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Thread: Sony in Antarctica

  1. #1
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    Sony in Antarctica

    A quick heads up, I’m going to Antarctica with the National Science Foundation for 2 months beginning mid-October. It’s relevant here because I’m taking Sony A7 & A7r bodies and FE lenses with me, and it will be interesting to see how they perform in an extreme environment. I have confidence in the system after using it pretty extensively in the very cold weather we had last winter, and it has advantages in both size and weight, which are critical because of tight NSF and Air Force baggage policies. I’ll be posting here as the trip progresses with equipment updates.
    I’ll also be posting regularly to the project blog located at www.popantarctica.wordpress.com.

    I'm also running a fund raiser for the project, the Antarctic Artists and Writers Program provides flights and room & board in Antarctica, but part of the financial burden of the program lands on the artist, so I'm running a kickstarter fundraiser to cover rising expenses. Please check it out if you have the means, rewards for your support include print(s), book(s), and also Fuji instax prints mailed directly from Antarctica.
    www.kickstarter.com/projects/1322320805/portraits-of-place-in-antarctica
    Thanks for your support, and follow along with the project on the blog.
    Last edited by soboyle; 1st September 2015 at 08:26.
    Shaun O'Boyle
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    Re: Sony in Antarctica

    Quote Originally Posted by soboyle View Post
    A quick heads up, I知 going to Antarctica with the National Science Foundation for 2 months beginning mid-October. It痴 relevant here because I知 taking Sony A7 & A7r bodies and FE lenses with me, and it will be interesting to see how they perform in an extreme environment. I have confidence in the system after using it pretty extensively in the very cold weather we had last winter, and it has advantages in both size and weight, which are critical because of tight NSF and Air Force baggage policies. I値l be posting here as the trip progresses with equipment updates.
    I値l also be posting regularly to the project blog located at www.popantarctica.wordpress.com.

    I'm also running a fund raiser for the project, the Antarctic Artists and Writers Program provides flights and room & board in Antarctica, but part of the financial burden of the program lands on the artist, so I'm running a kickstarter fundraiser to cover rising expenses. Please check it out if you have the means, rewards for your support include print(s), book(s), and also Fuji instax prints mailed directly from Antarctica.
    www.kickstarter.com/projects/1322320805/portraits-of-place-in-antarctica
    Thanks for your support, and follow along with the project on the blog.
    What a trip!

    In what capacity are you going?

    I am looking forward to future postings.

    -Bill
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    Re: Sony in Antarctica

    I'll be going as a photographer through the Antarctic Artist and Writers Program, a program run by the NSF. This is a program that anyone can apply for. You go through the exact same process that all the science projects which are proposed to the NSF go through. You write a proposal to the NSF for work that you need to complete in Antarctica. The project is then submitted, after jumping through many hoops during the submittal process. The project then goes through an initial peer review, then a panel review. If you make the cut, which about 10% of the proposals seem to, it get designated as a highly competitive proposal.

    One of the challenges of proposing a project is finding something that no one else has done before, then proving that you are the right person to do it. So if you are considering applying to the program, play to your strengths and have a history of the work you are proposing. The more work you can show, the more history you have of that work being seen and published, the better your chances are. All kinds of artists are accepted into the program, writers, sculptors, painters, photographers, film makers, poets, musicians. Even puppeteers.

    Once your project is designated as highly competitive, a final selection is made of projects that will go to the Ice. This part of the process is less transparent, and the selection process seems to happen behind closed doors. Communication from the NSF is slow and non-committal. They are a huge governmental agency, and are very busy with hundreds of active projects and project applications. It appears that something like 2-3% of applications are supported in the end. So it’s a very competitive program, but the rewards are pretty astonishing. In my case, two month on the Ice photographing subjects of my own choosing, helicopter transportation to remote locations, spending time with scientists working in field camps, access to areas that no one else has access too through special permits, to name a few.

    I'll be updating the project blog regularly throughout the project for any who want to follow along. Portraits of Place in Antarctica | A National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists & Writers Project by Shaun O'Boyle


    Quote Originally Posted by ohnri View Post
    What a trip!

    In what capacity are you going?

    I am looking forward to future postings.

    -Bill
    Last edited by soboyle; 3rd September 2015 at 06:10.
    Shaun O'Boyle
    new.oboylephoto.com
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    Re: Sony in Antarctica

    All the best to you, Shaun!
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    Re: Sony in Antarctica

    Afternoon

    Enjoy your trip, I'm sure you will have a great time!

    One comment, remember that you are going in the summer, 24hr daylight, periods of great and rubbish weather but it isn't the winter. I'd be more worried about sunscreen and sun glasses than how your camera will perform, it's really not that cold!

