My new hobby, Astrophotography at -70 degrees Celsius.

I have always looked up in awe at the night sky. In my spare time, after my research and station duties have been put to bed, I often venture outside to take a breath of fresh air and peer into the universe.

Since my memory has become increasingly unreliable in the months of isolation and darkness, I have taken to photographing my surroundings to document and remember them.

Last night, I went out onto the roof of the base and closed the hatch behind me.

After a few minutes, your eyes become accustomed to the dark and as if you are wiping your frozen googles clean of frost, a whole world opens up above you.

Rather ‘extreme’ class room

Fiddling with the Aperture, ISO and Exposure time controls is difficult even at the best of times.  Down here, in the dark and in extreme cold, means when you take your outer set of insulating gloves off, you only have a set amount of time to fiddle, before you start to loose your fingers.  You have to be quick to get the right settings and right shot.  Its quite a dangerous learning environment for a beginner, but it means you don’t fall asleep or not pay attention.

Pushing the limits

I am always trying to push technology to the limits – only that way can you try to disprove the quality of what is available today and in doing so, prove the need and inspire creation to push technology into the future.

I am continually flabbergasted by the continuing operation of my camera and lens in -70 C and below. Its an expensive piece of kit to ‘test’ in such extreme conditions, for the sake of curiosity. But so far, its beaten the challenge and continues to make my day.

Enjoy the results attached. This is my new hobby – i’ll continue to fiddle in the dark until I get even better shots or I don’t have any more fingers left to fiddle.

Astrophotography by Alex Kumar

Astrophotography by Alex Kumar

People spend too much time looking straight ahead.  Take a moment, tonight perhaps, to look up.  There is a whole world up there, waiting to be discovered.

Of course, Carrots would help, except we ran out of ‘fresh’ food a while ago and the ones we have don’t look very appetising.

Currency of Fingers 

If Antarctica had its own currency, it wouldn’t be US Dollars ($) or British Pounds (£), it would be ‘fingers and toes’. I have not yet worked out the exchange rate. But I don’t think its very good

Song of the day is Night Swimming by REM. A great track to sit and stare into the universe to, whilst waiting for your 1 minute exposure to tick away in -70 Celsius.

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