Join us on the adventure of a lifetime to the faraway reaches of the pristine Antarctic. This 11-day landscape and nature photography expedition will have you immersed in all of the beauty that this untouched region has to offer. From tall icebergs sculpted by nature to resemble buildings, to cute penguins and other wildlife going about their everyday life, you'll experience it all!
What's more, you'll sail the seas onboard a spectacular cruise ship, decked out in a luxurious manner to ensure all of the creature comforts during your trip away from home. With gorgeous summer light, the wonders of the Antarctic and surreal landscapes ahead, you'll find yourself taking your photography skills to new heights as you embrace nature at its best.
Total price: 16900 USD
13 – 23 January 2021
Guided by Daniel Kordan, Raymond Hoffman and Kah-Wai Lin
Overview of the Tour
This incredible Antarctica Photography Expedition is the culmination of a partnership between Iceland Photo Tours and Aurora Expeditions. Together, we've created an itinerary that will guarantee you the journey of a lifetime.
During this photography workshop, we'll sail aboard the Greg Mortimer – a polar class 6 vessel that will ensure a smooth ride even on the choppiest of seas. The unique FLY/SAIL nature of this expedition means that you'll fly from Punta Arenas in South America to King George Island. There will only be one crossing of the famed Drake Passage on your return from Antarctica to Ushuaia, resulting in more time spent exploring the Antarctic regions and less time travelling to and fro.
This tour is guided by 4 professional, award-winning photographers. Throughout this expedition, they will provide you with in-field tuition as well as a series of post-processing masterclasses and seminars on the finer points of photography, which will ensure a rounded educational landscape and nature photography experience. We welcome photographers of all abilities, from beginners to amateurs, hobbyists and professional photographers alike.
For the duration of this tour, we will have 15 Zodiacs at our disposal which we will use to make shore landings to explore Antarctica more intimately. In addition, we'll have 44 places reserved aboard the ship out of a total of 100. When we are not out shooting in-field, we'll have access to a specialised art room on Deck 7 which we will use as a workspace. Within the art room, you will find 3 terminals and a printer, which are perfect for editing and printing your photos.
About the Greg Mortimer
This incredible 104-meter vessel has been designed specifically for Antarctic expeditions, out of material that can withstand the tumultuous ocean waves and winds that the Drake Passage is known for. The Greg Mortimer has been built to extraordinary standards, making it a world-class ship to ensure luxuriously comfortable travel in even the worst weather conditions.
Video about the Greg Mortimer
Day 1: 13 January 2021 - Arrive Punta Arenas
You'll arrive at the tip of Chile's southernmost Patagonia region, in the sprawling city of Punta Arenas. If you have chosen to take one of flights on our preferred list, then a representative from Aurora Expeditions will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
Located on the Strait of Magellan, the windswept port of Punta Arenas is your gateway to Antarctica and an exciting expedition ahead. Once you've arrived, you'll be able to explore the city at your leisure. In the evening, we will meet as a group in the hotel, during which your photo guides will provide a brief about the workshop. You'll then have the opportunity to ask any questions that you may have.
Day 2: Fly Punta Arenas to King George Island
This is when the adventure well and truly begins! We'll get up early for a morning flight from Punta Arenas to King George Island, the largest of the South Shetland Islands on the coast of Antarctica. The flight should take approximately 90 minutes if conditions are favourable, however, due to the dynamic nature of the weather at King George Island, there may be delays with either taking off or landing. If delays do occur, then Iceland Photo Tours will work closely with Aurora Expeditions to offer programs for you to participate in until we are able to fly. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience.
You'll catch your first glimpse of the wild and dramatic Antarctic landscape upon arrival to King George Island, where you'll be met by our Aurora Expeditions team. From there, we'll embark the Greg Mortimer by Zodiac, after which there will be some time to settle in to your cabin and to explore the ship. Once the ship sets sail, we'll meet together for a series of safety demonstrations and briefings, which will prepare us for the cruise ahead.
