Its that time of the year again for me where I begin to focus on our upcoming Antarctic expedition. 6 weeks and counting I’ll find myself in Ushuaia, the southern most city in the world and in some ways a bit of a home away from home since I have spent time there every year for the last 8 years.
I’ve learned a huge amount shooting in the Antarctic. It has definitely taught me more about shooting than anywhere else. I first managed to shoot there in 2005 with Robert Swan and his 2041 expedition (www.2041.com) through a series of serendipitous events and through being an insistent pain in the ass I have managed to be invited along every year since then. But, my Antarctic shooting career may have come to a grinding halt if anyone had ever seen any of the footage I shot that year.
I had a beat up pd150 and a lot of enthusiasm. I spent hours outside filming from the ship and am not sure I really saw that much of the expedition outside of looking through a camera…. but, the results were pretty dismal. I was working with a BBC director who had made some high end natural history and adventure films. He very quickly lost interest in me as he was used to filming with a much higher caliber of cameraman. His attentions turned instead to some of the prettier expedition members. So I continued on unfazed, churning out hours of mostly unusable shots of icebergs and penguins. This is where my luck held, because after the expedition the director promptly disappeared into the woodwork along with all my footage. I now decided it was time to get proactive, because ever since leaving the Antarctic all I could think of was “How do I get back there?”.
Cutting a long story short I managed to convince Robert to bring me along again saying I would actually edit the film onboard the ship so that everyone could leave with a copy of the expedition film on DVD. “You won’t have to deal with the same problem as last year when all the footage went missing!” Shameless really.
I managed to up my game the next year by functioning on 4 hours of sleep a night for the whole expedition, and producing a passable film. I still have a picture of me editing and it totally cracks me up. I didn’t have a laptop, only a mac mini with Final Cut Pro. So my plan was to take my mac mini and buy a screen in Ushuaia. I then strapped everything to the wall of my cabin for rough seas. If you look closely at the photo you can see I am wearing anti nausea wrist bands!
At any rate, my foot was in the proverbial door and they have not been able to get rid of me since.
This video contains much of the early footage I shot in the Antarctic. Quality of the upload not the greatest but you will get the idea.