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Thread: What lens should I bring to Antarctica and Patagonia?

  1. #11
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: What lens should I bring to Antarctica and Patagonia?

    Eliot just took his gear "as is" - no winterization. I've had numerous arctic explorers and extreme Himalayan climbers in my home, even living here. The simpler the equipment, the better (back then, that meant totally manual Nikon F-series cameras, classic old Pentax 35mm or 6x7 (battery, but no fancy electronics). I doubt that any tourist venue to the edge of Antarctica or to Paine NP is going to encounter conditions that extreme. Friends haven't had problems with typical cameras. But with a view camera you've always got the risk of lenses or a GG fogging up due to a sudden temp change. Gear can get blown over by wind gusts and instantly ruined. Seen it all. The less stuff, the better. But I would take a view camera if it were me. That's a rare opportunity.

  2. #12
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: What lens should I bring to Antarctica and Patagonia?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Eliot just took his gear "as is" - no winterization. I've had numerous arctic explorers and extreme Himalayan climbers in my home, even living here. The simpler the equipment, the better (back then, that meant totally manual Nikon F-series cameras, classic old Pentax 35mm or 6x7 (battery, but no fancy electronics). I doubt that any tourist venue to the edge of Antarctica or to Paine NP is going to encounter conditions that extreme. Friends haven't had problems with typical cameras. But with a view camera you've always got the risk of lenses or a GG fogging up due to a sudden temp change. Gear can get blown over by wind gusts and instantly ruined. Seen it all. The less stuff, the better. But I would take a view camera if it were me. That's a rare opportunity.
    I believe your tourists went outside for a few moments, took unremarkable pictures and went back inside. IOW, I call bullshit.

    The less stuff, the better. But I would take a view camera if it were me. That's a rare opportunity.
    I am sure you will tell us if/when you actually do it. Until then it is your fantasy.

  3. #13
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: What lens should I bring to Antarctica and Patagonia?

    No, they're outdoorsy types, including a team cop you wouldn't want to say that to in person. But they are the types I wouldn't bother to discuss gear with. There are others, however, whose entire expeditions, sometimes months at a time, were funded by those expecting recognizable shots of extreme terrain with their company logo somehow "accidentally" visible on the foreground, on a jacket sleeve or tent etc. Not exactly "art", but the kind of thing that makes it to the cover of a climbing magazine.

  4. #14
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: What lens should I bring to Antarctica and Patagonia?

    Interested in coming along on a little hike in a couple of weeks, Jac? - right here in "sunny" Cal.

  5. #15

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    Re: What lens should I bring to Antarctica and Patagonia?

    Well, one crude test would be to place selected lenses in the freezer for a couple of days, and see which ones operate well, and don't develop issues...

    Different oil based lubes used inside of gear are the biggest problem, but used dry or modern silicone lubes should do OK... Talk to a good camera tech well before you go...

    Someone I knew took a electronic shutter Nikon 35MM to the region, where it didn't work most of the time due to the battery issues, so overrides and back-ups should be looked into in advance...

    Note that plastics, and vinyls that cover bellows, etc can get stiff enough to break like a cracker, so consider/research other materials that can stand prolonged cold...

    Prepare anything you bring for a "plan B", should any system fail, you can shoot through it...

    Steve K

  6. #16
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: What lens should I bring to Antarctica and Patagonia?

    Quote Originally Posted by LabRat View Post
    Well, one crude test would be to place selected lenses in the freezer for a couple of days, and see which ones operate well, and don't develop issues...
    My freezer does not produce temperatures lower than just outside in depth of our Winter. In the Winter I move my stored film from the freezer to the shed. My mate is so happy to recover the freezer space.

  7. #17
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: What lens should I bring to Antarctica and Patagonia?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Interested in coming along on a little hike in a couple of weeks, Jac? - right here in "sunny" Cal.
    No thanks, Drew. You have no way to know that I am mobility impaired. We are okay.

  8. #18

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    Re: What lens should I bring to Antarctica and Patagonia?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Oh, and I notice you've got some very nice lenses that are going to be difficult or impossible to replace. Do you really want to risk them under unknown conditions? For that reason alone, I'd personally leave behind the 360A. I will admit I've used that very lens hundreds of times in the mountains, but it's the kind of photography I'm very familiar with - and things do go wrong, including blowing sand. I also shoot a 450C quite a bit, and know that just a tiny bit of wind vibration can spoil of 4x5 shot at that kind of bellows length. You won't be traveling with a camera, but a kite! I'm packing right now for another mountain trip.
    360A and 450C is probably staying at home.

    I am not sure if I want to take 58xl, however I usually take 110/210 or 80/150/300 combination but often times I find myself always take the wrong set. I mean if I bring 80/150/300 with me, I found the I need the focal length in between, like 110 and 210.

  9. #19

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    Re: What lens should I bring to Antarctica and Patagonia?

    Lots of good advice here on logistics. Having never been to Antarctica I can only offer these concerns:
    1. I'd want a lens I can keep mounted when the 4x5 is folded for transport. A lot of moisture can enter a camera through a lens board less front standard. At least the camera back can be sheltered with your focusing cloth.
    2. K-Y lubricant (that's right, K-Y) was the recommended lubricant for shooting in the Arctic. This was maybe 30 years ago. The reason given is that it's water soluble so easy to remove on the return to more temperate climes.

    I don't know if any of this helps, but good luck! I wish I were going.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  10. #20

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    Re: What lens should I bring to Antarctica and Patagonia?

    If I read the OP's #1 post correctly you're be in Antarctica in the local high summer. Googling the question, the temperature at the South pole is -12.3 degrees C and at the Antarctica Peninsular typically 0 degrees C. I'm assuming these temperatures take account of 'normal' wind chill in those places.
    So no real temperature problem [I lived in Toronto for years] and the Winter temperatures was typically 0 degrees C to -30 degrees C - without wind chill. I used a Leica M3 without problem even though it turned into a block of ice when moving from outside to indoors!!
    Gusty wind is going to be a problem [in both Chile and Antarctica - don't know about Easter Island] - also what clothing are you going to be wearing and how will this effect camera operation????
    Have fun - I envy you
    regards
    Tony

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