6 Ways You Can Take Better Images in Antarctica
With Expedition Photographer Yuki Davidoff
Originally from Houston, Texas, Antarctica21 Expedition Photographer Yuki Davidoff has been in love with capturing memories since she acquired her first point-and-shoot Canon camera when she turned 16. After graduating college, she took her Sony a6000 on the road, photographing incredible destinations like New Zealand, Guatemala, and Japan. After building a life as a professional guide in stunning destinations from Alaska to Yellowstone National Park, Yuki took the leap in taking her talents to Antarctica during her first year as an Expedition Photographer for Antarctica21.
Not only was she enticed to go to Antarctica to capture the continent’s brilliant glaciers and snow-capped peaks, but she was also excited to photograph the wildlife—especially the penguins.
“It was incredible to see the wildlife and their behavior in front of my eyes,” says Yuki. “To see how the penguins and whales interacted, to be able to document them day after day as if it were something routine was one of the coolest experiences of my life.”
As an expedition photographer, Yuki took pictures every single day. “You get even better at a skill you practice over and over again,” says Yuki. “When I compare my photos from my first voyage to the last, there is a significant increase in the quality of the photos I produced, and I love to teach our guests how to do the same.” This, says Yuki, was one of the most rewarding aspects of being an expedition photographer.
From photographing Gentoo penguins on a lone iceberg in the Lemaire Channel to stomping out a trail for Antarctica21 guests to be within a safe distance to photograph a Weddell seal near Palaver Point, Yuki finds it hard to narrow down her most memorable photography moments as an Antarctica21 expedition photographer. But, above all, she enjoyed teaching others how to capture the best photos to have as memories of their big adventure.
Here, Yuki shares her top six tips for novices and professional photographers alike to make the most out of their photography pursuits while visiting the Last Continent.
1. Bring the Gear You Will Use
“When you’re in an exciting moment, you’re going to reach for the thing you know how to use,” says Yuki. “If you’re more familiar with your smartphone, use that. If you’re more familiar with a DSLR camera, use that.” Whatever you decide, Yuki suggests going with the device you know best as not to add any stress or anxiety to your experience.
“While Antarctica is a great place to advance your photography skills, the last thing you want to be doing is figuring out how to turn on your new camera when a whale is breaching in front of the ship.”
2. Get the Proper Gloves
“Having the proper gloves allows you to operate your gear of choice fully,” says Yuki. “If you’re photographing with a smartphone, get gloves that can allow you to use them.” Yuki uses gloves by The Heat Company: “They actually work with the touch screen!”
3. Use Hand Warmers
“Without hand warmers, it wouldn’t have been possible for me to take pictures in Antarctica,” says Yuki. “I put one on the front of my hand and one on the back on the colder days. It helps me be able to feel my fingers and use them.” Without them, Yuki says her fingers would be too cold to operate a camera: “They would feel like icicles!”
4. Pack Lots of Memory Cards
“You don’t want to use valuable time to delete photos so you can take more pictures,” says Yuki “Bring extra memory cards. This will help you save time and be more present.” If you’re using a smartphone to capture your expedition, Yuki suggests making sure you have enough memory on the device before you go on your trip.
5. Attach Your Gear to Your Body
“If you drop something in Antarctica, especially on a Zodiac, it’s gone forever,” says Yuki. “I suggest attaching your gear to you so you don’t lose it—and your special memories.”
6. Always Have Your Camera With You
“I always have my camera with me, attached to my body,” says Yuki. “If at any moment something happens, I want to make sure I’m ready to go.”
Yuki suggests not having your camera buried in your backpack. “So much about photography is timing, so always have your camera ready to shoot,” says Yuki. “This way, you’ll be ready to capture all the amazing moments as they happen.”