Photography and the Arctic

1l7z1196.jpgExpedition Day 60
Position: Not Reported

Our expedition is nearly complete, it’s safe to say that the hardest parts are over and that I will be returning with most of my camera equipment intact. Most of it at least… I can’t imagine being one of the origional arctic explorers traveling with cameras that now would be in a museum, having to deal with the many situations that are hard enough with new improved technologies. It’s hard enough getting the right exposure with digital cameras that allow you to see the photograph imidiately after you’ve taken it, imagine not seeing your film for a year or more after taking the image, wondering the whole time if your camera had some flaw that you wheren’t aware of. The old black and whites that I saw while researching previous expeditions to Ellesmere Island where dark and grainy, hard to comprehend and didn’t give a very clear idea about the hardships that people have to face in the arctic. What photographer really wants to set up a massive camera and change their film to suit the situation in a blizzard. It’s hard enough now to simply change a lens without getting bits of snow inside the camera, bits of snow that mess with the intricate inner workings of the camera. A snowflake can ruin a whole roll of film. That said, it is also a pleasure to be faced with difficulties. The harder the situation, the more likely nobody has ever taken that image before. The benefits of modern technology make quickly responding to a situation so much easier, when the eleven wolves visited us last night, it was easy to pick up the camera and snap off a dozen images even though they disapeared nearly as fast as they apeared. I can’t wait to get all of my photographs downloaded and to see them on a big screen that allows me to see the details, it’s like opening presents!

In my time up here in the arctic, I’m sure I’ve learned a lot. Not just about photography, but about myself and about life. I don’t think I’ll be able to fully grasp what those lessons might be quite yet, but I’m sure they will come to me over time. I’ve found that the simple little comforts are the most exciting up here. For instance I allowed myself two sweet caramels a week, and would look forward to those little treats more than anything. Would they have had the same effect if I had been able to eat as much as I wanted? I doubt it. When we sit around the stove at night and dream about our favorite meals, and what we miss most from home, I find that these things are not really what I care about, I care most about the memories that I get to bring back with me, and the life lessons learned up here that I can draw on for the rest of my life.


Ben Horton, Expedition Photographer



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This dispatch was created and posted using Dispatch 1.0 – an expedition dispatch software developed by The Will Steger Foundation and Global Warming 101 Expeditions.


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