A NON-STOP
It is important and required that you purchase travel insurance for this trip. While the chance of any issues is minimal it is always good to be insured. It is especially important for medical evacuation. You can google options for travel insurance. I have used Travelguard or Insure My Trip or Travelex .
Cold Hands, Cold Head, Cold Body – No Way
Two important things to make sure you have covered before leaving for the trip are your head and hands. The time of year we are visiting S. Georgia and Antarctica will be during the early spring but it can still be cold.
Dressing in layers is the best way to stay warm. I have already explained that I wear a set of long underwear all the times. Then regular outdoor clothes. On ship I have a pair of docksider shoes to wear. You’ll want shoes that will work well on wet decks. I like docksiders as they can be slipped on real quickly in case the alarm goes off for whales or other photo sightings. Before going out on an excursion I put on an extra pair of warm socks. The ship will have boots for you and you will wear these boots when on shore excursions or on a Zodiac cruise.
I always wear long underwear when visiting Antarctica unless it is a cruising day. There are many types of warm long johns you can purchase. I really like Winter Silks as they are lightweight and really warm. This is accompanied by an undershirt of the same material.
Before going out on an excursion (shore or Zodiac) I put on an extra pair of warm socks. Then Waterproof pants. I use Marmot pants but there are a number of different makers of these type of pants. I also have a light weight vest. I have a real lightweight Atom LT Vest made by Arc’teryx as well as a Columbia fleece vest. My outer jacket is a Ceres Jacket by Arc’teryx. I also have a Columbia Omni-Heat light weight jacket. All of these keep me extremely warm. I have used these in much colder weather than we will experience.
Head cover is important and there are a number of great hats out there. I own tons of winter hats and all do a good job at keeping me warm. Columbia makes a very warm lightweight hat. A must have just in case is a balaclava. I purchase mine from Duluth Trading Company. You can find warm versions for both men and women at any sporting goods store or supplier. These will be good when out in a Zodiac or if we encounter really windy days. I normally keep one of these in my pack and can just slip it on if it gets cold. It’s good to have two of everything just in case things get wet.
Your gloves are the most important part. If we weren’t trying to operate cameras it would be easy to just get warm gloves. But, we need our fingers to operate our cameras. You will be shooting from the ship, zodiacs and on shore. I have a pair of what I call Zodiac gloves. They are used primarily for the ride into shore. When riding a Zodiac you will be holding onto a rope handle and things may get wet. These gloves cover the wrists and keep out water if you do get wet from going down your sleeves. Columbia makes a good pair of these called Bugaboo.
Once on shore I can slip into my glove liners and regular gloves. I get these from Winter Silks. Then I have two different types of gloves I use depending on the day. One version is the Columbia Omni-Heat Touch. These gloves also have finger tips that allow you to work on touch screens. Most of the time in conjunction with glove liners they will keep your hands plenty warm. I also use a shooters mittens. I get these from Sierra Trading Company and they are called Glomitts for men and Women’s are available HERE.
So, this gives you a pretty good idea of what you will need. I highly recommend you take a look at Sierra Trading company as they always seem to have good deals. If you have any questions let me know.
Thoughts On Safety etc. . .
When it comes to safety, you are number one. Nothing is more important than taking care of your own safety on this trip. This means taking care getting on and off the zodiacs, wearing sun-screen, getting enough sleep and hydration, conservative consumption of alcohol, and other self-care topics.
But the second most important safety topic is the safety of your images. You are spending a considerable amount of money to get to this remote part of the world, and the last thing that you want is to get home having somehow lost some or all of your image files. So, the following are my recommendations for ensuring the safety of your images.
– As soon as you get back to your cabin, either at the end of a Zodiac excursion or at the end of a shooting period on the deck, copy your files to a hard drive. If you use a program like Lightroom or Capture One then import the files into a new Library created for this trip.
– Do Not Erase Your Cards. If possible, try and have enough card storage to last the entire trip. If you’re using Lightroom, for example, the program will automatically know which files on the card are already in the library and which are new ones, and it will ignore them, only importing those it hasn’t seen before.
This will make your cards a primary back up. Meaning, that when you travel home you will keep all of your card together in a card wallet and place them separately from your external hard drive(s), usually in your camera bag.
