Antartica, Here I Come!

“My bags are packed. I’m ready to go…”

I’ve got that John Denver song in my head, as I always do right before a trip. This Sunday I board a plane and head south – way, way south; Right to the bottom of the world. That’s right, Antartica.


It might sound ironic, but my journey to Antarctica has been a long one. I originally planned to travel there last December, but unfortunately the ship I was going to hop had mechanical problems and the trip was scrubbed. I was given about a weeks notice.

Needless to say I was pretty pissed off. It was too late for me to jump another ship, and a lot of my other South American plans were thrown into chaos. But, you know, one thing about traveling, it’s best just to go with the flow somethings. As a result of not going to Antartica last year, I went on a trek around Mont Blanc instead. That trip turned out to be one of my all-time favorites.

And now, here I am, days away from heading to Antartica – with a much better tour company, Quark Expeditions. Like most trips, there is lots of “in between times” where you are between destinations, recovering, or planning. These are some of my favorite times. You find a coffee shop with local vibe, good coffee and wifi. It’s where I work best. I think clearly without distractions and are truly living in the moment. Thankfully I work for a cloud computing company which means that I can be productive wherever I am.

IMG_0475Unlike many of my travels, this time I don’t need to carry my pack a whole lot. This makes selecting what camera gear to bring a bit easier. Obviously it’s going to be friggin’ cold so you have to be careful of condensation and fog. I’d read that a good strategy is to bring two cameras to avoid having to change lens whilst outside. I decided to bring my D810 with my favorite lens, a Nikkor 35mm 1.4f prime, and my D800E with a Nikkor 70-200mm 2.8f. I fitted both with polarizing filters to reduce reflections from the water, and bring out the contrasts more. After much debate I decided to leave my Nikkor 14-24mm 2.8f at home. As much as I love this lens, and I might regret it when camping on the continent looking up at the stars, I just find that the lens is so wide, you capture too much in the frame. Yes, you can crop it, but my goto lens is now my 35mm prime. It’s tack sharp and forces you to take a few extra moments to frame your shot well. Plus, carrying the 14-24mm is like carrying a brick. I carried that sucker all the way up to Everest base camp a few years back.

Now I just need to get past the Drake passage….