One of the real joys of ship based photography is to stand on the ship’s deck with a camera and watch (and photograph) the scene slowly roll past as you cruise along. Many of my best photographs from Antarctica were made this way – including ‘Penguins Adrift in Snow Storm‘ which was recently featured as photograph of the day on National Geographic’s website. Unlike land based photography, shooting from ship requires absolutely no strenuous walking or hiking (and obviously no tripod) – except perhaps to the bar for the odd drink or the occasional shore excursion via zodiac. All that is really required is a little patience and perhaps a decent pair of sea legs if the swell is up to help keep your balance. Even then, it is amazing how easy it is to brace yourself against the ship to create a stable shooting platform. In point of fact, shooting from ship is actually far easier than helicopter.
During my last Antarctica expedition my good friend Martyn and I spent a lot of time shooting side-by-side as we cruised slowly up the Beagle Channel toward the Drake Passage and Antarctica. Flanked by the Andes mountain range the scenery was truly spectacular with jagged mountain peaks, swirling clouds and dramatic light. Conveniently our trip departed late afternoon from Ushuaia (as most trips do) and we were fortunate to be treated to some lovely dramatic and moody light. As a photographer who searches for the dramatic and portentous this was truly food for the soul and I can vividly recall dashing from one side of the ship to the other with a huge grin on my face in an effort to drink it all in.
Although I had chartered a helicopter with one of the other people on the trip to fly over the Andes mountains the day before; ironically I actually ended up prefering those images I shot from the deck of the ship. One of my favourites being this photograph which is highly evocative of the jagged and precipitous peaks that comprise the Andes Mountains and the dramatic clouds that are constantly swirling around the peaks and summits.
A higher resolution version of this photograph can be seen on my website in the South America Portfolio. I am looking forward to cruising up the Beagle Channel again next year on my next Antarctica Expedition with my co-leader Daniel Bergmann and I will most definitely be out on deck armed with cameras as we sail slowly past the spectacular Andes Mountains on our way to the last great frontier – Antarctica.