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Author Topic: antarctica  (Read 8207 times)
Hackman
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« on: August 22, 2006, 02:42:12 PM »
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Hi everybody

I'm new to this forum, so "how're you all doing?"

question : in landscape photography do you use a incident lightmeter or not.
And if so how?
For instance you're in the shadow watching sunrise and the mountaintop in the distance is already catching some sunlight.
The ambient light is obviousy not he light in the distance.
Use the incident meter?
Or do you not bother and just use your camera meter, maybe overriding the measure if needed for snow or dark shadows?


In november Im off to antarctica and will be making lots of photo's'ofcourse. I have bought an incident lightmeter earlier this year but still need to lean what works best.

Thanks in advance!

Mark
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Rokcet Scientist
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« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2006, 02:19:40 PM »
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Hi everybody

I'm new to this forum, so "how're you all doing?"
Yo, Hackman! Welcome here.
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question : in landscape photography do you use a incident lightmeter or not.
And if so how?
For instance you're in the shadow watching sunrise and the mountaintop in the distance is already catching some sunlight.
The ambient light is obviousy not he light in the distance.
Use the incident meter?
Or do you not bother and just use your camera meter, maybe overriding the measure if needed for snow or dark shadows?
I wouldn't use an incident meter. Wouldn't know how to either, as that mountain is miles away. I'd use the camera's meter. In spot mode. Pre-adjust for snow. And bracket.
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In november Im off to antarctica and will be making lots of photo's'ofcourse. I have bought an incident lightmeter earlier this year but still need to lean what works best.[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I was in Antarctica 5 years ago. It's stunningly gorgeous. It was my last 'chemical photo' expedition. Made 1,100 exposures in 3 weeks. That would now be 11,000...
So be sure to have sufficient [a href=\"http://www.steves-digicams.com/digi_accessories.html#storage]portable storage[/url] (<Ė click!) available to unload your memory cards!


South Georgia Ė A close-up of a couple of Southern Elephant Seal Chix on a rocky beach where hundreds lounge, amidst 30,000, or so, penguins! None of those animals is afraid of humans! They come waddling up to you to investigate what you are! Paradise! Amazing!
The impression on all of your senses simultaneously will stay with you for the rest of your life. The sights...., the cacophony of sounds, the unbearable stench... It's more of an assault, really.
I envy you.

BTW, you got a polarizer filter?
Antarctica is one place where you'll have plenty of applications for it.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2006, 02:26:01 PM by Rokcet Scientist » Logged
Hackman
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« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2006, 11:10:47 AM »
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Thanks for the advice!
Yeah I take enough storage with me. The article on luminous landscape on antarctica mentioned they all shot about 100 GB..
And I do have a polarizer filter.

From what I've heared and read about the place it's so beautiful I expect to see God there with his Holy Hasselblad taking pictures..

Hope I survive Drake Passage..

Thanks again!
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Rokcet Scientist
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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2006, 06:32:37 PM »
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[...] From what I've heared and read about the place it's so beautiful I expect to see God there with his Holy Hasselblad taking pictures..
If you'll be (wet) landing and take the time to hike around the first hill, out of sight of your ship and your fellow landers, you'll find that not even God is there! Try to catch that immense solitude!
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Hope I survive Drake Passage..
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=74351\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
That's highly overrated. On the way south I had light seas. 4/5 feet waves. Perfectly bearable. Going back north the captain even referred to it as 'Drake Lake'. It was like a mirror. Apparently a not uncommon condition.
But it is the sea! And it is at Cape Horn. Anything is possible!
« Last Edit: August 25, 2006, 06:46:54 PM by Rokcet Scientist » Logged
michael
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« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2006, 06:44:51 PM »
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It's overrated until you are on a crossing where the ship rolls +/- 30 degrees.

Then you start by wishing you would die, then worrying that you won't.  

In any event, it's worth it.

Michael
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« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2006, 06:48:42 PM »
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It's overrated until you are on a crossing where the ship rolls +/- 30 degrees.

