7 tips for photographing Antarctica

Visiting Antarctica is definitely a once in a lifetime-type of trip, so you won't want to leave this icy wonderland without a few photographs.

From mighty glaciers and icy ocean to the vast array of wildlife including penguins, whales, kelp gulls and Antarctic terns, there are certainly a lot of things to admire on your excursion through Antarctica. This is definitely a once in a lifetime-type of trip, so you won't want to leave this icy wonderland without a few photographs. Taking pictures in Antarctica, however, is a bit different than snapping images at home. To ensure that you capture this breathtaking destination at its best, keep these photography tips in mind:

1. Be sure to protect your gear

First things first: Take the appropriate step to protect your camera gear. After all, you won't be able to take pictures if your camera is damaged. You'll be on a cruise, which means your equipment will be susceptible to the wind, water and very low temperatures. It's recommended that you use a dry or waterproof bag to keep your camera gear in good shape. When your camera is in use, you can protect it by placing it in a large resealable plastic bag. Simply cut a hole where the lens is so you can properly take photos.

2. Be prepared

When you spot a colony of penguins, you don't want to be left with a camera containing dead batteries. Always bring extra batteries and a charger so you have a backup plan. Make sure to keep the batteries close to you, as the cold temperatures can cause them to lose their charge. Your body warmth is enough to keep them in good shape.  It's also a good idea to carry a lens cleaner so that if debris or water droplets get on your camera, they can be wiped off and won't interfere with your shot.

3. Leave the tripod at home

Many photographers rely on a tripod to help them achieve clear, crystal clear photographs. But when you're on a small boat, you're not going to want to lug around or maneuver a tripod.  If you feel you really need one in order to take pictures, you can bring along a monopod, which is a lighter and more versatile option.

4. Have a zoom lens

A zoom lens is crucial for capturing up close and personal photos of the Antarctic wildlife. After all, you won't be able to get too physically close to these animals. The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators has set certain regulations that require you to be at least 20 feet away from penguins and 50 feet away from seals.

When you do photograph wildlife, try to get them doing something different each time. Instead of just zooming in on the face of a penguin, capture one interacting with a fellow penguin. Seals are a bit different - they aren't as active as penguins, but you can still get some great shots of them turning their heads or yawning.

5. Put icebergs in perspective

When you photograph an iceberg up close, you won't really be able to tell how big the iceberg is or where it is in comparison to the rest of the environment. Therefore, it's important to zoom out a bit - capture the mountains or other ice in the background to truly express through your photos how magnificent these glaciers are. Keep in mind you can always crop out extra photo space later, if you want.

6. Use a polarizing filter

The bright arctic sun can sometimes overexpose your photos, which is why using a polarizing filter is crucial. This tool helps tone down the overwhelming nature of the brightness and even brings out the blue color of the icebergs and glaciers.

7. Change your perspective

Instead of taking pictures of animals towering over them, get low to the ground to give your pictures a varied perspective. Experiment with different angles and points of view no matter what the focal point of your shot is.