Packing for Antarctica 2013

As has become traditional I like to write up a packing list entry before I leave for an overseas workshop or expedition. This time I am heading back to Antarctica to lead a photography expedition with my friend Daniel Bergmann. Our expedition departs from Ushuaia on the 9th of November and we will be sailing across the Drake Passage to Antarctica where we will explore the Peninsula in an ice hardened expedition class ship – Polar Pioneer. We then sail across to the Falkland Islands and conclude our trip on the 23rd of November. I will be staying on in South America and heading to Patagonia for a week on a personal trip afterward so will be packing for both ship and shore photography. I am more or less packing the same equipment I took to Iceland, Svalbard and Greenland in July and August this year although I have decided to leave my 24mm TSE lens at home this time to save a little bit of weight. As much as I really enjoy shooting with this lens its focal length is already covered in the excellent 24-70mm F2.8L MKII. Additionally, much of the photography in Antarctica is from ship and zodiac without a tripod. Although I can hand hold this lens and still make tilt and shift adjustments it is somewhat awkward to do so on a zodiac and I have found from experience that I end up not using it when shooting from ships.

I had planned to upgrade my Macbook Pro to the new Retina model when it was announced this month in time for this Antarctica expedition but decided in hindsight it was an unnecessary upgrade and will continue with my current machine. There are significant weight savings in the new model (as well as the much improved retina display) however these advantages come at a significant cost and make little sense for the purpose I currently use the machine. You can read my thoughts on the subject in my post: Why I am Ditching the Macbook Pro Line. I will be doing a follow up post in the coming weeks with my thoughts on the new Mac Pro now that I have had time to fully look into the specifications. Suffice to say for now that the new Mac Pro is really optimised for 4k video editing and contains GPU’s that are simply massive overkill for still photography production.

The Canon 1DX will be my primary camera of choice for this trip. I will also carry my original 1DS MK3 as a back-up in the unlikely event of a failure. I will also carry a number of spare batteries so that I can cycle them in and out of warm pockets. Experience has shown me that I can pretty much go an entire day without a battery change but I like to have spares on hand just in case.

Gura Gear Bataflae 32L: (carry on luggage)

  • Canon EOS 1DX Pro Body Camera
  • Canon EOS 1DS MK3 Pro Body Camera
  • Sigma 15mm Fish Eye Lens (I have some specific shots in mind for this specialist lens)
  • Canon 17mm F4L TSE Lens
  • Canon 24-70mm F2.8L MKII Lens (The MKII version of this lens is an amazing piece of glass)
  • Canon 70-200mm F2.8L IS Lens
  • Canon 200-400mm F4L IS Lens with inbuilt 1.4 TC (Watch the Unboxing Video)
  • 4 x Spare Batteries for the Canon Cameras
  • 1 x Macro Extension Tube
  • Cable Release and Bubble Level
  • Assorted CF and SD Cards totalling around 100 Gigabytes
  • Rocket Blower and Dust Cleaning paraphernalia
  • Complete LEE Foundation and Filter Kit with Soft and Hard ND Graduated filters and LEE Polariser – includes a custom made adapter for the Canon 17mm TSE Lens

Gura Gear Chobe Bag: (carry on luggage)

  • 15″ Macbook Pro with Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CS6 with the Nik Plugin suite
  • MacBook Power Adapter
  • 2 x 1TB iOmega dual firewire 800 Hard Drives (for dual in the field image back up)
  • Various Power Adapters / Chargers and Associated Cables
  • Canon 1DX / 1DS MK3 Battery  Charger
  • iPad Mini (e-books and movies for the long flights)
  • Firewire 800 CF Reader
  • Passport / iPhone / Wallet
  • A lot of these items I store inside Gura Gear Etcetera cases inside the Chobe. (These cases are fabulous for organising accessories)

North Face Thunder Rolling Duffle: (checked luggage)

  • Arctic Sport Muck Boots (For use in the zodiacs in Antarctica)
  • 66º North Wet and Cold Weather Outer Shells
  • Base Layers
  • Mid Layers – Trekking Pants and Tops
  • Gloves and Hat
  • Miscellaneous clothes
  • Personal items and toiletries – including Sunscreen (The Ozone layer is extremely thin in the Poles and it is very easy to get sun burned in minutes)

Tripod: (checked luggage)

  • Really Right TVC24L Tripod
  • Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ball Head
  • Really Right Stuff Tripod Spikes (For mossy ground and rock claws for ice and rock)
  • Jobo Jnr. Deluxe Gimbal Head with Really Right Stuff Dovetail Base Plate

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