Antarctica remains a mystery to most people. Only 30,000 people visit each year, and now New York- and Los Angeles-based photographer Sally Montana can count herself among the lucky few. She was sent there, as well as Buenos Aires, Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and the South Sandwich Islands for “Die Schweizer Familie,” one of the largest Swiss lifestyle magazines, and captured some truly stunning images.
While Sally loves doing landscape photography, she is known for her portraiture work, so getting an opportunity to travel and indulge in her second passion was something she jumped at. The trip didn’t come without its difficulties, however.
The biggest challenge in preparation was that, should any of my equipment fail or get lost, I could not get a replacement. There is no express shipping to Antarctica. Temperatures reach about 14 degrees Fahrenheit plus wind chill of 50 mph winds. Add salt water surroundings to that and you really have to protect your gear. Salt water inside a lens or even on the digital back can ruin a lot. I mostly worked with dry bags during transport, even inside my photo backpack. During heavy snowfall a towel would do to cover the lens. The camera has to be cleaned every night.
Because she was traveling to such a remote location, there was a lot of prep work to be done before heading off. Sally researched how her cameras, batteries, and other equipment would react to the cold, as well as looking into how she would keep herself warm and what kind of clothing she would need.
The freezing temperates clearly paid off, however, as the images are absolutely beautiful, and the reaction to them has been overwhelming positive. Sally says “most people are stunned and curious about my experience,” and feels very fortunate to have been able capture a place that few people will ever see with their own eyes.
While there are no immediate plans to return, Sally says “I would go back in a skinny minute, should I get the chance.” For her, the trip was a reaffirming experience.
It confirmed what I already knew, that I love the challenge of traveling to remote places and coming back with satisfying results