A Photographer's Antarctica

View Full SlideshowView Full Slideshow

Ask A Question
Download Trip Details
Get Our eNewsletter

$1,000 Off - Early Booking Discount!

Save $1,000 when you book your trip by July 6, 2020. By booking early, you'll also have better cabin selection and ensure a spot on this extended photo exploration of Antarctica. 

No matter how well you prepare yourself for a Southern Ocean voyage, Antarctica will surprise, astound and surpass your expectations! When you travel on our 2022 A Photographer's Antarctica photo tour it will seem as though it was extracted directly from an epic nature documentary or the pages of the journals of the great naturalists and explorers.
"If you want to experience nature at its finest, this is the tour for you. The leaders plan every minute of the trip with wildlife outings and lectures on photography, nature and history. The leaders are not only competent, but fun to be with as well. Of all the trips I’ve taken, and I have taken many, this rates as NUMBER 1!"
- M. Gaizband

From the "Southernmost City in the World"—Ushuaia, Argentina—our trusty ship enters the historic Beagle Channel in the evening and cruises eastward towards the blue Atlantic. The urbanized world of Ushuaia disappears on the horizon and gives rise to shoreline forests of wind-sculpted southern beech trees, grassy rolling hills and towering, jagged, snowcapped mountains.

After leaving the southern tip of South America behind, we are met by squadrons of albatrosses, prions, giant petrels, skuas, gulls and terns that we view from the ship’s bridge, lounge, stern and foredeck. Excitement grows, along with the number of ship-following seabirds, building to a crescendo as we cross the cold Antarctic Convergence and get our first distant glimpses of colossal icebergs! Amid the flotilla of icebergs, we sight land and focus our attention on preparations for the adventure to come—we don’t want to miss a single moment.

For nature photographers, Antarctica is the gold standard against which all other destinations are measured. On this voyage we visit the small islands of the Antarctic Archipelago, as well as set foot on the frozen continent. The sparkling krill-rich water teems with life, which in turn brings whales and seals that forage along the ice floe edge. Colonies of penguins dwell here in almost uncountable numbers and hunt in these same waters. These represent some of the most spectacular seabird colonies found anywhere on Earth. There is virtually no time when wildlife is not visible from the ship!

A trio of Adelie penguinsIn the Weddell Sea, just off the northern tip of the peninsula, lies Paulet Island, a conical volcano with a massive Adélie penguin colony that, in some areas, rises several hundred feet from the island’s periphery to its lower slopes. Here, we may find penguin-covered icebergs and areas where some of the penguins roost on a picturesque jumble of crystalline ice on shore. Now, birds are busy raising their chicks and we should be in prime time to see the young birds comically chasing after their parents as they beg for food.

Along the shore, masses of seagoing birds tumble into the water in an effort to confuse their main predator, the leopard seal. Photography at Paulet can be incredible!

On the east side of the peninsula we travel as deep as the ship can reasonably go amidst the ice into the Weddell Sea. We head toward Snow Hill Island to see if we can spot any lingering emperor penguins on the sea ice. The emperor breeding season ends in November and the year’s new chicks have fledged, but depending on ice conditions, we hope to be able to find a few lingering birds to shoot from the ship or our Zodiacs.

If the wildlife isn’t enough, the scenery will bowl you over. The sheer walls of towering icebergs burn chill blue and the slanting "evening" polar light infuses everything in rich pastel tints, sharpening the etchings in the ice. Subtle polychrome "sunsets" last for hours in January, and the moody gray outlines of the serrate maritime peaks can give rise to a spectacular "dawn" that elicits an almost mystical fervor in those who gaze upon them.

Sculpted icebergCruising the beautiful Lemaire Channel provides yet another exceptional Antarctic experience. This narrow channel is one of the most visually impressive areas of the peninsula and embodies the quintessential Antarctic landscape in the photographer’s mind’s eye. At the end of the channel lies Pleneau Island. Here a stunning labyrinth of grounded icebergs offers extraordinary Zodiac cruising. Glistening white, statuesque and architecturally spectacular bergs stand as sentinels against a clear blue sky, while crabeater, Weddell and leopard seals allow close approach. A visit here can be dreamlike—and a great way to bring our photo expedition to a close.

