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Polar Mail

November 30, 2007

We've heard a lot about the logistics behind making trips beyond McMurdo, but it would also be interesting to know the difficulties involved in being the media team-e.g., special photography gear for subzero temperatures, fingerless gloves for keyboard typing :) What sorts of special gear does your media team use to bring these stories to life to those of us chained to a desk?

Thanks for your answers!

Charles Eldermire
Brooktondale, NY USA

Hi Charles,
As far as media teams go, Hugh and I travel light. I am carrying three digital camera bodies, an assortment of lenses, and a carbon-fiber tripod. We also have some portable sound recording equipment (for our Polar Sounds) and a compact high-definition video camera. For photo editing and storage, we have two laptops and about 800 gigabytes of external hard drives. All of this equipment, plus our cold weather clothing, was (barely) under the 75 pounds per person weight allowance for the flight to McMurdo. Regarding the cold weather, I rely on my Nikon D2Xs to keep shooting under the most adverse conditions. The huge lithium battery cell can get me roughly 800-1000 shots in temperatures well below freezing. When we get to the remote field camps, we will be using a solar charging system specially designed here at McMurdo to keep our pixels moving along. Last but not least, to transmit these images from the field we will be using an inexpensive, lightweight satellite phone/modem system. Although it's very slow (about a tenth the speed of dial-up, for those who remember that), it is the only system that boasts global coverage. Thanks for your question and hope you're enjoying the adventure!
Chris Linder