The wise and experienced expedition crew advised us to ensure that we didn’t go home having seen the Arctic through a lens only – they said we should make sure we took time out to relax in the scenery, experience the wilderness of the landscape without the worry of technology and experience wildlife sightings with our eyes opposed to lenses. Easier said than done! Though we did try, and are better people for it.
It sounds a bit regimented, but Alistair and I found that by defining our (photography) roles each day, we knew who would be framing and taking what pictures, and who could ‘relax’ when the prime sightings happen. Take for example, whales off the bow of the ship – a ‘wide angle’ 28-300 lens allowed me to zoom into the whales or dolphins when up close, allowing Ali to watch (as the 100-400 zoom’s minimum focus distance would not capture the shot), whilst a distant sighting of a polar bear allowed me to watch and observe whilst Alistair to extend to 400mm to capture the shots as required.
On location we’d also frequently discuss who would be taking video footage and of what, when so we knew not to double up on video or photography efforts.
Also of benefit is a remote release for the camera – allowing us to set up shots and time lapse whilst we enjoyed the scenery around us. This was especially useful for the Aurora Borealis (see separate blog post on capturing the Northern Lights).