A glacier hike may be one of the most amazing things you’ll ever do, a once in a lifetime experience. So you'll want to capture the moment with the sort of photos that will do justice to such an unforgettable experience. There is nothing more heartbreaking than coming away without capturing incredible photos of an incredible experience.
Whether you are using a camera phone or have a more professional set up, there are a few important things to remember when photographing in this tricky environment. Here are the Top 10 tips to capturing top quality photographs on the ice.
(And yes, you can take your camera on a glacier hike, just make sure you have a way to safely secure it to your body such as with a strap.)
1. Charge up your battery
The number one issue we see on the ice is battery failure. Ensure you have plenty of power, including backup batteries. Remember cold temperatures will sap battery power faster than normal conditions so try and keep your batteries in a warm pocket when not in use.
Top tip: warming a dead battery may be enough to squeeze out another couples of shots.
2. Card space
Just like batteries, you can’t take photos if you don’t have enough room to store them on the memory card. It’s recommended to use one large capacity card over several small capacity cards, this reduces the chance of dropping a card when changing them over.
3. Secure your camera
Unfortunately cameras can, and will, fall into small crevasses or holes on the ice. Use your strap whenever possible, especially when handing your camera to someone else. If you do happen to drop your camera let your guide know. Even if the camera is damaged, it can normally be retrieved and on most occasions the memory cards still work so images can be recovered.
4. Use flash
Don’t be afraid to use forced flash in bright sunlight when taking photos of people. Most cameras will get confused in bright sunlight so using the flash will help bring out the details of a person’s face. Top tip: Make sure the subject is 3-4 metres away for best results.
5. Hand over your camera
Don’t go home without a picture of yourself on the ice. If you want photos of yourself in caves or tight crevasses you could try the dreaded “selfie” but you will have better results by handing you camera to someone else.
6. Take heaps
It doesn’t cost anything to shoot digital, so shoot heaps. You can always delete the rubbish shots later. Ask your guide about which will be the best sections you’ll be visiting on your hike and concentrate on shooting lots there.
7. Watch for drips
Some parts of the glacier hike will involve walking under dripping glacial melt. These small drops won’t ruin your camera but if the water lands on your lens it will ruin the images you take. Top tip: The easiest way to avoid getting your lens wet is to walk around with the lens facing down.
8. Stop and shoot
Watch where you’re walking! It’s very easy to trip when you are not watching what you are doing. So stop before you shoot.
9. Back up images
This applies to any photographs you take. There is nothing more heart breaking than losing photos of a special experience. Make sure you backup your images everyday. If you are travelling, there are plenty of ways to do this online.
10. Enjoy the ice
Photos aren’t everything. Make sure you experience the glacier for what it is. This is best done with your own eyes rather than a camera lens.
If you have an amazing photo of your glacier hike experience, why not share? Post it on Instagram using #franzjosefglacier or on the Franz Josef Glacier Facebook page.