A Photographer's Antarctica is truly crafted to be a photography travel highlight to one of the ends of the Earth!

A Comparison With Other Antarctica Cruises

When we set out to create this extraordinary expedition voyage, this is the question we asked ourselves most often: What does it take to offer our clients an expedition that draws from our broad Antarctic experience and avoids some of the photographer’s frustrations typical in tourist-style Antarctica voyages?

More Days In Antarctica

Leopard sealYou are traveling all the way to the bottom of the world! Shouldn’t you have enough time to thoroughly enjoy exploring one of the most spectacularly scenic regions on Earth? This voyage offers 10 full photography days around the Antarctic Peninsula and visits many of its most scenic and wildlife-rich locations. It is among the longest and most comprehensive trips offered by any company in 2022. The trip is timed to see lots of penguins with chicks, seals on ice, whales, and lots of gigantic sculpted icebergs to photograph. We travel in Antarctica’s “high season”, but after the New Year holiday, avoiding the crush of holiday travelers that crowd the airports.

More Leaders Per Client

This may be one of the most important differences between our cruise and many others. Why is it important? There are several reasons. First, our clients are very inquisitive and intent on learning photography tips and natural history of the area. With one leader for every 8 clients, you have excellent access to leaders when questions arise—and you have 10 different leaders to interact with throughout the cruise. Second, other tours often have only 3 or 4 expedition staff members for a group the size of ours, and they all have to double as Zodiac drivers and boat handlers during landings. This means there are extended times when most leaders on other trips are not accessible on shore because they have to ferry clients to and from the ship.

Time, Time And More Time!

Photographer with chinstrap penguinWhen you’ve made the effort to travel to a place as remote as Antarctica, you want time to explore this spectacular environment at your own pace instead of moving from landing site to landing site keeping a "forced-march" schedule. Our 14-night cruise allows plenty of time to slow down and enjoy each stop along the way. Where possible, we offer extended shore landings without skimping on the number of locations we visit. This is among the longest and most comprehensive Antarctic Peninsula trips offered by any company in 2022!

Expert Planning With Built-in Flexibility

After offering dozens of expeditions to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean we have acquired the expertise needed to plan a photography itinerary that is second to none.  We know the most photogenic wildlife hotspots and have included them in our planned itinerary. We also know when and how to be flexible in our itinerary, both to ensure your safety and to take advantage of unexpectedly good weather and wildlife. Unlike other “milk run” Antarctica itineraries, we try to be as flexible as possible when it benefits our clients. While onshore, we occasionally attempt to keep iconic photogenic vistas closed to entry for a short time until all participants have the opportunity to photograph it without the possibility of people in the shot.

Smaller Group

Photographers on the bow of our Antarctica shipCruise ships carrying hundreds of passengers are more common in Antarctica every year. The logistics of getting such large groups ashore are difficult since internationally agreed upon rules only allow a maximum of 100 passengers on shore at any location in Antarctica. With only 78 passengers, 9 expedition staff and plenty of Zodiac landing craft, we can get our clients to shore quickly, often, and with minimal hassles. Once ashore, there are fewer in our group so it’s much easier to find a bit of personal time away from the group (following well-established wildlife/location guidelines). These days, the trend on many Antarctica cruises is for more scenic shipboard cruising and less time ashore—which makes for fewer logistical hassles for the crew and less photo time for passengers with the wildlife. By contrast, we offer as much shore time as we can to allow you the flexibility to explore, photograph and observe wildlife, or to return to the ship when necessary.

