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Author Topic: Thinking about Antarctica now  (Read 1905 times)
Slim
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« on: August 19, 2013, 11:19:34 AM »
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I originally planned to go to Patagonia, but I thought to myself, if I'm willing to go that far, why not go a little bit further?

Questions - It's going to cost a fortune.  One of my friends said in 2010 he was able to negotiate with Quark Expeditions to cut the price in half, but waited to book until 3 weeks before.  Obviously there are pros and cons with this strategy.
Any people here have comments or advice on this matter?
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acktdi
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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2013, 10:20:48 AM »
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Take a look at G Adventures.  Their ship MS Expedition is great, I went with them on a tour to Svalbard and had friends go to Antarctica with them.  The prices are reasonable (for Antarctica).
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michael
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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2013, 11:20:22 AM »
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Not to appear to self-serving, but consider going on a trip devoted to photography, where everyone else on the ship is a photographer, and the organizers, and teachers ensure that photography comes first.

A photography expedition will wake you up at 4am if there's a pod of whales circling the ship in the great early morning light. A regular cruise won't. A photography expedition will plan landings for best light, a regular cruise is more concerned with meal times.

Costs more, but you get more, especially since this is an expensive a once in a lifetime trip.

Michael
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Slim
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« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2013, 12:45:41 AM »
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Michael brings up a good point.  I'm not choosing any luxury liners, so hopefully its more about Antarctica than comfort.  @acktdi Does MS expedition have photography as an option as Michael suggests?
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acktdi
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« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2013, 12:50:20 PM »
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I went with Quark to Antarctica and G Adventures for Svalbard.  Neither were photo-centric, but I met other photographers there (with big white lenses) and the expedition staff accommodated us by giving us a Zodiac driver who knew how photographers think and gave us a little extra time cruising around, staying on land etc.  The camaraderie with the other photographers was great and I'm still friends with some of them today. 

I've done dedicated photo tours to the Galapagos and Amazon, I did get more keeper shots that way, but I have no regrets going to the Arctic or Antarctica on a standard tour.

I have some photos from both locations here
http://alvinchanphoto.com/galleries/antarctica/
http://alvinchanphoto.com/galleries/norway/
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Slim
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« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2013, 12:17:29 AM »
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Hi Alvin,

Thanks for sharing.  Do you think any of the staff on the Expedition or another ship would be accomodating to take people on land at 4AM in the morning to take sunrise photos or vice versa sunset photos?
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acktdi
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« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2013, 11:26:25 AM »
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I think you may need a dedicated photo tour to do that.  On my trips, they only let us stay out a little longer or get on Zodiacs first, but they didn't change the schedule drastically for best light.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2013, 11:30:43 AM »
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Slim,

Pardon me for asking such a stupid question, but are you aware that owners of this site are organizing a trip to Antarctica as we speak?
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Slobodan

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« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2013, 08:54:53 PM »
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There have been other posts on this topic that you should look for but regarding the costs - do you want a cheap tour or a good tour ? Both are on offer in the area and the former outnumber the latter for photographers. How do you measure costs? Shorter trips are cheaper but on a daily basis longer trips are more cost effective and give you more time on land and in the key areas. Do you mean just Antarctica, or Antarctica, South Georgia and/or the Falklands ? All offer different photographic options, but the Antarctic peninsula might suffice if your main interest is landscape photography. Personally I'd book the longest trip that I can afford because if you don't you'll have a strong need to return quickly which is even more expensive.
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Slim
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« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2013, 09:42:06 PM »
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Slim,

Pardon me for asking such a stupid question, but are you aware that owners of this site are organizing a trip to Antarctica as we speak?

I see on the banner on the site they are organizing one for 2015.  Is this the one you are referring to?
I'm hoping to go this year earlier in the season when the ice isn't as melted.  Also I'm hoping to stay out longer than just 9 days, which seems too short.
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Slim
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« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2013, 09:45:34 PM »
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There have been other posts on this topic that you should look for but regarding the costs - do you want a cheap tour or a good tour ? Both are on offer in the area and the former outnumber the latter for photographers. How do you measure costs? Shorter trips are cheaper but on a daily basis longer trips are more cost effective and give you more time on land and in the key areas. Do you mean just Antarctica, or Antarctica, South Georgia and/or the Falklands ? All offer different photographic options, but the Antarctic peninsula might suffice if your main interest is landscape photography. Personally I'd book the longest trip that I can afford because if you don't you'll have a strong need to return quickly which is even more expensive.

I agree with your assessment.  I don't think I'll be going to Falkands or South Georgia on this one.  Even though I would love to see the King Penguins, these trips are longer and actually spend only about 3 days in Antarctica.  So either way not enough time to do everything in one trip.

 Empereror Penguins may have to be a second trip 10-15 years from now.
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David Campbell
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« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2013, 10:14:59 PM »
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Slim,

I have traveled to Antarctica and the Arctic with Australian based Aurora Expeditions.
http://www.auroraexpeditions.com.au/expeditions/category/antarctica-cruises

I found their expedition staff very considerate to photographers even though it was not a pure photographic tour.
They were very happy to take directions when in zodiacs and always tried to land us as much as possible when the conditions were right.
They also gave us announcements over the PA for whales, but a lot of people slept though it due to the long days.
I would travel with them again.

Josh Holko, a Melbourne based photographer who frequents LuLa has teamed up with Aurora Expeditions and Daniel Bergmann for a few photographic only voyages.
You can find detail on his website http://www.jholko.com/

Regarding cheaper last minute voyages to Antarctica, yes if you have plenty of time to hang out in Ushuia, you can get last minute deals. Often these are on very large ships that do not allow landings for all passengers each day. You really want a ship with 100 or less passengers due to the antarctic treaty that limits the number of tourists in one area to 100 (I maybe incorrect, it may be slightly higher). So the cruise ships that have 200-500 people are not really worth the cheaper price. Better to save more and go on a trip that will both maximise your time and photographic opportunities.

The only reason I did not go on a 100% photographic trip like LuLa's expeditions is by the time I could negotiate time off work I missed out and waiting lists were too long.

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