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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Aerial Photographs of Davis Station - Antarctica

A Flying Horse in the Squirrel Helicopter
Photograph by Cliff Davis on the ground at the Wharf

Vertical Image of the Davis Station Wharf Near Completion
If you have followed this blog you will know that my primary role in Antarctica is that of Liquid Metal Transfer and Displacement Engineer (Boilermaker), and Materials Shaping and Surface Refinement Engineer -  Fitter/Turner. You may have guessed that I might be more than just a happy snapper photographer as well. Well, you would be right. So it was with a certain amount of pride and chest beating that I was asked to photograph the Davis Station and its works projects from the air. That being from a Squirrel helicopter. Now I've photographed from this helicopter before and I've photographed from many other fixed wing planes including Hercules, Twin Otter, Sea planes to drop just a few names. I've even photographed the Great Ocean Road from a helicopter back in Victoria. But of course all those were through nasty dirty and scratched windows. Although I must admit the Squirrel helicopters down here have very good windows as a whole. Anyway, as you will know its very difficult to get nice sharp undistorted images through all that glass and perspex. On this occasion though my pilot mate said how do you feel about doing the shoot with the door open for obliques and vertical shots. Well, hell yes. So with a full body harness, Mustang Survival Suit, as well as the seat belt, camera gear strapped to the seats, I was afforded a great experience. Possibly one of the only Boilermakers to have ever been paid to aerial photograph Antarctica - be it a very small part.

If your wandering what gear I used and settings, here they are.

Primary Camera: Canon 5D MK11
Lens: Sigma 24 -70mm
F Stop: f 10
WB: Sunny
Exposure Compensation: 0
ISO: 400
Image Storage: RAW only. Converted to Jpeg for emails and the like.
Shutter Speed: As fast as I could get it! Actually it wasn't that high as we hovered for most of the shots. Around 1/640 - 1/800. Would have liked quicker, but that would have ment reducing my f stop or increasing my ISO to unacceptable levels. I felt my ISO was a bit high but acceptable.
Other Comments: The shoot was for work projects. It was to record progress and to update survey records of the Station. Therefore, artistic composition was not a priority. As a whole I had fun and I think I delivered what was needed. There was 179 images taken in around 20 minutes flight time.The Station is spread out over a large area so oblique shots where the only way to get the whole station without going to panoramic shooting. Some of the images have been cropped down to remove unwanted landscapes. Having 21mega pixels at ones disposal allows to be fairly savage with the cropping without too much loss of image quality in this case.
If your wandering where the hell Davis Station is, go to my blog Davis, where the hell is that.
For more information on the Wharf project go to Building a Wharf in Antarctica

For images that are for sale in print,canvas, framed print and acrylic go to my online store

The Davis Station Wharf Project that I Have Been Working
On This Summer

Davis Station

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