Out of my comfort zone – 2

Apart from shooting more in black and white, I also forced myself to use my big lenses less and use less mm’s as I would usually do. This was very easy to do, as I could just leave my big lenses on the ship when I went ashore (also means I have to carry a lot less weight). In this case, I did doubt whether to bring my 70-200mm with 2x converter, as the zodiac cruise near Monacobreen often has Bearded Seals on small icebergs, but I decided against it. Now the only lens I had with me was the 24-105mm. And yes, we did find Bearded Seals. We managed to get nice and close with the zodiacs, as usual with these animals and were slowly drifting at a short distance.

Bearded Seal in glacier ice

This would be the moment where I usually would get out my telelens and start taking portrait pictures of these animals. Now I only had max. 105mm to play with, so suddenly I had to pay attention to backgrounds and composition. I wished I could have gotten closer, which probably would have been possible if I would have been the only zodiac nearby, but several of my colleagues were also nearby. If I had been closer, I could have zoomed out even further, but that might be for another time. I’m already pleased with this image, hope to think about this option more often now.


Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.


  • I think that photos of wild animals in their natural environment have a lot going for them. Often pays to take in the whole view instead of trying to fill the frame with the animal. (Just my thoughts anyway)


    • Completely agree, Michael. I always like pictures like this a lot better as just close-ups. They tell much more of a story about the animal (and its environment). But somehow, I always first grab my big lens to go for those close-up shots anyhow. That’s why I tried to force myself not to do so by leaving my telelens on the ship this time.


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