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Photography Series: Antarctic Explorer

Day 1 — Ushuaia, Argentina

The southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia is a bustling port with an easygoing, small-town vibe. Tucked scenically between the mountains to the north and the sea to the south, Ushuaia is a spectacular gateway for your Antarctic cruise. Before departing for your expedition, spend some time exploring the nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park, relax over authentic Argentine asado (barbecue) and a glass of local wine at one of the many restaurants, or immerse yourself in the museums, boutiques and cafés. 

Day 2 — Embarkation Day

Embarkation will occur in the late afternoon, after which your vessel will sail through the historic Beagle Channel. This famous channel, where your camera will be put into action snapping shots of seabirds, sea lions and seals, transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Expect an air of anticipation as you depart—the next time you see land, you’ll be in the world’s most southern continent! 

Days 3 and 4 — Crossing the Drake Passage

Prepare yourself for potentially rough water, but hope for a smooth sailing, as the Drake is unpredictable and always changing. You’ll spend these first days getting to know your shipmates while your Expedition Team provides safety briefings and insights into what excitement lies ahead. 

Expedition staff will also give photography buffs the scoop on shooting in the Polar Regions, which has its own set of unique challenges. You’ll learn how capture the gleaming white and deep blues of the snow, ice and icebergs in the White Continent, which can be tricky to do, with light reflecting off the surrounding sea and snow. Keen to capture the enormity of those bergs and the vastness of the landscape? Want to know how to snap the perfect penguin or seal portrait, or a breaching whale? Our on-board pros will be on hand during sea days to give you tips on capturing the magnitude and magnificence of this magical region. 

Days 5 to 8 — South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula

Once the Antarctic Convergence is left in our wake, you will truly begin your Antarctic adventure. It is perhaps the first sight of land itself that is embraced as the true beginning of any Antarctic expedition. You will begin to appreciate why this region has long captivated the attention of explorers and travelers alike. Every time we visit Antarctica, we witness something new or unexpected, which means that your expedition will be unlike any other—creating a unique, personal experience. 

Each day, you will take Zodiac excursions from the ship to explore local bays, channels and landing sites. Shooting photographs from a Zodiac rewards with unique perspectives not afforded by land, and you’ll have several opportunities to capture the impressive landscape from angles that show off its striking beauty. 

With wildlife always at the forefront of our minds, you may be able to photograph penguin rookeries and search for a number of southern seal species, including the cunning leopard seal. As we scout for whales, you may be fortunate to snap a shot of a surfacing humpback or minke.

The majesty of the Antarctic Peninsula’s mountains will enchant as you scramble up snowy pathways to vantage points offering you unparalleled 360° views of your surroundings. Talk about a picture postcard! Your camera will get quite the workout capturing the vastness of this pristine landscape. Danco Island, especially, offers us the opportunity to visit a penguin colony high up on a ridge. Here, you’ll have the option to hike to the island’s summit, but photographers will most likely want to spend some time sitting quietly on a pebbled beach, capturing the antics of curious penguins interacting with one another and maybe even you, if you’re lucky (and patient). If you’re feeling extra adventurous, participating in the polar plunge swim is about as crazy as it gets! 

Amid the serene silence of Antarctica, noisy interludes become indelible memories, such as penguins squabbling over prized pebbles, or the boom and crack of a calving glacier in Neko Harbour. 

Each day will be different and will offer more to explore and photograph, having been carefully crafted by your Expedition Team to entertain and educate you about this wonderful part of the world. 

Days 9 and 10 — Crossing the Drake Passage

The journey back across the Drake Passage provides final opportunities to enjoy the crisp Antarctic air. Spend time on the deck, camera close at hand as you watch for seabirds and whales, and pause to take it all in. Enjoy presentations, including tips for perfecting your photos in post-production, or simply relax and reminisce about your experiences. 

Day 11 — Disembarkation in Ushuaia

After breakfast aboard your ship, it’s time to say goodbye to your Expedition Team and fellow travelers. From here, you can continue your adventure in Ushuaia, exploring this city at “the end of the world,” or catch your homeward flights.

Important reminder: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – and excitement – of expedition travel. There are no guarantees that we can achieve everything we set out to accomplish. A measure of flexibility is something all of us must bring to a voyage. There are nearly 200 recognized sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands and the places mentioned above may be changed to others equally as interesting.