This means that you will want to have several 32GB, 64GB or larger cards. Depending on what camera(s) you shoot with you’ll need to judge how big the cards should be and how many you need. When you insert a new or empty card in the camera it will tell you how many files it can handle and you can use this information to judge how many and of what size. I am bringing 64, 128 and 256 gig cards.
Assume that you are going to shoot as many as a thousand frames a day. No, I’m not kidding. When we see some subjects, such as whales, you’ll have your camera on high-speed-burst mode and you can easily take several hundred frames during a half hour sighting. You’ll also be shooting panos, doing exposure bracketing and the like. Even landscape work, icebergs, and cloudscapes from the deck of the ship will consume hundreds of frames at a time.
– Bring at least two 1 Terabyte external drives; USB-3 or Thunderbolt. A 1T external drive is currently between $60 and $75. The reason you want two, is to have one as your main drive and the second as a backup. At the end of each day you’ll make it a routine to copy all the new files from your Library or Catalog on your main drive to your backup drive.
– Using an indelible black marker put your name, email address and phone number on the back of the drives. You will be on the ship with 60 other photographers and accidentally swapping drives is always possible. This is because we spend a lot of time with our laptops in the panoramic lounge working on files, looking at each others work, and having instruction. There will likely be 20 or so drives just like yours in the lounge at any time.
Security of your laptop and drives while on the ship isn’t an issue. We all leave our computer gear and cameras and lenses laying around unattended. There’s nowhere for them to go. But cases of mistaken identity are not uncommon, so mark your drives.
– It’s the last day of the trip and you’re packing and getting ready to fly home. You now have three copies of all of your files; the primary drive, your backup drive, and your card wallet of originals. What you want to do is to put the cards in your camera bag, one of the drives in your briefcase/carry-on/purse, and the second drive in your checked suitcase. Using this strategy the chance of your arriving home without your precious files is minimized.
Internet and Email On-Board
We are headed to the bottom of the planet. There is no cell phone coverage or Internet. Once we leavePunta Arenas your cell phone will not have a signal until your return. The ship does have email and very expensive internet. My suggestion is if you are worried about people reaching you from back home that you set up an email account. Once on board, you’ll be able to open an account and receive an email address to use for the duration of the trip. Do an email home to the people who may need to reach you with your shipboard email address. Then when needed you can check email messages or send email home. The internet is available at really slow speeds and is expensive. There is an Iridium Satelite Phone available. You can purchase a card to make calls with once onboard. As we get closer to the date we will send you pricing for Internet and Satelite phone usage. If you have questions AXXI will answer them for you once on board.
Some passengers in the past have rented satellite phones for use on the trip. A simple google search will show a number of companies offering this service. If you go this route make sure you get a phone that will work in Antarctica. There is limited satellite coverage in the South Polar region.
Power On The Ship
Powering all your gear while on board is a challenge. Most of us will be bringing a laptop, iPad, phone and of course chargers for our camera batteries. Each cabin has one twin outlet. The voltage is 220 volts and uses a standard European outlet. This means that each person in the room has only one outlet to use. Getting by is pretty easy though.
I carry all my electric gear and adapters in two pouches that I bought from Gura Gear along with the wire ties. As you can see by the photos, I start off with a heavy duty non-fused extension cord. The obvious advantages of this is I only need one adapter and I can power three devices from it. I can plug my laptop, camera battery charger and an iPad into this one cord. Please make sure all your devices are 220V compatible. Most camera chargers are, some require you to slide a switch if changing voltage. Make sure you understand your chargers. If you need more outlets it just takes some creative shifting around of outlets.
Another hint especially for charging batteries is to label your batteries so you can keep track of which ones are to be charged. I carry a small ziplock bag with me and I put batteries to be charged in this bag. Once charged I move them back to my charged battery pouch in my camera bag.
There is no cell coverage where we are going so charging a phone won’t be needed unless you use it for something else. Creative juggling of what is or is not charging will get you through the trip.
Much of the time while we are moving from one point to another we will be using the sky lounge. There are a number of outlets in this lounge and many attendees like to work on the images in this lounge. So, bring an extra adapter and extension cord so you can work in the lounge. There is also a lounge in the back of the ship that is usually a quiet area and you can also set yourself up to edit images there.
There are numerous types of power adapters available. As you can see I use very simple ones. I also tape these adapters to my extension cords before leaving so I don’t leave them behind in outlets or lose them.