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I have a photography question about an Antartica cruise.

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This is my first post here, great forum!.

 

I have an Antartica cruise booked next year on the Silver Cloud, and I am an avid amateur photographer. My question is, generally speaking, when you are anchored for shore excursions, are there good photo opportunities to be had from the cruise ship while waiting for turns on the shore excursions? Is the cruise ship anchored close enough to shore to get wildlife shots from the ship?

 

I ask because I'm trying to decide whether it is worth the hassle of taking my really long, heavy telephoto lens given the luggage restrictions. It would be too big to take on the shore excursions (although I'm curious if some people do lug big glass and tripods on the excursions), so I would only use it to take shots on and from the ship.

 

Thoughts?

 

Thanks much.

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Yes we were usually anchored in a spot with a view, if not really close to shore, it was close to iceburgs, scenery and of course there were always chances to see wildlife (whales, seals, penguins and flying birds.) However we were on a smaller ship than the Silver Cloud.

 

I did not have huge lens but did have a telephoto which fit into my backpack. I took it on some zodiac tours and some shore landings.

 

There is lots of information to be at at the Antarctic Adventures forum here: https://www.tripadvisor.ca/ShowForum-g1-i12337-Antarctic_Adventures.html

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We were on the Cloud last month and we did see whales and some seals and lots of birds from the ship while waiting out turn to go ashore. Penguins were harder to see, unless they were in the water near us. Lots of great shot of icebergs and mountains and glaciers from the ship. They do give you a pretty good sized backpack in which you can carry extra lenses. We figured out after the first stop that the backpack was a waste for us as the parkas had big enough pockets for our cameras.

 

I only recall seeing 1 tripod on our shore excursions and that may have been the ship's photographer's

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This is my first post here, great forum!.

 

I have an Antartica cruise booked next year on the Silver Cloud, and I am an avid amateur photographer. My question is, generally speaking, when you are anchored for shore excursions, are there good photo opportunities to be had from the cruise ship while waiting for turns on the shore excursions? Is the cruise ship anchored close enough to shore to get wildlife shots from the ship?

 

I ask because I'm trying to decide whether it is worth the hassle of taking my really long, heavy telephoto lens given the luggage restrictions. It would be too big to take on the shore excursions (although I'm curious if some people do lug big glass and tripods on the excursions), so I would only use it to take shots on and from the ship.

 

Thoughts?

 

Thanks much.

 

I took my telephoto lens and was glad I did, but mine may not be as large as yours. I saw others with much larger ones. As others have said, you can get some great shots of the scenery from the ship. We had whales right next to our ship a few times. I went out on the balcony at times and got some great shots of the scenery. Don't worry about the weight restrictions. You can always put it in your pocket on the plane, but honestly nobody's carryon bags were weighed in either direction.

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I don't know how long or heavy a lens you are talking about, but yes you'll want a decently long lens for when you are on the ship, not only for when it's anchored, but also and in particular for when you are underway. You'll be seeing icebergs, perhaps penguins and seals on icebergs, perhaps whales, and of course flying birds. You just never know what is going to pop out of the water next to your ship at any time, or fly by.

 

enhance

 

The longest lens I had with me was a 300 mm (on a crop-sensor DSLR, so effectively about 450), sufficient to capture the wandering albatross below, but the serious birders had some long, heavy lenses.

 

enhance

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Yes we were usually anchored in a spot with a view, if not really close to shore, it was close to iceburgs, scenery and of course there were always chances to see wildlife (whales, seals, penguins and flying birds.) However we were on a smaller ship than the Silver Cloud.

 

I did not have huge lens but did have a telephoto which fit into my backpack. I took it on some zodiac tours and some shore landings.

 

There is lots of information to be at at the Antarctic Adventures forum here: https://www.tripadvisor.ca/ShowForum-g1-i12337-Antarctic_Adventures.html

 

Thanks Maryann! Helpful.

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We were on the Cloud last month and we did see whales and some seals and lots of birds from the ship while waiting out turn to go ashore. Penguins were harder to see, unless they were in the water near us. Lots of great shot of icebergs and mountains and glaciers from the ship. They do give you a pretty good sized backpack in which you can carry extra lenses. We figured out after the first stop that the backpack was a waste for us as the parkas had big enough pockets for our cameras.

 

I only recall seeing 1 tripod on our shore excursions and that may have been the ship's photographer's

 

That answers my question, if anyone had a super tele on shore they would have had a tripod. Since you have been on the Cloud would you mind fielding a couple more questions? Thanks!

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I took my telephoto lens and was glad I did, but mine may not be as large as yours. I saw others with much larger ones. As others have said, you can get some great shots of the scenery from the ship. We had whales right next to our ship a few times. I went out on the balcony at times and got some great shots of the scenery. Don't worry about the weight restrictions. You can always put it in your pocket on the plane, but honestly nobody's carryon bags were weighed in either direction.

 

Carol, knowing that they don't weigh carry ons is very helpful. I'd hate to be on this trip and wish I would have brought my best lens.

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I don't know how long or heavy a lens you are talking about, but yes you'll want a decently long lens for when you are on the ship, not only for when it's anchored, but also and in particular for when you are underway. You'll be seeing icebergs, perhaps penguins and seals on icebergs, perhaps whales, and of course flying birds. You just never know what is going to pop out of the water next to your ship at any time, or fly by.

 

enhance

 

The longest lens I had with me was a 300 mm (on a crop-sensor DSLR, so effectively about 450), sufficient to capture the wandering albatross below, but the serious birders had some long, heavy lenses.

 

enhance

 

Very nice shot of the whale! Yes, I'm more convinced that I should take it along. Thanks!

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Carol and I were both on the Cloud, but on separate cruises so you can ask either of us anything and you may get slightly different answers.

 

We saw plenty of whales from ship and shore, but trying to frame them with a zoom or long lens is pretty hard. We didn't get any breaches, but had lots of things like this:

 

 

https://i.**********/V2bumtH.jpg

 

from the ship, and lots of things like this:

 

https://i.**********/48ketP1.jpg

 

from land

 

Replace the stars with i m g u r . c o m to see both photos

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Your photography gear is very much a personal choice. I have stood next to passengers carrying metre long lenses that required 2 separate tripods that probably cost more than my first home. Thats their choice and their poor spine (lol).

As my dud shoulder can't cope with too much weight I personally stick with the Canon bridge camera super zoom range. I have had the SX50 for quite a few years now and it went on my last two polar expeditions. I had the lower zoom 10x and 20x on my first 2 trips. I also have my iphone 6 plus with me which gets popped into a waterproof case and hung round my neck for great shots and videos during the zodiacing.

 

When the ship is anchored for zodiac landings there is usually plenty to see 360 degrees around the ship - from the landing sites to nearby bergs to porpoising penguins, resting seals on ice floes, and visiting whales popping up. I have never been bored looking for something to photograph from the decks while waiting my turn to board the zodiac.

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There's always something to see whether on the ship or ashore. And 24/7! With that in mind, sleep and meals are something of an inconvenience.

 

In terms of which lens to take, take the longest you have and take it ashore. I took my Sigma 150-600 Sports (240-960 on my 7D2 crop body) ashore on every landing as well as using it on deck and did so without a tripod. The optical stabilisation and a fast shutter speed (1/2000 or thereabouts), along with a reasonably firm stance, will get you some stunning and sharp images. The one time I didn't take it ashore I missed images of musk ox (in Greenland, not Antarctica!) that it would have got me quite easily. It's seriously frustrating to end up with musk ox dots rather than the real thing...

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