Departing for Iceland, Greenland and Svalbard 2014 Workshops and Expeditions

This is my last post for a while as I will be piling  into the taxi shortly and heading to the airport to make my way to Iceland for my 2014 back-to-back Ultimate Iceland workshops. I have been looking forward to these two workshops for some time as we are circumnavigating the island during both these tours and taking in a great many of its incredible locations. I am particularly looking forward to returning to Dettifoss and Selfoss waterfalls as well as well as the geothermal highland regions of Landmannalaugar and Vedivotn. Both of these areas are more or less inaccessible in winter and both are two of my favourite areas for photography in Iceland. We will have hours of golden light under the midnight sun which is going to give us lots of opportunities to make incredible images in this amazing country.At the conclusion of these two Iceland workshops I will be boarding the expedition ship Polar Pioneer and sailing to Greenland and Svalbard on the Jewels of the Arctic Expeditions. Greenland and Svalbard offer incredible opportunities and the high Arctic is a breathtaking landscape to experience and explore and I am very much looking forward to returning. You can read a report on last years Jewels of the Arctic expedition HERE. Peter Eastway who accompanied me as my co-leader also had a Feature Article in Better Photography magazine on this exciting adventure. We are looking forward to monolithic icebergs, glaciers, towering mountains that guard the fjords and with a little luck we will see and photograph the King of the Arctic – the Polar Bear. If you are interested in photographing Polar Bears then Daniel Bergmann and I are running an expedition for just twelve photographers in August next year dedicated to photographing the King of the Arctic. You can read more about that expedition HERE. Places are now very limited.

I usually make a dedicated post on what equipment I am taking with me on each trip but I have just not had time over the last few weeks so am including it here: The Canon 1DX will remain my primary camera of choice for these trips. I will also carry a back up Canon 1DS MK3 and a couple of spare batteries so that I can shoot with both cameras when on ship and zodiac in the Arctic. 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. I have long pondered the idea of taking a camera with more mega pixels with me (particularly for Iceland) but I have ultimately decided that the quality of the pixels in the 1DX are more than good enough for my requirements. I have been making really wonderful 20 x 30 and 40 x 60 inch prints from Canon 1DX files and have now sold quite a lot of large prints made with images taken with the 1DX. The 1DSMK3 is somewhat long in the tooth these days, but it still makes excellent photographs at low ISO and in its rugged 1-seris body its the ideal 2nd body for photography in the Arctic regions.

In terms of new equipment for these trips I am taking the new Canon 16-35mm F4L IS lens and am looking forward to shooting with this lens from ship and zodiac in the Arctic. Canon has long needed a high quality wide angle zoom and the new 16-35mm F4L IS lens has finally plugged that gap. You can read my thoughts on Canon’s current lens line-up HERE.

Gura Gear Bataflae 32L: (carry on luggage – Believe it or not this does all fit in the one camera bag!)

  • Canon EOS 1DX Pro Body Camera
  • Canon EOS 1DS MK3 Pro Body Camera
  • Canon 17mm F4L TSE Lens
  • Canon 24mm F3.5L TSE MKII Lens
  • Canon 16-35mm F4L IS 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 MKII Lens
  • Canon 600mm F4L IS MKII Lens
  • 2 x Spare Batteries for the 1DX and 1DS MK3
  • Canon 1.4 TC MKIII Tele-Extender
  • Leica Ultra-Vid HD Binoculars
  • 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 LEE adapter for the Canon 17mm TSE Lens

I am carrying the two TSE lenses specifically for landscape photography in Iceland. I expect to use the new Canon 16-35mm F4L IS when on my Jewels of the Arctic expedition when shooting from ship and zodiac. I am primarily carrying the 600m and 200-400mm lenses for Polar Bears and other wildlife in the Arctic, but also intend to use them to photograph birds at Jökulsarlon in Iceland.

Gura Gear Chobe Bag: (carry on luggage)

  • 15″ Macbook Pro with Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CS6 with the Nik Plugin suite
  • MacBook Power Adapter
  • Canon 200-400mm F4L IS Lens with inbuilt 1.4 TC (Watch the Unboxing Video) This lens ‘just’ fits inside the Chobe!
  • 1 x LACIE Thunderbolt External 1TB Hard Drive for in the field 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)
  • USB CF and SD Card reader
  • Passport / iPhone / Wallet
  • Astell and Kern AK100 MK2 High Definition Portable Audio Player & Inner Ear Stage 2 Driver Headphones
  • 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
  • 66º North Wet and Cold Weather Outer Shells
  • Arc’teryx Kappa and Atom LT Jackets
  • Devold Expedition Base Layers
  • Mid Layers – Trekking Pants and Tops
  • Light Weight Long Sleeve Shirts for Namibia
  • Gloves and Hat
  • Miscellaneous clothes
  • Personal items and toiletries – including Sunscreen

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

I am going to do my best as always to update my blog whilst I am away; but posts may be somewhat sporadic, particularly when I am at sea in the Arctic. For now, I have nearly thirty six hours of travel ahead of me and it’s time to make a start. See you in Iceland.

4 thoughts on “Departing for Iceland, Greenland and Svalbard 2014 Workshops and Expeditions

  1. Hello,

    I would like to know how well the TVC24L tripod works with the 600mmm lens when the tripod is fully extended. I realize not a concern in Iceland but for wildlife it is another matter. TVC34L would support the 600mm better but is more than an inch longer when collapsed and that can be a problem with its fitting in many overhead bins with air travel.


  2. I would like to see a photo of your all the gear in the 32L. On a recent trip I had mine fully loaded with a 500mm f/4, 80-400mm, 200mm and 105mm macro, 1.4x & 2x teleconverters, and two speedlights. Total weight came in at 17 kgs. so the strategy you use of a under the seat backpack or shoulder bag is one I plan to use in the future.


  3. Thanks for the advice. Plan to use it at 66″ height with 600mm and 500mm lenses for birds in trees. Travel with the 24.4″ TVC-34L will be limited to travel by car and will continue to use my Feisol CT-3472 tripod when flying anywhere. As always no one piece of gear is best in all situations.


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