Days 3-8: Antarctic Peninsula
Over the next six days, we'll sail around the Antarctic Peninsula, discovering majestic icebergs and impressive wildlife in one of the most scenic places on Earth. Due to the unique weather conditions in this part of the world, your photography guides will work together with the Aurora Expedition team and the ship's captain to plan the itinerary as you go.
During this spectacular voyage, you'll be immersed in the midst of Antarctica's summer season, resulting in almost 20 hours of daylight within each 24 hour period. This is the perfect opportunity for photographers to maximise the amount of time spent shooting every day. We'll make landfall two to three times by Zodiac on a daily basis to take advantage of the light and prevailing conditions. If all turns out well, there may even be the chance to camp on shore, though spots are limited so those who are interested will need to make bookings for this excursion ahead of time.
There is much to explore in Antarctica, as well as to photograph. Some of the locations that we will cover during this expedition include:
This wide bay is one of the most beautiful and pristine places in Antarctica. Surrounded by rugged mountains and glistening glaciers reflecting in the tranquil waters, this dreamy haven in the Southern Ocean is one of the best locations for cruising by Zodiac, as we keep our eyes open for seals, penguins and other wildlife.
Situated within the Gerlache Strait is a tiny island known as Hydrurga Rocks, where you'll find hundreds of Chinstrap penguins nesting upon the shoreline. Several other species of penguin also call these rocks home, as well as seals and a variety of marine bird life.
Half Moon Island
This crescent-shaped island, resembling a half moon, is one of the most important breeding grounds for marine bird life. You'll have endless opportunities to photograph Antarctic terns, Chinstrap penguins, Gentoo penguins, skuas, Kelp gulls, Wilson's storm petrels and more. Dominated by beaches, small hills, rocky outcrops and sloped cliffs, it's a bird watcher's delight.
Nicknamed 'Kodak Gap', the Lemaire Channel is one of the most photogenic locations in Antarctica, famous for the gigantic icebergs that drift breathtakingly through its 11km stretch of water. Running between spectacular scenery of majestic mountains, the calm and reflective surface of the water makes for stunning landscape photography compositions. At some points, we may even be able to sail so close to the icebergs that you'll be able to reach out and touch their icy surfaces!
Once used as a base for the British military during World War II, Port Lockroy is now Antarctica's single most visited site, where explorers, scientists and sailors stop by on their way through to the end of the world. This natural harbour is incredibly scenic and is home to a museum and gift shop, as well as the world's most southerly post office. It's the perfect place to send postcards back home!
Situated on Andvord Bay, the Neko Harbour is a small but gorgeous inlet that makes for a fantastic Zodiac landing. Photographic opportunities for wildlife abound, with Gentoo penguins, kelp gulls and skuas all nesting upon its rocky shores. You may even be lucky enough to spot whales and leopard seals frolicking about on a background of astonishing glaciers, mountains and pack ice!
There is much to photograph at this small but rocky point in the South Shetland Islands, including southern elephant seals, penguins and a variety of marine birds. We'll make a shore landing by Zodiac followed by a small walk uphill, which will lead us into the midst of the spectacular wildlife lounging about on the rocks.
Other highlights that we may visit on this tour include:
Vernadsky; a Ukrainian scientific base
Days 9-10: Drake Passage crossing
Over the next two days, we'll make the very exciting voyage to Ushuaia across the much-lauded Drake Passage – an historic waterway that lies between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. This body of water is infamously rough and has even been compared by some to entering a washing machine!
Despite the tumultuous nature of our journey, we'll stay focused and undertake a variety of post-processing masterclasses and photography lectures, which will no doubt distract from any sea sickness. Our Aurora Expeditions crew will also provide a series of educational sessions, designed to further your knowledge about Antarctica and the surrounds.
If all goes well, we'll expect to reach Ushuaia – the southernmost tip of South America – by day ten. If the sea and weather conditions are favourable, then our Captain may steer us close to the maritime legend of Cape Horn, a remote headland that was once an important passageway for international trade. Sailing around these extraordinary cliffs will be the perfect way to round out our Antarctica photography expedition.