Photography And Nature Guides

Whether you’re serious about photography, or just want to learn a few tips to take better photos, our photography leaders can help during our travel days photo lectures and image critiques. John Shaw, Wayne Lynch, Jeff Vanuga, Joe McDonald, Mary Ann McDonald, Mark Thomas, Eric Rock and Joe Van Os are all professional photographers who have led hundreds of nature photography trips all over the world. Photographing nature and wildlife are our primary goals on this voyage. And to provide the best in nature interpretation we have two dedicated expert naturalists on board—Anna Sutcliffe, and expedition leader Monika Schillat. They help you understand the incredible diversity of life we see around the Southern Ocean. And many of the staff are both accomplished interpretive naturalists AND professional photographers.  All of our leaders are IAATO certified Antarctica guides.

  Download the trip log from our 2015 A Photographer's Antarctica voyage.
Download our Free 176-page eBook featuring client photos from our 2015 A Photographer's Antarctica voyage.  

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Depart from home.

Day 2 (January 7)
Arrive in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and continue on a domestic flight to Ushuaia. Depending on the flight you book, three to four hours may be needed to transfer with your baggage from the international airport (EZE) to the domestic airport (AEP) in Buenos Aires. Check into our Ushuaia hotel.

Day 3
The morning is free to explore the southernmost city in the world while the ship is prepped for our voyage. A bus tour of Tierra del Fuego National Park, that includes lunch, is optional. In late afternoon (approximately 4 PM) we board our ship and get settled in our cabins for embarkation. As we sail eastward down the legendary Beagle Channel, we photograph landscapes from the deck and observe many birds and other wildlife associated with the channel. We celebrate our departure with our first dinner aboard ship. (BD)

Days 4–5
Diving Adelie penguinsWe head south across the famous Drake Passage named for Sir Francis Drake, 16th-century English mariner and privateer. We travel 600 miles from the tip of South America toward the Antarctic Peninsula—a distant extension of the Andes Mountains separated by continental movement over the past 150 million years. Once offshore, the marine environment in "the Drake" is as rich as anywhere on Earth and thousands of seabirds, including many black-browed and wandering albatrosses, and several species of whales and dolphins are possible. We cross the Antarctic Convergence. The region marks the area where warmer northern waters collide with colder Antarctic currents. During a short transition, the water temperature plummets, the air gets colder and the species composition of ship-following birds becomes noticeably different. Icebergs become a familiar sight. With favorable conditions in the Drake Passage we make our first landing on Day 5. When not on deck, we prepare for our Antarctic landings during a series of photography and nature and human history lectures during this time. (All meals are included while aboard ship.)

Days 6–15
The Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands offer activities that pack these exciting 10 days. We select landings at wildlife and scenic areas only, avoiding national research bases and historic sites that usually have meager wildlife populations or limited landscape photo potential. We plan to visit Paulet Island with its massive Adélie colonies, cruise the Neumayer and Lemaire Channels—the quintessential Antarctic scenery locations—where we linger as long as possible if light conditions are incredibly photogenic! Humpback whales have made a strong recovery from whaling in this area. Other areas we plan to visit include spectacular scenic Paradise Bay, Cuverville or Ronge Island for gentoo and chinstrap penguins. Additional landing sites may include Half Moon Island, Hannah Point on Livingston Island, Deception Island, Port Lockroy, or other locations depending on weather and ice conditions. No landing site can be guaranteed. Our leaders use their experience to select the best areas to optimize our wildlife observation and ensure our safety. We start our northward journey during the late afternoon of Day 15.

Day 16
Tabular iceberg in AntarcticaJoin our expedition staff on deck as we get our final views of the “white continent.” We photograph ship-following seabirds, watch for whales and dolphins, and enjoy some final photo lectures, image critiques and passenger "slide shows." Take the opportunity to relax and reflect on the fascinating adventures of the past days on the way back to Ushuaia. The fabled headland of Cape Horn looms on the horizon and we sense the peaty aroma of vegetation wafting from the distant shore. This evening we head back down the Beagle Channel, reacquaint ourselves with a green environment, and enjoy a final scenic cruise on our return trip to Ushuaia.

Day 17 (Jan 22)
Arriving in Ushuaia in the morning, we disembark the ship after breakfast and transfer to the airport to depart for home.

