- This topic is empty.
December 6, 2006 at 4:18 am #451
First of all, great website here…I’ve been lurking for a little while and have learned quite a bit about life on the ice. I just received the news that I’ll be heading down to McMurdo for the winter as long as I pass all the tests. I’m supposed to hear from recruiting and medical about the hireright app, drug test, and psyc eval in the next couple of days. I am very excited though I’m not sure it has fully hit me yet, I’m just anxious to get this PQ ball rolling since there’s not much time between now and January! It seems like everyone on here says that first timers always bring too much cold weather gear. I’ve got the participant guide but I figured asking some veterans might be more helpful. Any advice as I begin my clothes and camera buying? Thanks again for a very useful website, and I look forward to meeting some of you soon.
GranzeyDecember 7, 2006 at 1:44 am #3393
Howdy, Granzey —
Congratulations! You’re about to become a member of an elite club – the winterovers…
Before answering your questions, here’s one for you – What’s your job going to be?
atlasDecember 7, 2006 at 2:20 am #3394ZondraMember
Congrats… More info to follow but first about the camera. Digital is the way to go. Especially in the winter when you’ll have no way of sending film north. If you’re serious enough about photography, I recommend getting a good camera, like a digital SLR (get what you can afford, though). If you’ll be wanting to take your own outdoor pictures of the auroras & lights of town & what not, you’ll want a camera with long exposure time capabilities. Also, BRING A TRIPOD! I came for Winfly one year, and I was so bummed that I didn’t have a tripod. I borrowed one and was able to take some amazing pictures. If you want those amazing pictures, but don’t care if you took them or not, you can always get them from other people down here. We have a common computer drive called the “I-drive” & it’s a great place for picture sharing. That’s where I’ve gotten some of my best pictures of Antarctica…
A small pocket sized point & shoot camera is nice…. There are always fun social events, where it’s nice to have a camera… but again, someone else there usually has one, and they can put the stuff on the I-drive.
No matter which camera you decide upon, GET EXTRA BATTERIES!!! I spent extra $$ on my digital SLR to get an extra rechargable battery… That way, it can always be charged, and can be swapped out. Batteries go dead very quickly in the cold. If you have an extra battery, you can keep it against your body & warm… Then when your other battery dies, the new one is warm & ready to go. I’ve actually gotten another battery now & enjoy have the 3 of them. I’ve found that my battery will go dead before I run out of memory. Oh, and bring lots of memory, too. But the battery is more important than the memory. If you don’t use rechargables, bring lots and lots extras. For instance if your camera uses AA batteries… get several sets of rechargables, and a charger. Non-rechargables tend to last longer, so I know people who have also brought a bunch of those as well. They have those down here, but not always enough.
What is your job?
ZondraDecember 7, 2006 at 2:28 am #3395
Thanks Atlas! Yeah I just hope there won’t be any PQ glitches between now and deployment! I’m the primary for an asst. lab ops supervisor position in the Crary lab. Sounds like the station staff is going to be rather low this winter. I feel lucky to be one of the few!December 7, 2006 at 2:36 am #3396
Thanks for the camera tips Zondra. I read somewhere that 30 second exposure is about the minimum for good night shots. I’m not sure I can afford a dSLR, but I’ll see what I can find. It sounds like an external shutter release is nice along with the external battery pack. Are there other models that people seem pretty happy with in the winter? I’ve got a point and shoot camera but I don’t know much about the bigger ones. That’s good to hear about the shared drive. Should make sharing pretty easy. Are you wintering this year? How about you Atlas?December 7, 2006 at 10:35 am #3397
Hey, G —
Thanks for the reply. Yep, I’ll be here for the winter, taking care of all your computer needs. Won’t be many people here, so yep, you’re lucky.
Z is spot-on with her camera recommendations. I’ve got both a P&S, and a dSLR. Love ’em both. A tripod is a must have for those winter nights, too.
As a first timer, and a winterover, bring the gear they issue you in Christchurch. You may not need it, but if you do, you’ll be glad you have it.
I’d also suggest your own sheets, pillow, comforter, and stuff like that. And don’t forget a six-month supply of your favorite toiletries. Bring workout clothes, too, if you’re into the fitness stuff.
Read all the discussions on this site for the last few months, regardless of what the subject is. We tend to digress frequently, and there’s some informational gems buried here.
If you’re lucky, you’ll get here in time to meet Mike Poole, the guy who runs this site.
See you soon!
aDecember 7, 2006 at 4:18 pm #3398
How do the stock dSLR lenses perform down there…is it better to buy body only and then pick up a couple specific lenses?December 8, 2006 at 1:21 am #3399
To tell you the truth, this will be my fist winter with my new dSLR setup. I bought the body-only, and already had a 28-200 lens from a previous dSLR. However, on my wishlist is a really fast 24mm fixed.
I may have to order one…
There are a number of us that shoot Canons down here. Anything from a Digital Rebel, Rebel XTi, 30D, 5D, etc. And maybe a couple of Nikon users, but not many.December 8, 2006 at 2:42 am #3400SciencetechKeymaster
So you’re going to be the “WASLO” for the winter? Hee hee! I laugh because a lot of weird things have happened behind the scenes related to lab positions this year, and apparently it’s worked in your favor. I’m sure you’ll hear more about it after you get there. And in case they didn’t tell you, you’ll probably be helping to launch balloons this winter.