Day 11: 23 January 2021- Disembark Ushuaia
We expect to reach the spectacular strait of the Beagle Channel, surrounded by mountains and glaciers, on the morning of day eleven. Thereafter, we'll dock at Ushuaia and disembark from the Greg Mortimer at around 8am.
There will be a final chance to say farewell to your newfound friends, before you are transferred to your selected hotel within the city centre or to the airport for your flight home or onwards to your next destination.
Please note that the transfer is included in the price of this package, though we recommend that you book your departure flight from Ushuaia for either 12pm on the day of disembarkation or on the next day. This will allow you time to spare, should there be any delays.
Features of the Greg Mortimer Cruise Ship
This custom-designed ship is at the forefront of maritime and nautical advancements. Modern fittings combined with powerful technology ensures a safe and comfortable experience as you travel to the far reaches of Antarctica.
An inverted bow, known as patented marine engineering X-BOW™ technology, ensures smooth and ergonomic sailing out in the open ocean.
Hydraulic viewing platforms
A number of hydraulic viewing platforms provides guests with sweeping views all around. You'll be able to watch the wildlife and gaze at the passing landscape without disturbing the environment, all from the comfort of the cruise ship.
Zodiac launching platform
Specially designed platforms aboard the Greg Mortimer allow for 15 Zodiacs to depart from the vessel, meaning that you'll be able to explore your surroundings quickly without any wasted time. Whether you're keen to photograph penguins or to get to hard to reach places, you'll find endless beauty in the Antarctic to capture with each unique Zodiac landing.
Custom-built activity platform
You'll have the option to participate in a number of activities, all departing from the Greg Mortimer's custom-built activity platform. There is so much on offer, from kayaking to diving and ski-touring, so don't be afraid to get in touch with the expert activity guides onboard, who will be able to help you customise your own adventure.
We believe in conservation and protecting the environment, so it's only natural that the Greg Mortimer reflects these values. This world-class polar vessel features low energy consumption, high fuel efficiency, reduced emissions, low on-board plastic use and minimised light pollution. All of this is designed to lower the impact of our travels upon wildlife and to contribute towards managing our effect upon the environment. In addition, the Greg Mortimer is able to float anchorless during each Zodiac launch, helping to reduce disturbance upon the sea floor.
Your safety aboard the Greg Mortimer is our number one priority. That's why the ship features specialist return-to-port equipment, meaning that operating systems will remain online even in the event of engine failure. In addition, the vessel is Polar Code 6 compliant, meets BV class and has the latest SOLAS requirements. There is even a trained medical team onboard, located in a fully-equipped medical centre, that is ready to respond in the event of any incident or emergency.
The Antarctic Fly/Sail Experience
The fly and sail experience to and from Antarctica is designed to allow you to maximise your time spent photographing the landscape. With only one sailing through the Drake Passage, as well as a flight between Punta Arenas and King George Island, you'll have more time to practice your landscape photography skills and spend less time travelling overall.
Your Expedition Jacket
Upon boarding the ship, you'll receive an expedition jacket from our partners, Aurora Expeditions. This fantastic 2-in-1 jacket will keep you warm and dry during your Zodiac excursions, whilst maintaining style and form. It's a perfect addition to your gear and great for wearing over base layers.
Your Exclusive Photo Book
Every participant in this workshop will receive a complimentary photo book from Aurora Expeditions. This wonderful souvenir will document everywhere you've been, include sailing coordinates, and even feature photographs taken during your expedition. It's the perfect way to remember your amazing adventure to Antarctica.
Ship And Cabin Information
Everything aboard the Greg Mortimer has been designed with your comfort in mind. From staterooms with private bathrooms to personal storage, everything has been thought of so that you can direct your focus towards having an incredibly relaxing and exciting journey. Each room features twin and double-bed configuration options as well as international power sockets, daily cabin service, and all of the basic amenities to keep you pampered aboard.
