28 November 2012

Drake Passage

Ok, this is it. We're aboard the ship, heading towards Antarctica. The weather is calm, and so is the sea. That's nice, because the next two days we'll be crossing the infamous Drake Passage.

The Drake Passage. Boring when it's calm, scary when it's not.

The 800 kilometres (500 mi) wide passage between Cape Horn and Livingston Island is the shortest crossing from Antarctica to the rest of the world's land, and it's known as the roughest sea on the planet. We don't particularly like rough seas, so let's just hope we don't get into the same problems as the Antarctic vessel Clelia II had to deal with a few years ago:

Video courtesy of Pazzo Per Il Mare

If it stays as calm as it is today, then there won't be much to see other than a whole of water and sea birds. The lower deck at the back of the ship is actually quite nice to photograph the birds that are following the ship.

No, that's not me.

27 November 2012

Buenos Aires

Instead of flying straight to Ushuaia, we decided to spend some time in Buenos Aires first - getting used to the (minor) time difference and do some sight seeing. And steak eating.

Today we visited a church and a cemetary in the city, both very photogenic. I didn't want to bring any serious cameras, so I used my iPhone for all photography. And some iPhone filters.

25 November 2012

Antarctica, here we come!

We're off to Antarctica. Last year was fun, but this time Daniella will join me, so she can carry my gear. Just kidding, she's got loads of stuff herself - mostly video gear. We'll be starting from Ushuaia and sail straight down to the Antarctic peninsula for hopefully some great landings.

There will be little or no internet facilities, so if you send us an email it may take us a little longer than usual to respond.

24 November 2012

Seminar Workflow in Belgium

Today we spent the whole day in Antwerp, Belgium, where I gave another Squiver seminar: Nature Photography - From the basic idea to the final print. A big thank you to all participants!

23 November 2012

Presentation at VNFE

Yesterday I gave a presentation at VNFE, a well known nature photography camera club in The Netherlands. Lots of people showed up, and it was nice to finally meet some of the people behind the names that I knew only from photography fora and Facebook. Thank you all for showing up, it was fun!

16 November 2012

AF-S 24-70/2.8 to the Emergency Room

Something weird happened to my 24-70. On the Wildlife Bootcamp in Spain last month I first noticed that the zoom ring was not moving as smoothly anymore. I thought it was probably the weather and didn't pay much attention to it. But every time I used the lens, it was getting more and more stiff.

Then suddenly one day there was a new symptom: the zoom ring got stuck somewhere around 50mm. I could still zoom out to 24, but when zooming in, the ring stopped at 50mm. As a result I didn't use it as much on this trip, but every time I did, the zoom ring got stuck at a different focal length. Yes, very weird. And when I say stuck, I mean really stuck as if something mechanical on the inside of the lens stopped it.

When I got back home, I brought it to Nikon Service Center for repairs. Today it was ready to be picked up again. Obviously, my first question was what was wrong with the lens and what caused it. Their answer: the lens had been dropped or something had hit the lens. Right. I knew that I hadn't dropped the lens, nor that anything had hit it. But they insisted that they could see damage that could only have been caused by some sort of heavy impact. I still don't believe this is what has caused the defect, but what do you do?

They replaced: Guide Roller T=4.99, Rubber Ring, 1st Lens Lead Ring, Lens Hood Fixed Ring Unit. Total costs: 335 Euros! That's roughly the price of a brand new Nikon D3100 body and an extra battery...

Update 28/12: On my trip to Antarctica I met a German photographer who had exactly the same problems with the same lens. He also said that he had not dropped or bumped his lens. What's going on?

07 November 2012

Double Light

A couple of weeks ago I posted an image here of Turret Arch shot through North Window, and I included Daniella to add some scale to the shot and to make it slightly different from the kazillion other images that have been shot at this location.

But I knew that it would take a lot more to create something truly different, so I gave it some serious thought and made a plan. I decided to shoot at night, hope for snow, and use a combination of moonlight and flashlight as I had never seen that before. I thought: night shot + moonlight + stars + snow + flashlight = not very likely to have been shot before :-)

There was only a very small window (sorry) of time to do this, because I wanted a low moon and it needed to rise at a certain angle or else there would be large shadows of the rocks behind me creeping into the shot. The inside of the arch was lit by Daniella during part of the exposure with a Surefire Invictus, the flashlight of the gods.