Most people want a photographic record of their travels to help keep the memories of what they’ve seen alive. The worst thing is to come home finding your pictures aren’t quite the masterpieces you’d envisaged. With unpredictable wildlife and vast expanses of icy whiteness, taking photographs in the Polar regions can be very tricky.
This is a vast subject but here are a few tips:
Do you know your camera?
Make sure you know how to use your camera well before your holiday. If you are buying it especially for the trip, take it out beforehand and practice until you know how to use it without looking at the manual. You will then enjoy and capture those split-second wildlife moments.
Keep a respectful distance
It will be tempting to get close to penguins and seals for that framefilling shot but this can be stressful for the animals (and also breaks IAATO guidelines) so don’t do it! Bring a camera which has a decent zoom or telephoto on it so that you can keep your distance.
Your subject is more likely to behave in a calm, natural way giving you a photo to be proud of.
How’s your camera memory?
Good quality images need space and you will end up taking many more pictures than you thought you would. Make sure you take plenty of memory cards. Most people also take portable hard-drives or laptops to give them extra storage capacity.
Invest in a tripod or monopod
Tripods can be cumbersome to lug around, but on polar expeditions you won’t be walking around for too long and will often be taking pictures from the comfort of the ship. They are a great way of preventing blurry shots from camera shake, especially when taking pictures in strong winds or in close up. Tripods are also very useful for keeping images sharp when your camera is on maximum zoom; Polar bears don’t always walk up to the ship!
The best way of improving your photographs is to get some training. Book yourself on to a photography course (even 1 or 2 day courses can help) or join one of our photographic charters to get expert tuition while ‘in the field’.
Need some inspiration?
Take a look at our all-time top ten favourite Antarctica pictures.