Then you start by wishing you would die, then worrying that you won't.†  

In any event, it's worth it.

Michael
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=74499\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Indeed, a ship with or without stabilizers can mean the difference between a wild roller coaster ride and absolute hell!
« Last Edit: August 25, 2006, 06:49:23 PM by Rokcet Scientist » Logged
Hackman
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« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2006, 05:05:49 AM »
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That helped guys thanks..
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« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2006, 08:45:12 AM »
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That helped guys thanks..
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
For your peace of mind, Hackman, you might want to find out if your ship has stabilisation. If it doesn't maybe you can book another ship that does have it.

TIP: you can also get excellent anti-seasickness medication. Ask your GP. The effective ingredient you need is [a href=\"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scopolamine]scopolamine[/url] (<Ė click!). Available in pills, or in patches (like a little band-aid) that you stick on your skin for a couple days. Works well!
BUT scopolamine is an addictive drug! If you use it for longer than a week, consecutively, you may have withdrawal signs. So it's not advisable for long stretches.
FYI: crossing Drake Passage takes less than 2 days (on a slow ship).
« Last Edit: August 26, 2006, 08:45:44 AM by Rokcet Scientist » Logged
Hackman
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« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2006, 09:58:53 AM »
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http://www.aktaylor.com/antarctica/ant_boat

thats the ship (not the travel agent I go with though).
 
probably has stabilizers', it's pretty modern and looks like it's designed for comfort
we'll see, no worries

BTW did you bring a tripod? Is it possible to bring that to shore in the zodiacs or are there restrictions to what you take with you in the boats?
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jeffreyluce
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« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2006, 04:22:10 PM »
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The link is really http://www.aktaylor.com/antarctica/ant_boat.htm
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Jeffrey Luce
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« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2006, 07:21:48 PM »
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Or do you not bother and just use your camera meter, maybe overriding the measure if needed for snow or dark shadows?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=74128\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Your best bet in extreme conditions (or any conditions imo) is to use manual spotmeter. This way you can survey the scene and try and keep all critical detail within +- 3 stops. eg snow/ice should be between +2 and +3, then check the shadows.

- DL
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Jae_Moon
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« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2006, 03:20:39 PM »
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BTW did you bring a tripod? Is it possible to bring that to shore in the zodiacs or are there restrictions to what you take with you in the boats?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=74548\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

There is no restriction on camera gears, and you definitely need a tripod with you. Just make sure all gears are packed such that you would have both hands free all the time. Also, don't load up yourself with too much gear when you go to ashore since you want to have full mobility and able  to hike up hills.

Mine in last December with A&K was such a special trip.

Jae Moon
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StephenS
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« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2006, 05:01:56 PM »
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Antarctica was an amazing experience both personally and photographically - Here's some stuff that pops to mind:

- it's not difficult to blow highlights when compensating +2 or +3 stops, especially in bright mid day light. Spot meter or bracket.
- The Drake Passage can be challenging even if you don't become seasick. I had trouble just trying to tie my shoes without falling over, and I was seated! Before hitting the Drake, organize your photo stuff to be within easy reach yet securely stored. In the middle of the first night in the Drake I had to pickup my room mate's 1DsII from the floor as it rolled from one end of the cabin to the other!
- a small Gitzo w/Acratech was easy to handle when transporting to and from shore on the Zodiacs
- the DryZone proved really bulky and heavy for most shore landings. I used the deep fron pockets of my parka (provided) to stash a 70-200/2.8IS or 300/4. This does depend to some degree on the conditions at the time (rain/snow...use  the bag!)
- Others on board brought along small LowePro bags, or sling bags which I regret not doing!
- you'll shoot dozens of frames of the first iceberg you see. By the end of the trip you'll wonder what you were thinking then

Some shots from last year's Antarctic Expedition w/ Michael:
http://slsman.smugmug.com/gallery/1587277

Stephen
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Jae_Moon
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« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2006, 06:54:01 PM »
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I had a light weight nylon backpack from Northface in which I put my 70-200, filters, spare batteries, memory cards and  Gitzo tripod (upside down with legs sticking out) and had 1Ds (with 24-70) slung over my neck and was secured around my chest. The backpack (folded tightly) didn't take any space in my main travel duffel bag.

