Most photos were captured with the Canon 1Ds Mark III, some indoors and night shots also with my old Canon 10D. For landscapes I preferably used the 24-105mm/f 4.0 IS, 16-35mm or 24-70mm/2 2.8 lenses, while the macros were taken with the 100mm/ f.2.8 prime and ring flash.
Leaving from Longyearbyen (Svalbard), our voyage was offered on the occasion of the total solar eclipse which could be observed on August 1st 2008 in the Far East and Northeast. We could watch this astronomical phenomenon nearby FJL at our position at 79° 51.60′ N, 42° 04.2 ‘ E at 09:50 UTC. Though this rare event undoubtedly was one of the highlights, it originally had not been the main reason for me to take part in the trip. It rather was a unique chance for me to visit one of the rare wild places left in the High Arctic. However, as our ship obviously was not in perfect condition and maybe also in order to save time because of the focus on the eclipse, they mostly stayed away from the pack ice at a considerable distance. That is why our wildlife encountering, i.e. regarding polar bears was more limited than I had hoped for. Despite these drawbacks and the fact that the voyage to JFL was not scheduled as a special photo expedition, it was an impressive and unique trip to a very remote place I probably won’t be able to visit again in the near future. So I’m glad that I had joined.
The photos displayed in the gallery were shot with Canon 1DsMarkIII/II cameras, mostly using the f2.8/24-70mm, f4.0/24-105mm IS, f2.8/70-200mm IS, f2.8/16-35mm and f2.8/14mm II lenses. For photographing wildlife, I often used the f 2.8/300mm IS including the 1.4x or 2.0x converter mounted on the 1D Mark III. The close ups were captured with the f2.8/100mm macro lens. For the first time, I had also used the WFT-E2 transmitter with diGPS connected for geotagging my photos. I’m planning to map some of the pictures to google maps later.
Patagonia is a famous place for hiking and trekking with EL Calafate and especially EL Chalten often named the hiking capitals of the world. Though trekking with heavy gear and overnight camping in unpredictable weather is not everyone’s passion, some of the most popular highlights and spectacular viewpoints require long hikes. Apart from the need to scale steep moraine fields in the last section, most mountain trails are not difficult, though. But the mileage can easily amount to 10+ kilometers one way, depending on the specific route. However, getting to the viewpoints in early morning light – preferably at sunrise in order to catch the fantastic Alpenglow – requires tough hikes in the dark for several hours on some places unless you’re planning on camping. Even if you decide upon an overnight backpacking trip you still have to ascend the moraine fields before sunrise. Considering the fact, that the night is pretty short during the Patagonian midsummer, a very early start in the dark is required on some places. Since I wanted to make the most of the trip respecting photography, I had to schedule the whole tour and overnight stays carefully, also taking possible bad weather conditions into account. In the end, I could do predawn hikes on most but not on all the locations originally intended.
As for wildlife, the area is habitat for rheas (nandues), guanacos, cougars, and gray foxes. There are over 100 species of birds in the park, including the endangered Andean condor. In TDP NP I encountered Chilean flamingo, Chilean Flicker, Magellan goose, Black-faced ibis and Crested Caracara to name a few.
All in all, the trip to Patagonia was a fantastic experience and I hope I can be back once again. The photos in the gallery were taken with Canon 1Ds Mark III, 1D Mark IV and 7D cameras, mainly using the f 4.0/24-105mm IS USM, f 2.8/70-200mm IS USM II, f 2.8/16-35mm USM, f 14mm USM II lenses for the landscape shots. For capturing wildlife I mostly chose the f 4.5-5.6/100-400mm IS USM and f 2.8/300mm IS USM (+ 1,4x converter) lenses while the macros were taken with the f 2.8/100mm macro lens.
The wildlife shots at that time were taken with a 4.0/300mm IS lens and 1.4x converter using Canon 1V/1N cameras.