Departing on The Spirit of Antarctica Expedition 2014

My friend Antony Watson and I recently finished up ten days trekking and photography in the back country of Patagonia and have spent the last few days in Ushuaia at the bottom of South America. I admit, that at this point South America is starting to feel like my home away from home and that my Spanish is now about as good as my Icelandic! Later today we depart on our final Antarctica expedition for the year to the Antarctic Peninsula where we hope to encounter more amazing icebergs, landscapes and polar wildlife. We have a ship full of keen and passionate photographers all eager to get underway and get some polar frames in the can. The enthusiasm of a ship full of photographers about to embark on an Antarctic odyssey is a fantastic energy resource and one can’t help but get swept up in the excitement. 20141125_Patagoniaiphone_02073111As expected Patagonia was a mixed bag of weather and light (or should I say wind, wind and more wind!). The scenery of this amazing location is breathtaking – the precipitous peaks, the plunging mountains and wild terrain is really phenomenal. Hiking through this terrain really puts a perspective on the sheer scope and scale of the geological uplift. I have personally found Patagonia a challenging place to photograph in the past and this trip was no different. The scenery really needs just the right combination of weather and light to really create great images. I have seen a lot of photography from Patagonia over the years and those images that really stand out for me are those that have captured the most dramatic weather and light. Patagonia remains for me one of those places that is dramatic to behold but photographically elusive. I am sure I have some good images from Patagonia, but I am not sure I have any definitive ones as yet. I need to look at my photographs with fresh eyes in a couple of months to really get a feel for what I did or did not accomplish. I took a laid back approach to my photography in Patagonia and was happy in many instances to simply take it in and leave the cameras in the bag.  I did very much enjoy our long days of hiking through Patagonia and was very appreciative of the light weight 5D MKIII loaned to me by my good friend Martyn. The thought of schlepping one of my Canon EOS 1DX’s up some of those mountains would have in all likelihood seen me choose to stay at the bar. In fact, it is worth noting that the hiking was fairly arduous and I am not ashamed to admit I arrived at our campsite several evenings tired and sore. Hiking the back country of Patagonia with good friends was one of those life experiences you never forget and the memories from this trip will I hope stay with me forever. I hope to write more about our experiences in Patagonia over the coming months as my thoughts congeal from both our hiking and photographic experiences. Until then, its time to turn my attention again to Antarctica.

We will be sailing down the Beagle Channel in a few hours and making our way across the Drake Passage bound for Antarctica. No two Antarctic expeditions are ever the same and I am looking forward to seeing what this one has in store for us. As always we will chase the weather and light for the best possible photography opportunities. Sleep will as always be kept to an absolute minimum as we search for spectacular midnight sun polar light. This will be my final post for the next two weeks before we dock back in Ushuaia. Bon Voyage.

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