WOW Antartica, please tell me you saw some Emperor Penguins, they are amazing!! I too am booked to Spitsbergen and like yourself really excited. I belong to a camera club and several of our members have done this trip and haven't been disappointed, even last year there was still ice around, and some of the shots of mother bears and cubs were amazing!!!!! I am, at the moment, venturing into AV mode, having been a strictly automatic photograher todate, but now, being retired, have more time to concentrate on my photography, the downside being, the grey cells need kick starting to take in all the technology including Elements 10!!!! What camera equipment do you intend taking?
Alterego Life is for living!
Keen to hear what others are taking camera wise. I think I'm taking a Canon 500D with an image stabalised 18-55 and 70-300, plus a Powershot SX50 so I have a bit of versatility in one bit of kit and two lenses for the SLR wiich are pretty good but won't leave me traumatised if they get doused in salt water!!! Am also pretty excted - even more so after watching the BBC programme The Polar Bear Family and Me!
As there are a few dates in July, im going on dates Tue 16 Jul - Sun 28 Jul 13 with Paul Goldstein.
Looks like i made a blunder on the dates, i could make excuses of busy day etc.. but thats just excusing my lack of attention to detail and my inability to cut and paste properly
So the dates im doing with Paul are Departing UK Sun 14th till Returning UK 28th July
In all my trips ive only ever seen people use knee pads once and that was in South Georgia when you spend more time kneeling to get eye level shots of penguins etc.. I wont be taking them.. Its a personal thing i would guess and how comfortable an individual feels on there knees. As for photographic gear i will be taking 2 bodies, one loaded with a 17-85 and another with a 100-400 at the moment but that may change to a 500 prime or 200-400 if canon release it in time (highly unlikely though).. I have 6x16gb cards which should cover 3000 images but i will back up to a data storage device coupled on an ipad.. A monopod will be taken, not sure about a tripod yet.. Will also be taking some rain protection for my gear in case the weather changes..
Hi everyone...just signed up and wanted to say hello.
Really looking forward to the trip and have loads of questions. My kit is an EOS 5D Mk II with various lenses from 16 to 300mm. Last year I hired a 500mm for an African safari and am thinking of doing the same again plus a 1.4x converter. Am also considering hiring a second camera body for the reasons Matt M mentioned. Are there any evening slide shows planned or have I missed them? Look forward to meeting fellow travellers.
JC if you're hiring a second camera body it might be worth going for the 7D as the cropped sensor will reduce the field of view by 1.6x so a 300mm lens has the same field of view as a 480mm lens on a full frame sensor camera - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/APS-C
I'll be using my 7D for longer shots and my 5D mk II for landscapes and close shots.
Interesting idea. What do you think of the difference in quality, though? I worry that having got used to the quality of the full frame sensor I'd regard all the shots from the 7D as not quite as good. That's not to criticise it as a camera, or anyone who's got one, but one reason I bought the 5D was becasue of the image quality (obviously, I guess).
What do you think about hiring a 500mm lens?
The 5D is definately better when using higher ISO settings, I generally don't print my photos bigger than A4 (they mostly go on a couple of digital photo frames and my website) so any quality differences aren't apparent. For me the advantage of the cropped sensor on the 7D (plus more focussing facilities) outway possible quality differences with the 5D for longer distance wildlife shots, plus all my lenses are EF mount so I can use them on either body.
I did consider hiring a long prime lens but my home city is now almost bereft of high end camera shops, based on previous wildlife trips it would be handy to have a fast prime telephoto lens for low light conditions but they are quite heavy and too expensive to purchase for one trip.
I'm probably going to bring a monopod in case I need it on deck, a tripod would probably be too cumbersome.
I do sometimes print at A2 and I have one A1 image on my wall, though like you, I usually send to my website or print smaller into photobooks. Re hiring a lens: I've used Lenses for Hire in the past and will be doing so again. They deliver and pick up, and make the whole experience really easy. The 500mm is a big lens, but worth it I reckon esp with the 1.4 converter. I'm only going on this trip once!
