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Photographer Wadey James' Antarctica photography blog

As Wadey James, an advertising photographer, heads to Antarctica on a polar photography tour he talks to ePHOTOzine about the trip and the preparations he's making.

| Landscape and Travel
Words and images by Wadey James -

On the 4th March this year I will climbing on board the converted Dutch research vessel, along with 100 other photographers. We will depart Ushuaia in Southern Argentina, the most southern city in the world, and heading out across the treacherous waters of Drakes Passage, we will be on our way to photograph Antarctica.

As a seasoned professional photographer I have be fortunate enough to photograph most of the world, working in the most extreme corners of the planet. I have photographed everything from reindeer herders in the high Arctic to blazing deserts of Qatar. On this particular expedition I have been commissioned to lead a photographic workshops during our 2 week voyage through the South Shetland islands, and onto the Antarctic Peninsula.

Depending on internet connections I am hoping to update the readers of ePHOTOzine with a daily blog of our journey, documenting the working conditions thrown up by Antarctica that us photographers will have to deal with.

Today as I sit here in my office looking at all my kit laid out across the floor, I am making mental and physical lists on what I will need, what I won't need, what will have to go in hand-luggage, what can go in the hold so if my luggage and its contents were lost on the 4 different flights to Southern Argentina I could still work.

Photographer Wadey James' Antarctica photography blog: Kit

I was recently commissioned to shoot an advertising image on the Greek island of Crete, it was a large and expensive production that had been several weeks in the planning however, it was very nearly brought to a complete holt due to a damaged £5 flash card reader.

We were high in the mountains shooting, we had the usual gang of people that accompany us on these shoots: make-up artists, wardrobe mistresses, art directors, assistants, fixers, drivers etc. and after shooting all morning we had used all our flash cards, so my assistant proceeded to transfer and back up the cards while the rest of the crew ate lunch and it was at this point that Jon, my assistant, announced: "I may have very slightly bent the pins in the card reader."

He hadn't 'very slightly bent the pins' he had completely mashed them to the inside walls of the plastic card reader by forcing the card in the wrong way! The result was that we couldn't transfer the morning's work and as such had no way of freeing the memory cards to allow us to work in the afternoon. After some quiet brain storming, making sure that client was none the wiser to our predicament, we devised a solution where by I would shoot tethered to a laptop, which was no easy task given that the shoot involved shooting from the back of a motorcycle. The lesson I learnt from this was that it will vary rarely be camera or lens failure that will stop you taking photos (most people carry spare bodies and different lenses any way) it will be the card reader, missing tripod plate or a battery charger that fails.

Now I never leave home with out at least 2 card readers, and at least 20 flash cards.

List of kit for the Antarctica commission:
  • 2 x Canon 5d MkII
  • Canon 5d MkI
  • Canon 300mm
  • 1x4 extender
  • Canon 70-200mm
  • Canon 24-70mm
  • Canon 12-24mm
  • Speedlight
  • Spare batteries and chargers
  • Polarising filter
  • ND Grads
  • Manfrotto tripod and head
  • 3 x 500gig external hard drives
  • 50gig of memory cards + 2 x card readers!
  • Camera mounted GPS
  • Underwater housing
  • Waterproof camera cover
  • Dry bag
  • Lowe pro rucksack
  • Macbook Pro
  • Binoculars
  • Neoprene gloves with fold down thumb and fore fingers. (Essential for cold weather work)
  • Maps & Guidebook
  • Ski goggles
Keep checking ePHOTOzine for the next update of Wadey James' Antarctica blog.

For more information on Wadey Jame and the Polar Photo Tours please visit:

www.wadeyjames.comPhotographer Wadey James' Antarctica photography blog:

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