There are a lot of Nikon users at the Pole right now, and a few Canon users hiding in the closets (funny how things are distributed, eh?). Here’s what I’ve noticed:
– A freshly charged Nikon battery (ENL3 or similar) will last about 45 minutes at -40. Eventually the camera just gives up. Very disconcerting the first time it happens, but it doesn’t seem to hurt anything.
– Higher quality lenses do better. Some kit lenses are good, some bad. You’ll probably want a super wide angle lens for aurora shots and other stuff, maybe 18mm or less. If you’re going to buy a camera, with or without a kit lens, dpreview.com is an excellent source of information.
– No matter the quality of your lens or camera, condensation is the killer. When you bring a camera in from the cold (especially into a humidified building like the Crary lab!) make sure it’s sealed up until it has a chance to warm up gradually. In the past I’ve used a zippered lunch cooler or big Ziploc bag, which worked well, but this season I’ve just been stuffing the camera into a plastic garbage bag before bringing it in. I let it warm up for an hour or more before taking it out. (Very difficult when you’re eager to see your pictures!)
glennDecember 8, 2006 at 2:48 am #3401SciencetechKeymaster
By the way, if you bring a tripod make sure it’s not a ‘fluid head’ tripod. Those are nice in temperate regions, but the fluid turns to rock when it’s cold.
gDecember 8, 2006 at 5:07 am #3402
Thanks for the tips. Haha that’s a pretty cool nickname! Hopefully the funny things that happened aren’t negative! Are you going to be around this winter Glenn? It sounds like you are a science guy as wellDecember 8, 2006 at 2:37 pm #3403thepooles98Keymaster
Hey, I haven’t checked here for a few days. We have another new person coming in. I’m with Zondra that if you are remotely into photography you will want a good camera. I have the old Nikon coolpix 5000. It has always worked well but the batteries go dead pretty quick. In order to change the batteries I have to remove the tripod attachment, something very difficult with gloves. A couple of years ago I bought and external 6v battery pack from a local camera store. It worked great. I stored the battery inside my coat and ran the wire out through my sleeve to the power plug on the camera. It never ran out of juice. Sadly it was lithium ion and bit the dust this year, but I would buy one again.
There are a lot of the big new Nikon DSLR’s around. They seem to work fine.
As to the rest. read the old posts and then come back with questions. AS SOON as you PQ and sign the contract start mailing down priorty mail envelopes with the most important stuff. They will sometimes get through when larger package mail doesn’t.
MikeDecember 11, 2006 at 11:00 pm #3404explorer_keithMember
I managed to get some fairly decent pictures with a 5mp Cannon digital Elph. The auroras were a bit grainy, but they were still nice looking. I would recommend getting something like the A620 that has a bit more manual adjustment though. The tripod, lots of extra batteries and a bunch of hand warmers strapped to the outside of the camera (the LCD screen is particularly susceptible to freezing and cracking, which happened to a friend of mine) were all I truly needed for decent outdoors photos, but I did find myself wishing for an SLR on several occasions through the winter. I just upgraded, so next time I make it down to McMurdo I will be all set.
wrote: [font=Arial, size=4:de7s6hh9]New Message on Antarctic memories[/font:de7s6hh9] Antarcticmemories@groups.msn.com?subject=Re%3A%20First%20Timer [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica,Sans Serif:de7s6hh9]Recommend[/font:de7s6hh9] Message 5 in Discussion [font=Arial, Helvetica, Sans Serif:de7s6hh9]From: [/font:de7s6hh9][font=Arial, Helvetica, Sans Serif:de7s6hh9]Granzey[/font:de7s6hh9] Thanks for the camera tips Zondra. I read somewhere that 30 second exposure is about the minimum for good night shots. I’m not sure I can afford a dSLR, but I’ll see what I can find. It sounds like an external shutter release is nice along with the external battery pack. Are there other models that people seem pretty happy with in the winter? I’ve got a point and shoot camera but I don’t know much about the bigger ones. That’s good to hear about the shared drive. Should make sharing pretty easy. Are you wintering this year? How about you Atlas?
Travel Journal: http://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/explorer_keith/December 13, 2006 at 1:17 pm #3405
Thanks for the tips Keith. I went ahead and bit the bullet on a dSLR and I think I will be pretty happy with it. I’ve already got a little camera for casual pictures so I should be set now. However, I did the pulmonary function test today and the tech said that the report shows a “mild obstruction defect” or something. He said it was really minor and all of my other numbers were better than predicted. Does anyone know what Raytheon is looking for with this test? I had very mild asthma back in the day (like ten+ years ago) and haven’t come close to having any symptoms since then (even living in VERY polluted cities). I’m just frustrated cuz i could go run ten miles right now no problem. I think my LEGS would give out first!
I bought the camera just before taking the test haha. Perhaps I should have waited. Any insight?December 14, 2006 at 12:17 am #3406thepooles98Keymaster
Tests are one of those things that can go either way. It sounds like the tech didn’t think much of it. Hopefully the program docs think the same. There is always the waiver process as well. It would be worse if you were going to the pole. Lung function is important there because of the altitude. I wouldn’t worry too much at this point at McM. They are a little tougher on winter contracts, but in general mild problems won’t knock you out. Breathe deep, relax, have a beer with friends and wait to see what they say.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.