I've just had a look at their website, looks interesting.
I use a 7D and have images blown up on to large canvass and have no problem with image quality.. On paper the 7D would be an advantage for wildlife over the 5dmk2 for a couple of reasons, increased FPS, more AF points and obviously the 1.6 crop factor but its personal choice as is all photography. The 500 + 1.4tc would give you great reach as long as you have an alternative lens should subjects get much closer.. When I was there in 2009 a prime would really be the only option as bears were distant, however many of the recent trips have seen bears much closer so a range of accessible lens would be my suggestion or a zoom such as a 100-400 or 50-500 if shooting sigma. It’s the old Prime versus Zoom debate and one I won’t get into here, once canon release the 200-400 this will be the lens of choice given is sharpness of a prime and versatility of being a zoom, a reason why im holding off buying the 500 prime.. Many people take tripods on this trip for using on the ship.. There is allot of waiting and scoping for movement in the snow scape so tripods really help but again its personal choice as they can’t be used in the zodiacs but then again neither can monopods..
Im based in London and joining the July 14-28 trip with Paul also!
I like wildlife shots but also dabble with landscapes--anyone else taking a tripod or doing some landscape stuff.
Be great to meet you all and its not that far off!
Hi John C
Yes indeed there is apparently a London pre trip get together at 7pm on 25 June at 21 Albermarle St but you need to register. I did this but so far have no email back yet so may ask whats the update.
Glad you are taking all the gear also!!
As most of us will--I have already started buying more flash cards and "bits for trip"..
even if no formal pre trip meet happens we can always sort something ourselves so lets see what happens.
Many thanksCol..I hadn't heard about it.
Will email Exodus for more info.
Look forward to seeing you there. Who else on here is going? How many fellow adventurers are London-based?
Theres you and me from London and all our gear, so not much room left on the ship perhaps!
BTW all I spoke to Exodus today who were very helpful and the evening London pre trip session is still on track as per email above dates etc.
my number is 0751 526 1137 also.
I remember when my kids were teenagers and went on school trips, they were always concerned taht their bags would be far bigger (or smaller) than their friends'. I think I'm going to get the same anxiety on this trip. I usually put my camera bag and laptop in a wheelie bag so it goes as carry-on, even on EasyJet where you can only take one bag into the cabin. On this trip we've asked to take 'soft sided' luggage as it is easy to store. Hmmm... then I thought maybe take my camera bag and a separate bag for the laptop, leaving behind the wheelie bag.
Any thoughts? What about Matt, who's been on the trip before?
Im northern based so unavailable for anything that exodus arrange in the south.
You do need really to take soft sided bags for your main luggage as storage in the cabins is very limited, exodus do sell them and they last for along time and very durable. Monopods as far as i remember are not to be used in the zodiacs, you either handhold or use the sides of the zodiac for support and crouch in the bottom. I could be wrong though but i dont remember anyone using them on my last 2 polar trips.. The zodiacs are snug so it needs clients to work together when photograph opportunities arise.. Polarizer is a must for landscape work, i guess if you like landscapes photography it would be worth bringing ND Grade Filters or alike, i will just take a Polarizer for wide angle work..
John, i think the 5dmk3 is a fantastic body as it inherits AF from the 1dx, it also has 61 point AF and more FPS the the 5dmk2.. Its very much the choice of many wildlife photographers over the 1dx because its much more affordable. If you google John e marriott he is a pro that uses 5dmk3 as his weapon of choice.. His images speak for themselves..
Thanks...all that advice is very useful.Will check out the mk3 hire situation.
Given how 'snug' the Zodiacs are, I assume why will accommodate a long lens? The 500mm which I hired for Kenya safari last year is a bit of a monster, long and wide. The updated one is lighter but not sure it is any shorter/narrower. Also...is it normal to take two camera bodies into the zodiac?
Apologies for bombaring you with q's.
Sorry you're not based down here for a get-together.
