Working at the End of the Earth

What’s it like to work in Antarctica? This is perhaps the question I get more than any other. In a nutshell it’s: too cold to snow, blindingly beautiful, filled with creative souls and Amazon packages make up the bulk of our weekly mail. Yes, really.

It’s a long trek to get here flying from Denver to LA to Auckland to Christchurch to the ice. I was lucky enough to make the last leg of my flights this year on a Basler. An old plane that’s been beautifully converted to a utility plane that does a lot of the heavy lifting on this continent.

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We flew low over the Transantarctic mountains heading to our worksite at the South Pole.

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We’ve had a rather slow start to our season this year as normal flights were hard to come by and our crew slowly trickled in. But arriving at the end of the winter with so few people on station for the first week was a great way to start the season and get things rolling. It’s been a little chillier than we usually see this time of year but I always love seeing the piles of snow from the winter.

Technically, the South Pole is in a polar desert so we only see about 8” of snow accumulation in a year and most of that is blown in, as it’s too cold to snow. But the wind brings us huge snow drifts.

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I wasted no time this year in getting into a routine. Our vertical tower, aka the Beer Can, is 90 steps from top to bottom. I do the Beer Can 10 times every day at 4am. It will definitely wake you up as the tower isn’t heated and is generally in the -50F range. And I’ve been shooting photos and writing every morning as well. These are the things that keep my sane wherever I am in the world…

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It’s good to be back and I’m looking forward to another adventurous summer season at the end of the earth… I’m teaching a photography class this year, continuing to operate the greenhouse in my free time and my band Jimmy Snippet & the Crevasse Detectors is ramping up again for the season (we’re still looking for a drummer if you know of one!).

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Side note: these photos were all shot with my newest lens, the Lensbaby Sol 45 (https://lensbaby.com/product/sol45mm/).