In my last article “Polar Bear Cubs – Part 1”, I talked about the most important aspect of extreme arctic photography, and that is to take care of yourself personally. If you are not safe and warm it really doesn’t matter what you have for camera gear, you simply are not going to survive.
Now that you are personally prepared let’s talk about the gear:
Of the 20 or so people attending, here is how the gear broke down:
- 2 were shooting video exclusively.
- 2 were shooting Nikon bodies.
- The remaining shooting Canon with a variety of bodies from 7D, 1D3, 1D4, and 1DS3.
From a lens perspective we had the following:
- A couple of Canon 100-400 f/4.5 – 5.6
- Canon 500 f/4.0
- Canon 600 f/4.0
- Canon 800 f/5.6
- For the most part lenses were used with a 1.4 teleconverter, but occasionally on the high focal length lenses no teleconverter was used depending on the body used.
Don’t underestimate the value of using “big” glass. This was my first trip to this specific location for polar bear cubs and I decided I wanted to “keep it simple” to best understand the environment of the lodge setting, vehicles used, setup & tear down of gear used, etc.. So I went with my 1DS3, 1D4, and my primary lens being the 500mm f/4.0 with 1.4 teleconverter. This allowed me to create good “environment” shots but getting really close to the cubs would have required an 800mm f/5.6 lens (which I’ll use next year)
Next article I’ll talk about gear care in extreme environments.