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Tips & Tricks for Amazing Polar Photography with Your Smartphone

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Over the last few years, built-in cameras have become standard in smartphones, and those built-in cameras have been getting better and better. Today, many smartphone cameras offer high definition, spot metering, adjustable exposure and endless photo editing apps which rival most point-and-shoot cameras on the market. When you’re planning an expedition into polar landscapes, that may mean a separate point-and-shoot camera is one less piece of equipment you need to pack. Or, as many of our passengers do, you might find that your smartphone camera is simply more convenient to carry and use when you're hiking, kayaking or on the go. Here are a few tricks for keeping your phone safe while taking awesome photos on your Arctic or Antarctic adventure.

Smartphones, iPhones & Cases for Polar Snaps

The iPhone 5S is arguably the most popular HD camera smartphone on the market today. Its camera can toggle back and forth between regular and HD, and you can adjust both focus and exposure by tapping the screen. The HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom and Nokia Lumina 1020 are top contenders with the iPhone, as well as the Sony Xperia Z2, which stands alone as the first waterproof smartphone with a camera that holds its own. For the other smartphones and iPhones, there are plenty of cases which offer the protection you need on an Arctic or Antarctic expedition. Just like digital cameras must be cared for and protected, your smartphone will likely be pummeled with salt spray, rain, dust and even potentially dropped in the water. For polar photography, a phone case that’s waterproof and shock absorbent is a must. If you plan to use your smartphone as your main camera, an extra battery pack is also a very good idea. Simple waterproof phone sleeves, like this one sold at Quark’s online gear shop, offer affordable protection and a universal fit, although they may hinder performance somewhat while in the middle of a shoot. For really gritty and underwater photography, cases like this one, by Hitcase Pro, offer not only protection from the elements but a wide angle lens and waterproofing for up to 30 feet deep. Lifeproof has similarly rugged cases for Galaxy phones. Some rugged iPhone cases also have built in battery boosters which can double battery life.

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Polar Photography: Protecting Your Equipment in Extreme Conditions

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The icy landscapes and exotic wildlife found in polar expeditions simply beg to be photographed. Many of Quark’s passengers have flexed their photography skills in the polar landscape, capturing sweeping icebergs, intimate wildlife views and even underwater marine life.

The extreme cold, snow, briny ocean water and condensation polar photographers face can seriously damage equipment if photographers aren’t careful. With the right knowledge, preparation and a few extra accessories, however, polar photographers can easily protect their equipment and create the conditions they need to capture once in a lifetime memories.

Protecting Your Camera

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Pro Tips for Amazing Antarctic Photography: Q&A with Dave Merron

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Planning for your Antarctic adventure? Be sure to pack your camera to capture the amazing wildlife and vistas found only on the seventh continent. Depending on when you visit and how far south you travel, you may expect to see several different penguin species, possibly including their colonies and chicks. Antarctica is also home to a number of different kinds of whales, fur seals, sea lions and a dazzling variety of seabirds. Of course, you can count on seeing the stunning Antarctic Peninsula itself!

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What Photography Gear you should bring to Antarctica?

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By Dave Bouskill , photographer and the male half of the travel couple The Planet D.

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