Michael Snedic will again be taking photographers on an 11 day photography expedition along the Antarctic Peninsula.
The trip starts and ends in Usuaia, Argentina. We will travel across the Drake Passage to Antarctica, spending time exploring the peninsula before heading back to Ushuaia.
There are never any guarantees with Antarctic weather, so the exact itinerary can always change at the last minute.
The days are long (the sun will hardly set most days) and most days will usually involve at least two opportunities to get off the ship and either go ashore (usually amongst penguin colonies), or cruise amongst the ice in Zodiacs photographing amazing ice formations and wildlife. Through all of this Michael will be there to help you make this a trip of a lifetime, letting you come back with new images and new skills.
Cruising the Antarctic waters with my WildNature Photo Expedition participants
Close up encounter with penguins in Antarctica.
Our ship - The Ocean Endeavour
We will be travelling on the Ocean Endeavour, operated by Intrepid Travel. This comfortable and stable ship will be your home for the entire voyage, with most cabins being twin-share and all with private facilities. The ship is faster than most, and this can give us a quicker-than-average crossing of the Drake Passage, giving us a little more time in Antarctica than other ships.
The ship will also have non-photographer passengers on it, and while we will be sharing the ship and the general Antarctic experience with them, the photographic advice/instruction will be for our group. For example, on outings we will usually operating as a group with our own Zodiac. WildNature works closely with the Intrepid expedition team throughout (and before) the voyage to optimise operations on both sides to help everyone.
Michael is a highly experienced and widely-published wildlife and nature photographer, writer and tutor. His articles and images have featured in magazines such as Australian Photography +Digital, Australian Geographic, Wildlife Australia, Australian Birdlife and the UK’s BBC Wildlife, to name but some. His images have featured in numerous calendars, diaries, books and many other publications, including billboards and he has had two books published on Australian wildlife. Michael is a Nikon School tutor for Australia and regularly conducts photography workshops and tours across Australia and the world.
Costs and booking
The following prices are per person, in Australian dollars. A non-refundable 20% deposit will be needed within 5 days to secure your booking. Because most of the cost of the trip is taken up with the mechanics of getting you to Antarctica and back, the price will vary depending on the cabin type you select. Please note that there are a limited number of each cabin type available. Twin-share is the most numerous.
Prices are in Australian dollars.
NB: A MINIMUM OF FOUR PARTICIPANTS REQUIRED FOR THIS TRIP TO PROCEED
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Prices are per person twin share, or triple share
All cabins have private facilities. See further below for detailed inclusions/exclusions.
If you’re considering joining Michael on this truly 'Bucket List' trip, please register ASAP via our contact form
To ask any questions about the workshop or to book a place, please:
The trip is being put together with our partners at Intrepid Travel.
Intrepid Travel will be able to arrange flights and accommodation for you (including any other South American activities you want to include at either end of the trip) as part of a package, but you’re free to make other arrangements.
Group size and expertise levels
There are space for 8 photographers on this Antarctica Photo Expedition. Michael is an experienced nature photographer and tutor and will be on-hand to provide photographic advice throughout the trip. He also encourage all participants to take advantage of the image critique sessions provided throughout the trip.
Photographers of all experience levels are welcome. Whether you’re a seasoned professional with expensive gear, a beginner with simpler equipment (or in fact any combination of those) Michael will be there to provide value for you. Michael not only work to get you to “the right places”, he's there to help you make photos you’ll be proud of. . Each landing is different: there are always constraints on where we can safely go, but there are many opportunities to spread out.
Health and fitness
Anyone in normal good health is welcome to join us on this adventure. There are no special fitness requirements, although we will be often hiking on shore several times a day. We will be living on the ship which is sailing in unfrozen water, and the outside temperatures are often close to freezing. We’re not going inland where the temperatures would drop significantly. For example if you visit any of the Australian snowfields you’ll have probably been in colder conditions than we’ll usually see.
The ship has a doctor and basic medical facilities on board. If you have specific health concerns or dietary requirements the staff at Intrepid Travel will be able to advise you. There’s also a gym on board if you feel the need to get extra workouts. Actually, with the excellent meals provided on these trips it’s not hard to put weight on, so some people like this option.
Equipment to bring
On these expeditions most photographers bring DSLRs and/or mirrorless cameras with interchangeable lenses. Sometimes even medium-format cameras. You should bring at least two cameras (one as a backup: there are no nearby camera stores!) and often at least 2-3 lenses. Zoom lenses are a popular choice, although some photographers use primes as well. In general at the telephoto end you’ll want something that reaches at least 200mm, although 300 or 400mm are often popular. Being able to pick out details within a landscape, or a group of penguins on a passing iceberg is something you’ll probably miss if you only have shorter lenses. But you’ll usually also want a wide-angle lens to deal with some of the massive icebergs up close as well as some of the majestic skyscapes. For example many people end up with three basic zooms: a wide-angle such as a 16-35mm, a general-purpose 24-70mm, a 70-200mm (or sometimes a 70-300mm, 100-400mm, etc). But in the end everyone usually ends up with a slightly different combination of gear. Of course, these figures are in terms of 35mm “full frame” cameras: you can convert with the appropriate “crop factor” for other systems.