Day 18
Arrive home.

Rate Schedule
Standard: Twin outside cabins with portholes on Deck E, two berths (upper/lower), semi-private facilities*.
*Two cabins share one bathroom accessible from both cabins (shower and toilet). Each cabin is also equipped with its own washbasin.
Standard Plus: Twin outside cabins with portholes or windows on Deck E, two lower berths, private facilities   $15,995
Premier: Twin outside cabins with windows on Deck G, two lower berths, private facilities   $16,995
Premier Single: Small twin cabins with portholes on Deck G, one lower berth, private facilities   $17,995
Superiors: Twin cabins with windows on Deck G, two lower berths, private facilities   $17,995
Suites: Twin cabins with windows on Deck G, two lower berths, private facilities, lounge, video, TV and fridge   $19,995

All prices above are per person based on double occupancy (except Premier Single Cabin category) from Ushuaia, Argentina and are shown in USD. The trip fee does not include airfare of any kind, transfers other than with the group, visas, excess baggage charges, airport departure taxes, tips for the ship’s crew, travel insurance, bottled water, beverages other than coffee, tea, milk and juice taken at meals, bar expenses, phone calls, faxes, email, laundry, or other items of a personal nature.

Ushuaia Deck Plan







Print this Page

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris Enrollment Information

A Photographer's Antarctica

Jan 06, 2022 - Jan 23, 2022

A deposit and completed and signed Registration Form are required to reserve a place for you on a Joseph Van Os Photo Safari.


All prices are quoted in US dollars and all payments must be paid in US dollars. For deposits only, we accept Visa or MasterCard. Final payment of the trip fee is due on 8/6/21 and must be paid by check or bank transfer. Trip deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable.
A deposit of 25% of the trip fee is required.  An additional 25% of the trip fee is due on 3/6/21.  Final payment is due on 8/6/21.  We must receive written notice of your cancellation, at which time the following fees are non-refundable:
If Written Cancellation is Received:                               Cancellation Fee:
1/6/21 or prior:                                                                    50% of deposit
3/6/21 to 7/5/21:                                                                 25% of trip fee
7/6/21 to 9/5/21:                                                                 50% of trip fee
9/6/21 or after:                                                                   100% of trip fee
Emergency evacuation insurance is REQUIRED for this tour. As noted in Section 3 below, we send a brochure for trip insurance to US and Canadian residents. The policy offered includes the emergency evacuation coverage required for this trip. Participants purchasing trip insurance on their own—that is, not through our office—should confirm that a minimum of $500,000 of emergency evacuation insurance is included in their policy.

No partial refunds are made for unused portions or services of a trip for any reason whatsoever. Trips are sold as a package only. This policy also applies to tour extensions and independent travel arrangements. Cancellation fees are not transferable.

Protect your travel investment and purchase a trip insurance policy that includes emergency evacuation coverage. A trip insurance brochure will be sent with your enrollment confirmation.

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris are within the capabilities of average people in good health. Some of these trips require the capability of walking for several miles over uneven trails, stepping from a small boat to a wave-washed rocky beach, flying in small planes and helicopters, and occasionally hiking at high elevations—all while carrying an assortment of camera equipment. If you have concerns about your own capabilities and/or fitness as it relates to a trip, please inquire with our office before reserving a space. By forwarding a signed Registration Form and trip deposit, you certify that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions of disability that would create a risk for you or other trip participants and you agree to inform our office in writing if changes in your health occur any time prior to the tour. We reserve the right to request a doctor's statement of good health. The company's or trip leader's judgment shall provide the ultimate determination of an individual's ability to embark upon or to continue a trip. Once a trip has been confirmed, medical circumstances will not be considered as exceptions to our cancellation policy. We assume no responsibility for medical care or for special dietary requirements. “Meatless” meals are normally available at most locations. Due to the remote nature of many photo locations, and the growing diversity of today’s dietary trends, participants requiring special food items are encouraged to bring their own.

Tour members are asked to refrain from smoking with or near the group.

