Canon Ambassador: Thorsten Milse

What equipment did you take?
I took two camera bodies; an EOS-1D X and an EOS 5D Mark III. I used a EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM and a EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM for animals, together with EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM, EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, EF 50mm f/1.2L USM and EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lenses for other photos. I also took an Extender and Speedlite Flash.

How do IS (Image Stabilizer) lenses help when shooting from a boat?
It is almost impossible to use a tripod on a small boat and this makes the Canon IS lenses my choice. You definitely get sharper photos using them when there are waves washing over the deck!

Greenland's coastline
This is the end of the Greenland ice cap near the west coast, Hvalsund.
© Thorsten Milse. Canon Ambassador 
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM, handheld

You spend a lot of time in these very cold conditions. What are the challenges, especially with the equipment?
To keep the weather out I use a Peli-Hardcase. This case can always be kept in the cold, is waterproof and protects against moisture. The equipment I carried has been used in these conditions before and I had no condensation problems even at the lowest temperature. The Canon cameras and lenses have very good all-round protection.

Did you photograph animals on the expedition?
There were virtually no shots of animals as there really aren't many on the west coast of Greenland. Hunting as a result of colonisation has increased the pressure on wildlife in the area. With luck you will sometimes see whales, but polar bears are very rare.

Do you use filters when shooting in ice conditions? If so, any particular ones?
I rarely use filters as the quality of Canon lenses give a great quality image without one. The air in the Arctic is often so dry that you get a natural colourful blue.

Overall, do you prefer shooting in the cold or heat – in other words; Polar or Grizzly bears?
Each environment has its requirements. Salt and sand are equal enemies of photographic equipment. I can personally stand it better at -40°C than +50°C in the desert.

What have you got planned next?
I have some Canon workshops, seminars and presentations in the next few weeks. The next photo trip is probably to South America.

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Thorsten Milse