On clear days there’s a lot of sunlight, but sometimes a layer of cloud rolls in and we can sail through a spooky grey world with yellow sunlight around the horizon, and blue and green icebergs around us.
Having a camera and lens that can cope with a broad range of brightness conditions without too much grain/noise will let you take advantage of more of these situations. But no matter what you have sometimes it’s just too dark, such as when we encountered a large pod of Orca late at night in overcast conditions and it was too dark for most people to get photos that weren’t just dark smudges. But putting the camera down and just watching them with your eyes was still a magical experience.
Tripods are usually not useful on the ship. They can be useful onshore, but if you’re going to take one we favour smaller models due to issues such as simplifying getting into and out of Zodiacs. Spare batteries, polarising filter, and enough memory cards to at least last for each outing completes the basic camera gear requirements.
A backpack to help you carry your gear onshore and withstand the odd splash of water is also essential. You need to have hands free while getting in and out of the Zodiacs, and when you’re dressed for Antarctic conditions a photo vest with enough pockets to hold your gear just wouldn’t work!
As well as that photography gear, you should bring a laptop and hard drives to download and review the photos every day. Most people use software such as Lightroom to do this. You’ll have a limited stay in Antarctica, and while we don’t want to miss the photographic opportunities by spending all day sitting in front of a computer, it’s important to not only regularly backup the photos (and free up the cards for the next outing) but also review your work and identify how you can do things better on the next outing.
Day 1: Ushuaia - Argentina
Your adventure begins in Ushuaia, Argentina. Nestled within the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, Ushuaia boasts many shops, museums, restaurants and cafes that you can enjoy before your voyage. This Argentine town is the ideal gateway for you to explore the southern extent of Patagonia while preparing for your adventure ahead. If you feel adventurous, the nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park offers plenty of outdoor activities.
Day 2: Departing Ushuaia
Following your embarkation onto the Ocean Endeavour in the late afternoon, begin your Antarctic journey south, passing through the infamous Beagle Channel. Named after the famed ship on which Charles Darwin voyaged, the channel presents great photo opportunities of landscapes and seabirds.
Day 3-4: The Drake Passage
Sail into the Drake Passage. This wide channel separates the bottom of South America from the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, and was named after the English explorer, Sir Frances Drake. We hope for smooth sailing through the waterway, but be prepared for possible rough seas. On-board presentations and safety briefings by the expedition team will provide you with an insight into the locations you'll be visiting.
Days 5-8: Antarctica
Your Antarctic adventure truly begins once you have left the Drake Passage behind and the South Shetland Islands come into view, a region that has long captured the attention of explorers. Every visit to Antarctica reveals something unexpecting or new, meaning your expedition will be unlike any other – a unique and personal experience. During your time aboard the Ocean Endeavour, your expedition team and captain will scout for whales and seabirds and alert you to any new sightings. Enjoy in-depth explanations and lectures from your expedition team on the glaciology, history and wildlife of the region as you explore.
Even more exciting will be your first land excursion – something you will never forget! Daily Zodiac cruises and shore excursions take you to explore local bays, channels and landing sites with wildlife opportunities always at the forefront of your expedition team's mind. Walk on beaches dotted with penguins, visit penguin rookeries and search for southern seal species, including the fearless penguin eater, the leopard seal. Each day and each landing is different, but every day presents new photo opportunities and sightings, so it won't take long until you know the difference between an Adelie, gentoo and chinstrap penguin.
Michael will be with you every step of the way, making sure you accomplish the best possible photos from this truly wonderful photographer's paradise.
Days 9-10: The Drake Passage
Wind down your Antarctic adventure with a voyage back across the Drake Passage. This is another great opportunity to look out for wildlife from the deck with a hot drink in your hand. You will also be able to attend more presentations by onboard experts focusing on the history and wildlife of the Antarctic region.
Day 11: Disembarkation in Ushuaia, Argentina
You arrive in the port of Ushuaia in the morning and your expedition team will gather on the deck to farewell you as you disembark the Ocean Endeavour after breakfast. Your transfer to Ushuaia airport is included for all flights departing today.
- Photography tuitionary pro photographer and tutor, Michael Snedic, throughout the expedition. This includes image review and critique throughout the trip.
- One night's accommodation in a comfortable hotel
- Shipboard accommodation.
- All breakfasts, lunches and dinners onboard. Coffee, tea, cocoa available around the clock.
- A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings.
- A waterproof expedition parka is supplied on board for you to keep.
- Emergency Evacuation Insurance (up to US$100,000) is provided to get you back to Argentina in the event of an emergency, although you will still need your own insurance (with Antarctic cover) to get you home.
- Airfares and other travel expenses to/from Usuaia, Argentina.
- Passport/visa expenses.
- Personal/travel insurance coverage. Peregrine will discuss with you the required insurance coverage (due to the remoteness of our destination).
- Onboard bar, laundry, and telecommunications charges. Onboard internet access is available.
If you’re considering joining us, please register via our contact form.
To ask any questions about the workshop, either:
You might also be interested in Michael's upcoming Subantarctic Islands photography tour.