Participants will receive three emails before the trip departs: 1. Initial Tour Information sheet confirms the deposit and provides pre-departure information. 2. Invoice/Practical Information provides clothing and photo gear recommendations, climate data, applicable health advisories and reading list. Visa information will also be included (if applicable). 3. Final Tour Information includes arrival instructions, itinerary revisions (if any), hotel addresses, trip telephone contact information and participant list. We provide the trip leader's telephone number(s) and/or e-mail address with final documents so you can inquire about special photographic questions you may have regarding your trip. We welcome your calls or e-mail messages to info@photosafaris.com.

Information supplied upon enrollment describes the specific costs that are included in your trip fee. Generally these costs include lodging in double room occupancy, all meals (specified in the itinerary as BLD denoting breakfast, lunch or dinner), ground transportation during the trip in vans or small busses, air transportation as specified, meal and baggage tipping, and guide services provided by the trip leaders. Not included are airfare or other transportation from your home to the trip staging location, airport departure taxes, insurance, alcoholic beverages and bar expenses (plus bottled water and soft drink expenses on international tours outside of North America), tips and gratuities to local guides abroad, phone calls, passport or visa expenses, laundry or items of a personal nature. Gratuities to Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris trip leaders are optional and always appreciated. Rates are based on group tariffs; if the trip does not have sufficient registration, a small party supplement may be charged.

Single accommodations are available for a supplemental cost in many locations; see the pre-departure trip information or call our office for details. You will be charged the single supplement fee if you desire single accommodations or if you wish to have a roommate, but one is not available. In some remote locations, clients with single rooms are infrequently compelled to share a room due to circumstances beyond our control. In such cases, appropriate per diem refunds will be made reflecting the direct cost of the single room at the facility where clients are required to share. There is no additional single supplement fee on ship-based cruises, if you request a roommate and one is not available.

Cost increases may occur unexpectedly due to rising costs of airfares, ground transport, fuel surcharges, accommodations and currency fluctuations, among others. Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. may be compelled to amend prices, and we reserve the right to do so without prior notice. An increase in trip prices shall not be sufficient grounds for any refund of funds paid for the trip other than as determined by the terms of our cancellation policy.

Whenever possible, our trip participants are lodged in comfortable, modern hotels. We select among the best available accommodations, but refrain from extravagance. Some interesting photographic destinations are far removed from modern amenities, however, and where necessary we will be accommodated in rustic country inns, cabins or tented camps.

Meals are always a special part of our trips for the camaraderie they engender and the opportunity they provide to try new foods from different areas. Depending on the trip and specific locale, participants order restaurant meals from the full menu or, less frequently, table d'hôte. Some trips include picnic lunches in the field. Fruit juice for breakfast and coffee or tea are included with the meals. Soft drinks are included with meals on tours within North America. Participants are responsible for their own bar tab (including bottled water, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages on tours outside of North America) at restaurant lunches and dinners.

Our itineraries are intended as examples only. Participants should allow for flexibility due to changes in weather, natural history or cultural events, or other logistical arrangements deemed necessary by Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. or our leaders.

The second tour leader (and any subsequent additional leaders) listed for each trip on the website will be added as the group size warrants. If only one space remains on a trip, and logistics permit, we accept two persons traveling together, even if it exceeds the trip maximum.

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. and/or their Agents act only as agents for the passenger in regard to travel including, but not limited to, sightseeing, meals, lodging, transportation, and all other services whether by railroad, motorcar, motor coach, boat, ship or aircraft and they assume no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity which may be occasioned either by reason of defect in any vehicle or for any reason whatsoever, or through the acts or default of any company or person engaged in conveying the passenger or in carrying out the arrangements of the trip.

They can accept no responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay or changes in air or other services, sickness, weather, strike, war, volcanic eruption, terrorist acts, political unrest, quarantine or other causes. All such losses or expenses will have to be borne by the passenger, as trip fees provide for arrangements only for the times and locations stated. Baggage is at the owner's risk entirely.