John, 500 is no problem.. Many clients take big primes.. As far as i can remember the Zodiacs take 10 people plus driver so its just a case of working with other clients should there be an open water photo opportunity. Everyone wants to get an image but chaos results in no one getting anything, its a case of taking in turns in some instances.. As for 2 bodies, yes 100% standard practice, would you really want to miss a shot because your changing lenses, i know i dont.. All the gear you take in the zodiac has to fit in a backpack and be on you back for going down the gangplank as you need to have both hands free to hold on to the railings... The weather is normally good and we had many days of fantastic weather last time to the degree that i got sunburnt at 2am in the morning watching a polar bear and cub through a spoyying scope.. 24 hour sunlight dont forget, photographers dream.. plenty of cards and regular backups. i have a 500gb storage device that i take and have 6 x 16gb cards which should be good for 3000 images :)
Thanks again, Matt.
Apologies for trying to use you as the main resource for my q's, but two more q's if you don't mind:
How similar is the 5D mk III to use (compared to the Mk II)? I don't want to miss a shot while fiddling with the controls any more than while changing lenses. As I'm so familiar with the MkII the controls seem intuitive.
Back to the kit issue: I assume you take a laptop with you in addition to your camera bag. If so, how do you transport it on the plane? Do you have a huge camera bag that takes the laptop as well as your kit, or a separate computer bag? (I know some airlines eg Easyjet only allow one piece of hand luggage, which is why I put my camera bag and laptop in a wheelie bag.
Ive never used the 5d range but in most cases the canon range have the same look and feel so it should be a pick up and use type situation. Most camera shops should have the 5dmk3 available to the customer so it might be worth taking a trip to a store. There will be new features on the mk3 but i wouldnt of thought it will be a big change from an ergonomics point of view. Of course i would hate for you to hire this lens and this a shot because i ill advised you.. Please only do what you feel comfortable with as the mk2 will cope fine and its your trip at the end of the day..
As for laptop, no i dont take one as i have enough gear to take, laptops are just another weight. I take an Ipad with photoediting software on. I use this just to view a few images throughout the trip. I have photo editing software on it so can do some work to see what an end result may look like. I back up all images to a 500gb Sanho Colourspace UDMA2 photo viewer. Its very like the epson and jobo image viewers but much faster and cheaper. Its fairly clunky but smaller then a laptop and transfer speed from card to device is immense. All of this kit goes with me in one lowepro camera pack on the plane, as my lens isnt that big then the bag itself isnt that huge but i would still do the same if i had a 500mm as i know that its one piece of handluggage in most instances so i adhere to that as i wouldnt want any of this kit going into the hold..
You might want to consider what your going to do if it rains and how you would protect your gear. In addition i would get some silica gell packs and put them in your day to day camera bag as the gear will get very cold when out in the field and the silica will help reduce moisture when it gets brought in from the cold to the warmth of the ship.
If you have any urgent questions that i miss on here, im on facebook both as me (im the profile picture dressed in a quark yellow jacket with a penguin in Antarctica) and also my photography page i to Image Photography.
Wow, please don't apologise for asking your questions JC, all answer/info very useful, thanks Matt. I live in the Southwest (Somerset) are there any other 'females' in the area joining this adventure. Getting so close now, extremely excited.
Hi again Matt (and Julia et al). I couldn't find you on the web or FB...can you send a link? I'd love to see your images. I've taken your advice and hired the 5D mkIII, and have already hired the 500mm, so that's sorted. A couple more q's:
How wet does it get? Do we need something to prevent splashes gettting onto the gear, or something more serious? What do you use?
What photo editing software to you use on your iPad? I have CS6 but didn't thnk that was available for IOS devices. Thanks again. btw I tried to change my profile pic away from the baby gorilla but whatever I do, the gorilla refuses to budge. Obstinate so and so! JC
I now see there is a scaled down version called Photoshop Touch. I assume that is what Matt has (?)
Anyone tried it?
Don't panic Julia, yes there are definitely other girls on the trip, I'm one of them!