The Greg Mortimer features a total of 58 Balcony Staterooms, all with en-suite bathrooms and private balconies. Floor to ceiling windows offer vast views of the ocean and your surrounds, while a number of connected Balcony Staterooms provide the perfect accommodation for families or small groups.
Onboard observation points
Onboard the Greg Mortimer, you'll find a number of dedicated observation points which are perfect for spotting wildlife. There is even an indoor 180-degree lounge and outdoor 360-degree open deck, maximising your bird spotting opportunities! Two hydraulic viewing platforms and a 270-degree open sundeck offer even more space for taking in the scenery as it drifts past. In addition, an open-bridge policy aboard the vessel means that you can head up to the bridge at any time to chat with the captain and the officers, or even just to catch a glimpse of the ins-and-outs of how the ship works.
Our itinerary allows for 2-3 Zodiac landings on a daily basis, weather and conditions permitting. On each landing, you'll be able to explore everything on shore, from historic huts to penguin colonies and more. While away your time by photographing spectacular rock formations or snapping telephoto shots of the seabirds as they fly past... the opportunities with each shore excursion are endless! The Zodiac launching platforms are all located at sea level, ensuring faster and safer transfers to shore.
With so much packed into your itinerary, you'll be pressed to find some free time! However, if you do find yourself in need of an activity to keep you occupied, then there is the option of participating in kayaking, skiing, diving and climbing. Whatever your desire, the ship's activity experts will be on-hand to help you customise your experience.
Don't even think about starving during this incredible Antarctic expedition! You'll receive complimentary coffee, tea and snack facilities from the moment that you step aboard. A wide range of menu options will satisfy any hunger, with all meals being served in a large dining room. There's no need to go thirsty either, as house wines, beers and soft drinks are included with every dinner service. During the final day of your adventure, a special four-course farewell dinner will be served with cocktails, making for an exciting time to share and reflect upon your journey with your peers and expedition team.
There is no time for boredom on this workshop. You'll participate in a number of presentations throughout the day, all held within the spacious lecture room. There is so much to take in, from history to culture, biology and climate change. The onboard multimedia room provides photographers with a place to edit and review photos, while two bars and lounges are the perfect place to mingle. If you're keen to learn more, then we recommend exploring the ship's library, where you'll be able to learn at your own pace. Meanwhile, a Wellness Centre with gym equipment, sauna and spa makes for a luxurious end to each and every day!
Arrival transfer from airport to hotel on Day 1 (preferred flights only)
One night’s hotel accommodation with breakfast in Punta Arenas on Day 1
Transfer from hotel to airport in Punta Arenas on Day 2
Flight from Punta Arenas to King George Island on Day 2
Transfer to downtown Ushuaia or airport on Day 11
On-board accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service
All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage
Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner
Captain’s Welcome and Farewell reception including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages
All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises
Educational lectures and guiding services from expedition team
Access to our onboard doctor and basic medical services
A 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket
Complimentary use of Muck boots during the voyage
Comprehensive pre-departure information
A printed photo book produced with photos from your voyage
Port surcharges, permits and landing fees
International or domestic flights to or within South America, unless specified
Transfers not mentioned in the itinerary
Airport arrival or departure taxes
Passport, visa, reciprocity and vaccination charges
Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges
Hotels and meals not included in itinerary
Optional excursions not included in the itinerary
Optional activity surcharges
All items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, gratuities, Wi-Fi, email or phone charges.
Cancellation and Refund Policy
We strongly recommend you to get a Trip Cancellation & Travel Insurance after booking your trip. If you cancel the tour and we can resell your spot, we will refund you the full amount you have paid towards the tuition, minus a $300 service charge. If you cancel and we can not resell your spot, then you will be refunded according to the following schedule, based on the full fee of the Workshop:
Greater than 180 days from the start date of the Expedition: Full refund minus $2500.
120 days or more: 50% refund
Less than 120 days: no refund
Refunds will be paid by the same method that the original payment was made.
A deposit of 5000 USD is due upon registration and will secure your spot on this photography expedition. Second payment of 5000 USD is due by April 1, 2020. Final balance will be due by August 13, 2020.