— Dane Creek

Day 14: Deception Island

(This is part of a series of re-posts from my trip to Antarctica in 2009)

Last night Steve Johnson gave a talk on dealing with the blue in our Antarctic images. He got pretty testy with, uh, just about everyone in the audience. Any time anyone asked a question or tried to engage in discussion with him he just got downright snippy. That was everyone from paying customers on the trip to other instructors. Anyone who questioned him was wrong. It was odd. I left halfway through and went to bed.

I haven’t written much about B&W shooting lately, and I have to admit in the last 3 days I haven’t touched the film body. We talked a little bit about it around the table at breakfast this morning, with a few photographers that used to shoot slide film for a living. Bottom line is it’s so hard to frame an accurate good shot first try down here. Things move so fast when you’re on a zodiac there’s no way you can meter, write down the exposure info, frame the shot, and take it.

Today we’re at Deception Island which is supposed to be really cool. Unfortunately the weather outside is frightful. Winds are regularly at 45-50 knots, and I saw gusts to 70 when on the bridge. Visibility is, to put it mildly, poor. On our first landing only 9 people went on shore, a new record low for the expedition staff. We’re moving to our second landing position (Whaler’s Bay) to drop anchor and wait for conditions to improve. The limit for taking zodiacs out is 35 knots.

This also does not bode well for the return trip across the Drake Passage tomorrow. I asked George about it this morning and he said: “You are real seamen now!” I put a scopolamine patch on at noon and ripped it off at 3pm. Dry mouth plus sore stomach plus headache. Blah. So I’m doing the Drake naked. We’ll see how it goes.

None of our remaining landings of the trip actually happened so we had a series of lectures. I skipped Steve’s talk on colour management and played cribbage with Bronwyn instead. I won both games. Woot! The added cool touch? The board was a really beat up old Air Canada cribbage board courtesy of Alex.

I sat with Jeff Schewe this afternoon to have him flip through some of my top photos and he worked a bunch of Lightroom magic with me to help make them that much better. Very cool. Now I have to select six images to show to the group on Thursday after dinner. I think I’ll go with 2-3 serious high-quality shots and 2-3 hilarious and fun shots. Perhaps one of them will be of Jeff. I have over 100 photos of him tagged in Lightroom at the moment!