I enjoy taking a photojournalism approach - i.e. tell the story of this fantastic experience through pictures. So while I try to be somewhat selective in pressing the shutter button, I'm also not shy about "machine gunning" the camera to capture the moment, but also taking the mundane aspects. Plus if something new came along (especially with wildlife which is unpredictable), I'll squeeze off a few shots to have it "in the bag" and then see if there a better angle, light, perspective, or a better opportunity later on.
What's great about shooting digital is you can take as many
pictures as you want - what's bad is you can take as many pictures
as you want! ;-)
So the editing process ends up being painful, especially for something unique like this experience since there are so many good pictures. While I deleted 90% of the pictures I took, there are still way too many on website - but some people like detail and 20 years from now, it will be my digital scrapbook.
GEAR: I brought two camera bodies - Canon 50D & 40D DSLR's and the primary lens I used were the 10-22mm ultra-wide angle, 18-200mm general purpose, and 55-250mm telephoto - multiply by 1.6x (due to the Canon xxD crop factor) to get the 35mm equivalent. I also had a 50/1.4 (only took a few with it) and a 17-85 as a backup general purpose lens. Toss in a couple of 580EX flashes, flash modifiers, a wireless canon remote control (which ended up being a ton of fun and helped capture some unique shots), Manfrotto 725B tripod, Canon SD800IS point-n-shoot (for the occasional video), one 16 GB and two 8GB memory cards, extra batteries, chargers, voltage converter, lens cleaner, dust blower, and even more assorted other misc. Remember, you are on a ship for almost three weeks and there are no camera stores in Antarctica!
And oh yeah, when I asked Nathab Guide Eric Rock for photo gear suggestions, he replied "Knee Pads" ... and that was a great recommendation as you are kneeling all the time on rocks and penguin poop! Some latex gloves were also useful since when I pulled my hands out of my regular gloves to manipulate the camera, it provided some warmth.
Most of the time we are going ashore in Zodiacs, so I was concerned about the gear getting wet - salt water will ruin electronics. I carried most of the gear in a Lowe Slingshot 200 AW (which can rotate around to the front of me and provides quick access) and another backpack which also had some misc. clothes, water bottle, etc. When not shooting (and in rough weather), I put my lens and camera body in ziplock bags since the backpacks were not waterproof and I wanted at least a chance (!) of saving my gear in case a big wave hit or I fell in - fortunately, that didn't happen. So when taking pictures in the Zodiac, I used a Kata E-702 rain cover and while I normally don't use UV lens filters, I did this time since it provides a bit of extra protection against salt spray ... plus I could just take it off once I got ashore and clean it when I returned to the ship.
I had an Acer 15" laptop and would download my pictures after each Zodiac trip. I initially thought that I could use a memory card to backup my "keepers", but I quickly realized that was not going to work - 10,000 JPEG & RAW images are about 250 GBytes! While I had time to prune (having the laptop was great for the downtime), there were too many "good" images plus too many in general! Fortunately, a fellow passenger had a portable USB drive that I could back my files up on. This is highly recommended, since if your laptop dies on the trip, you would lose all your pictures.
As noted, I shoot both JPEG and RAW ... and then used ACDsee for a quick edit of the JPEG's - deleting any obvious non-keepers. About halfway through the trip, I realized I would not have enough space on my laptop and needed to also delete the non-keeper RAW's, so this was a manual process comparing against the JPEG directory. I have subsequently written a Perl script that is run via a Windows pull-down so do this ... much faster and not prune to mistakes. The data management problem is a major pain-in-the-butt because you have soooo many good pictures. My naming scheme is folders named YYYY_MM_DD and similar for the filenames with Image number appended. The folder would have an "a, b, or c" depending on which Zodiac run/landing we did that day, and the 50D images were kept separate from the 40D ones.
RAW files were processed via ACR and brought into Photoshop. I did some of this on-board, but the overly bright (and blue) laptop LCD screen resulted in middling results with poor color calibration. So I re-processed everything when I got back home and this (and the editing/sorting job) took a ridiculous amount of time ... but it's not every day you go to the Falklands, South Georgia, and Antarctica. Plus you rapidly start forgetting things (fortunately, I had the daily programs and Ship's Log) to if you don't do it right away, it will never be done right. Having an accurate date/time in the cameras was very useful (as it typically is) and I kept 'em on Mountain Time since time zones don't mean that much as you get far South.