Looking forward to leaving but haven't even thought about clothes etc yet (trying to enjoy the final arrival of summer here first!), am predicting a last minute visit to Cotswold for layers.. On the photo kit side of things, Im taking a 7D and 5dMk2 as bodies, a 17-40 wide angle, a 100-400mm and am contemplating hiring a 500mm, not sure yet. When I went to the Mara on Paul's trip last summer I took my laptop and a hard drive to back up to but not sure how feasible that will be on a boat! I'm planning on booking into the June photo evening so hope to meet some of you there.
Well Matt- amazing website and loved your pics.
Sarah I have same kit as you 100-400-- Canon lens and 5Dmk2...will be v envious of a 500mm lens but you can hire these from "lenses for hire .co.uk"
the London June presentation evening will be great to get info and perhaps a few of us meet up.
For info i asked ref cabin luggage..... and was advised 8kg within size bag will be allowed PLUS small laptop bag which i intend taking...with a 4 way powergang for the cabin to connect to onecabin confirmed 2pin ship powerpoint so both occupants can plug in!
I intend using 5dmk2 with 100-400lens and Canon550 with a Canon L series17-40 lens
I am taking laptop and external hardrivre so can save images but also after day one see if they are exposed ok!
Am taking tripod for the boat and monopod also...plus some clothes ...white soks!
Look forward to meeting you all soon
Hi all...great to meet some of you online, and have now booked into the pre-trip London event, so hope to meet more folks there.
Matt many thanks for all the gear tips. I've taken your lead and invested in the image viewer. I have an iPad so with those two I won't take the laptop. Looks like most of us are taking similar kit, two bodies and either the zoom up to 400mm or hiring a 500mm. I've done a few African safaris (none with PG...looking forward to that) but none in the snow, so what else will I need? Polarising filters, I guess? I'm taking a tripod for the shots on the boat, not planning to take a monopod.
Clothes...I assume it's thermals and layers? Someone (Matt?) mentioned getting sunburned so I assume sun block is definitely needed. What about gloves? I have gloves with fingers but the tips cut off for camera work, so I can use the controls. Will they be too cold out there? If so, should I start practising to use the camera with gloves on? (Just joking...I think.)
A really good company for expedition merino wool gear is Chocolate Fish in Leeds. their website is at http://www.chocolatefishmerino.co.uk/
Not on this trip, but I look forward to meeting everyone on the 3 July trip.
Hope you had a great birthday and pleased to hear all the new tech worked well!
I did a test pack of all kit today...its surprsing how fast a bag gets up to 20Kg and a camera bag to 8kg!
Im not as advanced yet to use a tablet so Im running with laptop, external hard drive and Lightroom 4 which I find brilliant (after some lessons).
Hope to see some of you on the evening of the 25th in London.
Ive never been able to transfer images from a UDMA2 to Ipad unless i shoot Jpeg which i dont. i just copy the files to a SD Card and then put the SD Card into the Ipad, pain in the ass but it works for RAW files...
My view on lenses is 400mm at a minumim, saying that my partner is only taking a 70-300 and i think that will be fine for her.. When i was there in 2009, 500mm was the minimum needed but i know since then Pauls trips have had better and closer sightings.. I think over 50% of people used tripods on deck the last time i was there.. Handheld for Birds in flight, tripod for Bears of the ship but its whatever people feel comfortable with..
I shoot RAW + JPEG as I like to look at the JPEG file to get an idea of what the RAW will look like after processing. I also use the JPEGs for quick edits, which is what I was doing in Paris at the weekend. However I just tried to transfer some RAW files wirelessly from the UMAD2 to my iPad and it worked. The Canon RAWs come out in CR2 format..I think you use Nikon(?) so I don't know what format they produce.
I downloaded the latest software when I bout the UMAD2...don't know if that fixes a bug?
I shoot Canon but still am unable to transfer files RAW files, I think yours maybe a newer then mine so may be an improved model.. The one i have you need to use an App to browse the images on Ipad and you cant transfer RAW files from that App.. As i say, yours may be a newer version which intergrates better :)
Maybe. With my version, I go to the UDMA wifi and it shows up as an external drive on the iPad. From there I just browse to it and finger-click through to the images I want.
There is a link on their site where you could ask them:
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