Here’s the latest blog post that I wrote for National Geographic:
Antarctica is without doubt one of the wildest places on earth. It is seriously remote, it is not easy (or cheap) to get there, there is no infrastructure, and the climate is as extreme as it can get. When I traveled there for the first time a few years ago, I was not only impressed by the overwhelming beauty of this vast continent, but I was also constantly aware of how special it was to be there. Every time I got off my zodiac and set foot on the mainland of Antarctica, I felt like an explorer who entered another world.
One of the most intense ways to experience nature is to spend the night outdoors. On my many travels I have camped in the most remote places – high in the Himalayas in India, deep in the desert in Libya, and among brown bears in Alaska, but none of those camps were so far from civilization as this camp in Antarctica. Four small tents on a sea of snow and ice, an incredible experience.
For the photo I wanted to illuminate the tents from the inside, so I had to wait until after sunset to be able to show the effect. I brought a small flashlight with a very wide beam that I wanted to use for the lighting, but I had only one, not four. The only solution was to shoot and blend four different exposures for the final photograph – one for each tent.
I started with the tent in the foreground. One of the campers was so kind to sit inside the tent and use the flashlight according to my directions. This first exposure was the most important one, because I would not only use it for the tent, but also for the overall scene and the ambient light. I waited until the light had a cold, blue tone because it would fit nicely with the snowy landscape, and it would create a nice contrast with the warm glow of the tents. After taking the first picture, I photographed the other three tents with the same settings. Meanwhile, it was getting darker, but the exposure of the tents was constant, so no problems there. I later blended the four exposures in Photoshop to get this final result. A lovely memento of a unique experience.
Nikon D3x, AF-S 14-24/2.8, 15 sec. @ f/16, ISO 50, tripod, flashlight