The right is reserved to 1) substitute hotels of similar category for those indicated and to make any changes in the itinerary or transport where deemed necessary, or caused by changes in air schedules or equipment substitution; 2) cancel any trip prior to departure, in which case full refund of the paid trip funds will be given, but Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. is not responsible for any other trip preparation expenses such as penalized or non-refundable air tickets, visa fees and medical related expenses; 3) substitute trip leader(s) for the leader(s) originally specified, in which case the substitution is not a basis for participant cancellation or refund other than provided by our normal cancellation policy; or 4) accept or retain any person as a member of any trip.

Trip prices are based on tariffs and exchange rates in effect at the time of publication and are subject to adjustment in the event of any change therein.

A Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section must be signed by each participant prior to the commencement of the trip. Participation by any trip member will be declined in the absence of the signed Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section, with no trip fee refund. No modification to the Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section will be accepted.

Should Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., or anyone acting on their behalf be required to incur attorney's fees and costs to enforce this agreement, the enrolling trip participant(s) agree(s) to indemnify and hold them harmless for all such fees and costs. In the event a lawsuit is filed, the enrolling participant(s) agree(s) to do so solely in the County of Lewis in the State of Washington. Certain ship owners require the use of pre-printed ticket forms that limit the ship owner's and operator's liability. When such tickets are used, the passenger is bound by the terms of these tickets with respect to the passenger's legal relationship to the owners and operators of the ship, their agents (Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc.), and the ship's crew.

A Photographer's Antarctica: Easy Activity Level

Ship and Zodiac (rubber boat) travel. Transfer from ship to shore in rubber Zodiacs possibly in rough waves. Possibility of deep snow on shore in addition to slippery, icy conditions and uneven ground in some locations. Seasickness medicine recommended when necessary. Stairways on board ship are fairly steep requiring careful use of handrails when moving between decks—particularly in active seas.
Trip Details
Jan 06 - Jan 23, 2022
Fee: From $13,995 from Ushuaia, Argentina (see complete cabin pricing below)
Deposit: 25% of Trip Fee
Limit: 78 participants
Activity Level: EasyEasy
  • A 14-night photo cruise dedicated entirely to the needs and interests of photographers with 10 shooting days in Antarctica—one of the longest and most comprehensive peninsula trips offered by any company in 2022
  • Extended shore landings with photographer/naturalist leaders on hand to assist with your photography
  • Photograph nesting Adélie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins with their chicks, as well as a variety of seals, whales and other seabirds
  • Unparalleled landscape photo opportunities among icebergs, glaciers and soaring coastal mountains
  • Formal and informal photography and natural history presentations throughout the cruise
  • Ten IAATO certified photography and naturalist leaders to answer your photography and nature questions
  • An excellent trip that a non-photographing spouse or travel partner would thoroughly enjoy
Play Video
Tour Leaders
John Shaw

John Shaw

Wayne Lynch

Wayne Lynch

Joe Van Os

Joe Van Os

Jeff Vanuga

Jeff Vanuga

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas

Eric Rock

Eric Rock

Joe & Mary Ann McDonald

Joe & Mary Ann McDonald

Anna Sutcliffe

Anna Sutcliffe

Monika Schillat

Monika Schillat

This Antarctica cruise is not to be missed. It’s a part of the world that few people have the opportunity to visit, yet it’s filled with some of the most stunning and spectacular wildlife and scenery imaginable! A true experience of a lifetime. No wonder some people visit multiple times. I highly recommend this trip. You will be in great hands with Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris.
—M. Wilde

The photographic safari to Antarctica definitely surpassed any expectations and preconceptions I had. Every day delivered a carefully planned new adventure—even days at sea were packed with lectures and activities by the team leaders to make sure we were getting the most out of the trip. Every professional, semi-professional or budding photographer needs to add this tour to their bucket list. I’m positive there are no others that would come remotely close in offering the exciting photo opportunities that we experienced. Plus, on top of all the technical and creative advice received, we also had some really fun times on board!
—J. Smith