After visiting the Falkland Island, we are now back out at sea for the next couple of days. The forecast was for relatively calm seas so I decided not to take my sea sickness medication. I am feeling pretty good (i.e. not nauseous) and have found my “sea legs”, so it is great not to be medicated. There is a gentle swaying on the ship, but it is almost soothing.
A few people, however, are not happy to be back at sea. They kind of look green and some people are just staying in their rooms.
I decided to practise my bird photography a bit more and got a few more shots of Giant Petrels. You can see them above and below.
I am quite impressed with how well the Nikon D3‘s autofocus can track these birds. It also helps that the weather conditions are pretty calm. BTW, the Nikon D700 and Nikon D300s also have the same autofocus module, so they should easily be able to keep up with the birds in flight.
We encountered our first seals in the open ocean. I think they are fur seals, I am not 100% sure as they were really quick and quite far away from the ship (when studying portraiture, it was a major no-no to cut off people’ heads… these seals would not co-operate with me!.
En route to South Georgia, we arrived at the Shag Rocks. Wherever you have land in the middle of the ocean, it forces nutrients up into the upper strata of the sea and there you will find krill. And where there is krill, you will also find marine life, including whales. We could see some of their “blow” far away in the distance. I couldn’t see it as I did not have my binoculars handy.
You can also see another ship on the left that is close to us… it is common to have ships “mirror” each other for safety reasons. It was quite comforting to hear that as we were in a really remote part of the world.
One of the expedition staff was an experienced photographer and gave the passengers a brief photography lesson. You can see a few of them practising their new skills from the
gift shop resident penguin.
Keeping your camera and lens dry
One of the things on an Antarctic expedition you need to do is protect your camera from excessive moisture. Most professional cameras are weather sealed – and it is in the best interest of all cameras (and lenses) to keep the rain, salt water and snow off.
Enter the clear plastic bag.
Mom, where are the baggies?
A very common trick (that our lecturer also told us about) is to use a clear plastic bag large enough to hold your camera and lens as a moisture guard. A large Ziploc bag works, but any clear plastic bag will do.
You cut two small holes in the end of the bag opposite the opening. Something like this:
You will then need to detach one end of your strap from the camera (you will re-attach it later). Place your camera in the bag, thread your camera strap through the holes you made in the bag and re-attach the strap to the camera. It should look something like this when you are finished.
It isn’t fancy, but it works reasonably well and it is cheap to implement (i.e. the cost of a plastic bag and 5 minutes of your time). Since the bag is clear and flexible, you can still operate the controls, see the rear LCD and look through the viewfinder, although the view will be a bit distorted. If the conditions are dry and the bag is not needed for protection, you can slide it up and out of the way (perhaps, behind your neck).
A number of people used this trick on our trip and I suspect it saved a lot of cameras from malfunctioning.
Tomorrow, we arrive in South Georgia. I have heard from many photographers it is one of the most beautiful places on the planet, both in terms of scenic beauty and wildlife. I guess I will see first hand!
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