This week at Macquarie Island: 26 October 2018
Photographic hints, a birthday celebration and a light-hearted look at our SPOT locators
More Macca photographic hints
To continue the photography theme (Macca Icy News, 12 October), I thought I’d talk about gear for taking photos down Island. Between the photography enthusiasts here, we probably have enough gear to buy a small car, if not put a deposit on a house if we added up how much we’ve spent. However, it's a bit much to carry it all around in a pack for 30 km to Hurd Point. It may not make it back.
I’m a pretty lazy hiker so I’ve an Olympus mirrorless four thirds camera that gives me the features of a DSLR without the weight. I find it’s a good compromise, and I’m not carrying a 1.9 kg 600m telephoto lens without the aid of a car, quad bike, or Sherpa.
I have a wide angle 12-40 mm and a 100-300 mm zoom lens that I take as my standard gear in their neoprene cases. I then add a 7.5 mm fisheye, 8-18 mm, or a 60 mm macro. The wide angle is a fast f 2.8 lens, which is handy for night photography and auroras. The zoom range on each lens allows for some flexibility, as trying to change lenses all the time in Macca’s variable weather can be risky. Too often, there is rain, fog, sea spray or blowing sand!
Speaking of the weather, my camera gear is environmentally (weather) sealed, a definite Macca must. A spare battery, small gorilla tripod, SD cards, dry bag, a lens cleaning cloth, and my kit is complete. It weighs in at 2.5 kg.
If this is too heavy, there is always the option of the handy waterproof tough camera. At under 500g it won’t break your back, or the bank, and as our SAR Lord says, a photo on any camera is always better than the picture you get with no camera…(although I have seen some amazing sketch artists…)
Another popular option is the smartphone, which I usually have in my pocket around station (in a waterproof case), but I’m also a clumsy hiker so it stays safely on my desk while I’m out in the field.
Senior Met Observer
When you need help, or just need to let your family and friends know your location and that you're OK, let SPOT do it for you. SPOT is a personal tracking and communication device that uses a satellite network to let you send messages, and is able to be tracked using web-based software. With the touch of a button, you can give the all-clear or raise the alarm.
It makes a good tool for our Station Leader on a slow day to have a look at where everyone is on the island and what they're up to, with comments like “I saw that you have just passed Four Ways” or “You were late getting in this evening”. SPOT just loves to travel. You can never get lonely here on Macquarie Island as SPOT is always looking after you. Big Brother is always watching!
This week we also helped Angus celebrate his birthday.
After spending several days walking around the island, he returned to station with an appetite, but still shared his massive exotic fruit-topped birthday pav with the rest of us.
Angus is usually the one singing Happy Birthday to everybody else - it was only fitting that he played and sang at his own party!