    Looking forward to seeing how you get on.

    Mat
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    Re: Sony in Antarctica

    Not that warm! When I arrive in October the average low is in the -40's (-20's F) and average high temp is -teens (+4 F), plus spring is usually stormy and windy, so wind chills can go way lower. But by mid-December it is pretty mild, with average high around 0 (32 F). I do have good polarized sunglasses and will be bringing sunblock also.

    From talking with others who have spent time at McMurdo, cameras usually don't have problems with the cold there. Condensation, grit and volcanic dust are the big enemies to watch out for. But if I have a failure there, there is no possibility of a replacement, so I have to have backups for my backup. So I will be bringing 3 Sony bodies, I have 2 now and am deciding which body to get for the third. Plus I'll be bringing 2 fixed lens cameras, a Fuji X100 and a Sigma DP2M, and possibly a Leica M3 film camera. Why those cameras? Because it is what I have, and my budget is very tight for this project.

    As I mentioned above, the NSF provides flights plus room & board in Antarctica, but there is no financial award given, so many of the project expenses are up to me. If interested in pledgeing in exchange for a book, print(s) or an instant print sent from Antarctica, have a look at my Kickstarter project.
    www.kickstarter.com/projects/1322320805/portraits-of-place-in-antarctica



    Quote Originally Posted by mjr View Post
    Afternoon

    Enjoy your trip, I'm sure you will have a great time!

    One comment, remember that you are going in the summer, 24hr daylight, periods of great and rubbish weather but it isn't the winter. I'd be more worried about sunscreen and sun glasses than how your camera will perform, it's really not that cold!

    Looking forward to seeing how you get on.

    Mat
    Shaun O'Boyle
    new.oboylephoto.com

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    Re: Sony in Antarctica

    Hmm, it's possible but unlikely you will face that cold when you are there, I have never been to McMurdo but spent 2.5 years in Antarctica, 3 summers and 2 winters without leaving the continent. In my experience, McMurdo is more likely to be in the -20's C at worst and higher but obviously there is no accounting for weather, it will do whatever it likes! The summers were ofter t-shirt and thin fleece after the cold of the winter, the sun is harsh and can burn very quickly.

    It's no harder on cameras than anywhere that's a bit cold, I wouldn't go mad but again, it's a once in a lifetime trip for most so take what you feel comfortable with, I think you'd be very unlucky to have 2 cameras go down unless you a clumsy oaf! Just take lots of batteries and 2 chargers.

    Mat
    http://matrichardson.com/
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    Re: Sony in Antarctica

    I've been a couple of times, but only in December and February - warm months! Highs ran about 3C and lows around -8C. But we were on the coast (Palmer station for example) where the relatively warm water modifies the temperature. Never had any equipment problems - it's colder here in Ontario in mid-winter!
    Bill CB

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    Re: Sony in Antarctica

    Sent my wife down with an a900 and a few lenses to the Ross Sea this past winter (here) for two months on an icebreaker for some research.

    They stopped at a few stations including McMurdo. It was never that cold, but the weather was dicey a lot, so that is an issue.

    The camera held up well, and she got great photos along with the great samples she was collecting.

    I agree about backups, and that should include multiple external hard drives...

    Sounds like a fun trip. Be careful about snow blindness. You'll be out so much that you have to protect your eyes...
    a7r, a7rII, FE 16-35, FE 24-70GM, FE 70-200, Loxia 21mm, 35mm, 50mm

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    Re: Sony in Antarctica

    I had been in touch with one of the mountaineers at McMurdo, Alasdair Turner, who is also a photographer, and who spends a lot of time in areas near McMurdo like on the Erebus volcano with researchers. In the years he has been going to Antarctica he has never had a camera failure, even when leaving a body tripod mounted for days doing time lapse work.
    Ralph Maestas who does a lot of the photography and video work at Mcmurdo for the USAP and the Antarctic Sun also said it's rare for cameras to fail because of the cold, and that the main problem is with the wind blown dust and volcanic grit, so use caution when and where changing lenses, especially in the McMurdo Dry Valleys. So having 3 bodies will give the the option to have 3 cameras available with lenses mounted to avoid dust issues.
    Anthony Powell, who's documentary Antarctic: A year on the Ice is worth seeing (it's on Netflix), has spent many hours photographing and film making in and around McMurdo said the only issue he has seen is with LCD fading if it gets really cold, this usually on older camera bodies, and that they recover once the camera warms up again.
    So I'm feeling pretty good about bringing a 3 body Sony kit.
    Shaun O'Boyle
    new.oboylephoto.com

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    Re: Sony in Antarctica

    Shaun O'Boyle
    new.oboylephoto.com

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