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08-31-2012, 11:57 AM   #1
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Hello from Florida/Antarctica

Greetings all! I came across the forum a few months ago while trying to pick out a camera to take to Antarctica where I work in a rotational capacity as a ship's officer in a research icebreaker. I went with a K-5. I could only afford a couple of lenses before my first trip down, I did most of my shooting with the 18-55 and 55-200 WR'sI also splurged on the Pentax 10-17mm
Here are a couple of samples:




I just got word I am getting sent back down next week and am looking for another lens or two to add. Maybe the 40mm f2.8 and the DA 55-300, I'd love to buy something hugely long but money is an issue with a new baby at home:


08-31-2012, 11:58 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum , and beautiful shots keep them coming
08-31-2012, 12:33 PM   #3
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Welcome to PF! Some great shots, really!

I know you said that you were tight on funds, but assuming you could squeeze the following, this is what I would recommend. Sell the 18-55 and 55-200 WR and pick up the 18-135 WR + 55-300. Yes, it will be a bit more on your end, but you should see the IQ increase from the 18-200 2x lens kit in the 18-135, and from 135-200 as well with the 300, plus 200-300 bonus). Also, I'd pick up a very fast lens that you could use as a "normal" lens, especially in low light conditions (which is common down there). My vote goes to the Sigma 30 f/1.4

So it would look like this:

Sell:

18-55 WR
50-200 WR

Acquire:

18-135 WR
55-300
Sigma 30

Probably looking at $1000 total from your end, maybe a bit cheaper ($850-ish?) if you shop around and get good prices for your two lenses - take a look at the Marketplace here for a great and thriving community.

If you couldn't do that, I'd sell the 50-200 and acquire 55-300 + Sigma 30.

-Heie

P.S. Umm...assuming I could get leave for an extended period from the military (or wait another 18 years for retirement, whichever happens sooner ) do you guys have need for another hand? I will clean all the toilets as pristine as if I were back at the Academy if that's what it takes
08-31-2012, 12:39 PM   #4
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Very cool.

How about some older manual telephotos for long shots in good light? There must be some decent glass available.
The 55-300 is good, and works in the (Chicago winter) cold.

08-31-2012, 03:53 PM   #5
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Thanks for the welcome everyone. Heie, I doubt I could sneak you on as a temp, as there a scads of pesky qualifications one has to have to serve on a merchant ship these days. The deckhands and support staff are employees of Lockheed-Martin (Who just won the Polar contract from Raytheon) And lost of them are vets, so working in Antarctica would be totally doable on retirement.
I just ordered the DA 40mm F2.8 Limited from B&H (they had a used one in 9+ condition) and will likely pick up the 55-300. I'd love the DA* 300 but it just isn't in the cards right now. The biggest problems I had in Antarctica were the 23 hour a day darkness and being able to hold still in the -30F temps. This trip it will be spring and it looks like I may be going back in Jan. (high summer) so I will have at least 2 more chances at getting some good pics.


08-31-2012, 06:24 PM   #6
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Welcome. Beautiful photos.

I would second the 55-300 as a really decent option. Definitely a step up from the 50-200 lens, but pretty far behind the DA *300 or 60-250 options too. Still, you can't do better for the money!
09-01-2012, 03:29 PM   #7
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Since you already have experience the less than ideal lighting, a couple of fast primes might come in handy. The first time I went to the Antarctic I loaded up on KR 25 and 64. Ooops! (It was a long time ago.) A 50mm 1.4 or 1.7 should run under $100 used. I recently picked up a 200 2.5 Super Tak for $10 in a pawnshop. And I have a Sigma 100-300 DL super that cost me less than $75. It's a little slow but good IQ. As your Adelie shows, you can get quite close to subjects. Don't try it with the elephant seals. They're faster than they look. I've often thought that if I got a chance to go back I'd be off like a shot.



QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
P.S. Umm...assuming I could get leave for an extended period from the military (or wait another 18 years for retirement, whichever happens sooner ) do you guys have need for another hand? I will clean all the toilets as pristine as if I were back at the Academy if that's what it takes
Not to divert you from your dusty path, but the Navy operates the aviation squadron VXE-6 out of McMurdo Station. And the Coast Guard operates the icebreakers that support ice ops every year. The Coasties also have a Polar Operations aviation detachment.
09-01-2012, 03:40 PM   #8
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Thanks Gifthorse, I have a 50mm 1.7, and I will be there with a lot more light than I had in May/June, especially if I get a run down in Jan-March. Of course my other issue is that I am there to work (12 hours a day+) rather than take pictures. It was incredibly frustrating to be stuck on the helm breaking ice, with flocks/pods, of penguins, seals, whales cavorting madly in every direction, only to be blotted out by snowstorm or concealed by darkness once I was off watch.
This is about as close as I cam to seeing the sun:


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