The Emperors Expedition and South Georgia / Antarctica Packing List 2016

As is traditional for me, I like to post my packing list before an expedition and this particular list has probably give me more pause for thought than any in recent time. I am packing for both my Emperor Penguin Expedition and Photographers First light Expedition to South Georgia and Antarctica and although the two destinations are very similar (both in Antarctica) they require different approaches. Just as an aside, for those of you who have emailed me asking if I will be running another expedition to the Emperors in the future the answer is ‘maybe’ at this stage. I have pencilled in for a possible expedition in November 2018, but as yet nothing is confirmed. The best way to stay up to date on a possible future Emperor trip is to just drop me an email and register your interest.

In terms of subject matter, the Emperors expedition is absolutely all about Wildlife (as is South Georgia), but the Antarctica portion of the First Light Expedition is ship based with a significant emphasis on landscape and icebergs and that requires some different equipment (at least it does for me). I have decided to take the 85mm F1.2L MKII lens as I have long wanted to use this lens in Antarctica and the Emperor Penguins provide the ideal subject. The lenses depth of field at f1.2 is razor thin making it the perfect tool for getting just the eye sharp. In addition, I am also taking my 600mm F4L IS MKII lens as I have really fallen in love with the telephoto compression of this lens and love the effect it has of bringing the background close to the subject. A 600mm lens is absolutely not required for the Emperor Penguins or South Georgia – it just so happens I love the effect enough to schlep it all the way to the interior of Antarctica and South Georgia Island. I am also packing a Really Right Stuff tripod with Satchler FSB-6 fluid head for the 600mm lens in my checked luggage. With all of that in mind I settled on the following as my selection for these two expeditions:

Gura Gear Bataflae 32L Camera Bag (Carry on Luggage)

– 2 x Canon EOS 1DX MKII bodies
– 1 x Canon EOS 5DSR body
– 1 x Canon 11-24mm F4L Lens
– 1 x Canon 24-70mm F2.8L IS MK II Lens
– 1 x Canon 85mm F1.2L IS MK II Lens (specifically for the Emperor Penguins)
– 1 x Canon 70-200mm F2.8L MKII IS Lens
– 1 x Canon 300mm F2.8L MKII IS Lens
– 1 x Canon 600mm F4L IS MKII Lens
– 1 x Sigma 15mm Fish Eye Lens
Gura Gear Chobe (Carry on Luggage)
– 1 x Apple MacBook Pro 15″ Retina (I plan to upgrade this to the new 13″ model early next year)
– 1 x Apple laptop charger
– 2 x USB 3 2TB external portable Sandisk SSD Drives
– 1 x  Thunderbolt CFast card reader and CF card Reader
– 1 x Sunglasses and sunglasses case
– 1 x Leica Ultra-vid 10×42 HD Binoculars
Etcetera Case #1 (Inside Chobe)
– 1 x Canon 1-Series camera charger
– 2 x Power Adapters for on board ship
– 2 x Canon 1DX spare Batteries
– 2 x Canon 5DSR spare Batteries
Etcetera Case #2 (Inside North Face Duffle)
– 1 x Arctic Butterfly Sensor Cleaner
– 1 x Filter Wrench
– 1 x Zeiss Cleaning Fluid and Lens Cleaning Tissue
– 1 x Micro Fibre Lens Cloth
– 1 x Rocket Blower with Hepa-Filter
I have been toying for some time with the idea of adding the new Canon 100-400mm MKII lens to my arsenal (as a replacement for the 70-200mm), but in the end decided I really wanted the faster 2.8 lens for these particular trips. It should be said though, that the new Canon 100-400mm MKII lens is a really superb optical package at an incredibly attractive price. When you consider the much more expensive and much heavier 200-400mm F4L IS Lens is more than six times the price for very little increase in resolution (although it is faster and has an inbuilt teleconverter) it makes the new 100-400mm MKII a veritable bargain. If you need a flexible and versatile telephoto lens on a budget its really hard to go past this new lens.
In addition to all of the above, I am also taking a CamFi remote trigger system for the Canon EOS1DX MKII system. I recently reviewed the CamFi here on my blog (Read the Review) and am looking forward to trialling this very useful product it in Antarctica.
There is one other important piece of documentation that has become a must have on all my travels and that is an Australian Customs Declaration form. If you are travelling internationally from Australia you can read about the benefit arming yourself with this documentation HERE.

Photo Plus Expo in New York

Before I make my way down to South America and Antarctica I will be spending some time in New York for the Photo Plus Expo and will be presenting at both the BenQ and Canon Stands on Saturday and Sunday as well as the Community College of Rhode Island a few days later. If you are at the show be sure to come and say hello. See you in the New York!14466995_10210904338992494_1634388334_oP.S Christmas will be coming a little bit early for me this year… After much deliberation I placed an order this week for a Nauticam underwater housing the Canon EOS 1DX MKII camera and an optical glass dome port to accomodate the Canon 11-24mm F4L Lens. Although they wont arrive in time for the Antarctic expeditions this year; I am very much looking forward to using them in Svalbard in Winter early next year (with a new ‘polecam’ system for split level and underwater images). My sincere thanks to Peter at ScubaPix for all his assistance with the selection of dome port and accessories for this project.DSC_9367__19597.1462232108.1280.1280


2 thoughts on “The Emperors Expedition and South Georgia / Antarctica Packing List 2016

  1. Josh, I am impressed that you think you can stow all those lenses and bodies in the Guru Bataflae backpack. Looks like virtually impossible to me.


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