Make sure to have a pair of thin gloves (silk is the best but leather will do). The thing to remember is that IT IS NOT THAT COLD when you visit the Antarctica in its summer season. It was mostly in mid 40 F when the sun was out and the coldest day we had was in low 30 F, windy and snowing. They don't take you to ashore if the weather condition are  not good since it changes from bad to worse in a blink (that's what they told us, at least).

I took some of my best pictures while we were touring an enchanting bay in one sunny afternoon in a Zodiac.

A spotmeter is a MUST. Plan to take some panorama with the tripod. Many views are so grand in scale, often times, 120 degree or wider breath taking sights that I believe only super pano shots would do.

Trust me, it will be the trip that you will cherish.

Jae Moon
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Hackman
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« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2006, 06:38:04 AM »
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Thanks a lot for all the comments and advice everyone!

I know from experienece it can make life a lot easier on these kind of trips if you know what (not) to take with you.
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jedbest
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« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2006, 11:17:21 AM »
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You might think of using a belt/harness system so your hands are free and the weight is balanced off your hips not your back. Think Tank Photo makes a great one and I used it  very effectively on Michael's trip to the antarctic last year.

Bring backup hard drives as you don't want to lose any images - Firelite makes portable and small 100GB drives.

I'm envious- it was the most amazing experience I have ever had and I think alters how  you look at the universe from then on.

Have a great trip.

Jed Best
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loonsailor
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« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2006, 11:47:54 PM »
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I went to Antarctica last December.  I went on a small trip with Quark Expeditions.  We were on the Professor Molchanov which was originally, according to rumor, a Soviet spy boat.  It was a wonderful trip, with just 33 passengers, making it possible to do a lot.  10 of us kayaked about 2-3 hours per day, and about half the group camped on Antarctica one night.  It wasnít stabilized, and we had a fairly rough passage of the Drake.  I was sick one day in each direction.  No biggie.  I took some drugs and slept.  Actually, I was kind of glad we got some rough weather.  I wanted to experience the Drake in some of its glory.

You can see some of my photographs http://jfiddler.smugmug.com/Antarctica.  You can also see an amazing encounter that we had with some Minke whales at http://youtube.com/watch?v=1slYOxaS7V4, which may help put some of my comments in perspective.  Watch the whole thing Ė it was very cool.

The equipment I took was:

A Nikon D70 Ė Worked well.  Iíve since gotten a D200, which would definitely be better for three reasons.  It focuses faster, it has a bigger RAM buffer, and itís more weatherproof.  The focus and the limited RAM in the D70 caused me to lose shots, particularly of the whales Ė not so much the Minkes that are in the video, but another day when we were around a bunch of  humpbacks that were moving much faster.  When I used the continuous mode to shoot one of them sounding, I always seemed to miss the best shot when the camera paused for a second while offloading to flash.  Focusing, particularly on the birds, was tough with the D70.  More megapixels in the D200 would also have been nice, but less important for me.

18-200 Sigma lens Ė I didnít plan to use this much Ė I took it mainly to leave it in the ship as a spare (see below) - but I wound up using it quite a lot.  Itís really hard to change lenses in the snow, in a Zodiac, or with gloves on.  Itís impossible to change lenses in a kayak.  So, this lens was really great to have.  The Sigma was pretty good, but Iíve since replaced it with the Nikon, and itís better.  The Sigma would be fine, though.

Nikon 18-70 lens Ė I planned on using this as my "primary" lens, but wound up leaving it in the ship as my spare.

Nikon 70-300 Ė Mostly useful for birds, especially in the Drake Passage but also in Antarctica.

Sigma 10-20 Ė Iím REALLY happy I took this lens.  Check out the photos in my Paradise Bay / Petzval Glacier gallery for some examples.  The scale of Antarctica is amazing, and sometimes youíre too close to capture it with anything but a very wide lens.  Iíd highly recommend taking one.

A spare Nikon D70 Ė I borrowed a spare body and left it and at least one lens on the ship all the time.  If I had a camera disaster, I didnít want to be camera-less in Antarctica.  Luckily, I never needed it.

Pentax WPi Ė This is a small waterproof point & shoot.  I kept it in my pocket almost all the time.  When I kayaked, I clipped this to my float vest so it was always accessible, and kept the Nikon in a dry bag to pull out only when things were stable.  It did quite well and took some really interesting photos.  Look at my Petermann Island gallery.  The main problem with it was that it has no viewfinder, and it was nearly impossible to see the LCD in bright sunlight, so I was often pointing and praying.  Still, I think the waterproofness outweighs the disadvantage of no viewfinder.

Nikon flash Ė useful on the boat.

I considered taking an incident meter but didnít, simply to have one less gadget, and I didnít miss it.  I did take an ExpoDisc and used it sometimes for white balance and for quasi-incident measurement, but I wouldnít recommend it unless you already have one.

I took a small tripod and monopod, and never used either one.

I used my lens cleaning pen A LOT.  Sometimes, when it was snowing, Iíd clean the lens with it for nearly every shot.  Even so, I lost some shots to water drops on the lens.  Highly recommended!

I carried all my stuff in a LowePro Dryzone Rover, which has a waterproof compartment.  You get in and out of Zodiacís a lot, and it gave me great peace of mind to know that my gear was safe, even if dropped in the water (it never was).  A sling bag might have been more convenient, though.  Itís a judgment call.

I took a laptop to offload to, and also a small portable USB hard drive, and a bunch of blank CDs.  Some of us on the boat loaded all our stuff onto each otherís drives for redundancy, in case something didnít make it home, as well as just for sharing purposes.  The blank CDís are useful for the same purposes.  Iíd recommend this.

There are two things I didnít take that I wish I had.  The first would be a rain shield, something like http://www.kata-bags.com/Item.asp?pid=269&...Id=4&ProdLine=4.  It might have made it easier to work in the snow.  The other is a sensor brush like http://visibledust.com/.  It would have saved me a bunch of dusting in photoshop.

I read a bunch of books of all kinds.  For me, the best was The Crystal Desert, by David G. Campbell.  If you only read one book, this would be my choice, but of course some of the exploration books are really fun as well.  Also, you might want to look at Eliot Porterís Antarctica book, for some great photographs.  There are some good photos on-line at http://www.pbase.com/chris67/antarctica_the_crystal_desert and http://www.pbase.com/jeanmcc/antarctica.  Thereís a newsletter at http://antarcticsun.usap.gov, and links to a bunch of things, including real-time weather, at http://uwamrc.ssec.wisc.edu/realtime.html.

Sorry for the length, but I hope that you find all this info useful.  I'm sure you'll have a great trip.  I'd love to go again!
« Last Edit: September 17, 2006, 08:30:32 AM by loonsailor » Logged
Hackman
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« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2006, 02:10:55 PM »
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Loonsailor

A rather late but nonetheless sincere "thank you" for you extensive reply!
And some great photo's you made there!

I certainly do take a 10-22mm lens with me along with a 17-85mm and a
70-300mm.
My camera is a canon 30D.

Just one month of work left and then off to the south!

Must be careful not to only see antarctica through a viewfinder I think..

Cheers

Mark
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StephenS
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« Reply #18 on: October 22, 2006, 07:45:50 PM »
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Mark,

You're absolutely right. Take the time to immerse yourself in the environment...without looking through the viewfinder. Find a quiet spot during a landing and just sit down and *be*. Use all of your senses. Ponder where you are, how you got there and where you will be in a week's time. You may find that your photography will benefit from this excercise too.

Stephen
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