StaplesVR LiDAR and photogrammetry technician, Brendan Wade, gives his impressions from the Ice as he digitally documents both Shackleton’s Nimrod hut and Scott’s Terra Nova hut.
I have the most incredible photo of the moment the door on the C-17 opened. The stark contrast between the harsh, hard interior of a military behemoth and the glaring, desolate isolation of the Ross ice shelf. It is a memory that will stay with me as long as I live.
I have been fortunate to be asked to join Antarctic Heritage Trust as a LiDAR and photogrammetry technician, digitally capturing in forensic detail every aspect and angle of both Shackleton’s Nimrod hut and Scott’s Terra Nova hut.
Being a seafarer, these places hold special significance to me – particularly with the hardships these parties endured, with the isolation they were subject to. To be given the opportunity to acquaint myself so intimately with the huts is a privilege beyond comparison.
We have – after 6 days of continuous shooting, working long hours often in trying conditions – completed the entirety of capture at Scott’s Terra Nova hut at Cape Evans.
Having Zack and Conor from the Trust supporting us and giving us our daily dose of history, answering questions, and explaining some of the story of the huts and artefacts has brought me an unexpected closeness to this place. It looks and feels like a museum exhibit, but it is so much more. It was a home, a refuge, and a shelter. But it was also full of banter, of laughs, and a few tears I’m sure.
The weather and conditions have been trying at times. The day we captured the outside of the Cape Evans hut, the wind was 30 knots and the windchill minus 30°C. We were out there for 8 hours straight and took over 10,000 photos.
Once you get a system for your gear, life becomes much easier down on the Ice: gloves always return to that pocket – in that jacket; foot warmers – under socks in our rubber-soled boots; new camera batteries – left breast pocket close to skin to stay warm; dead batteries – right breast pocket; leather gloves – right lower pocket next to journal; camera lens cap – left outer pocket; spare lens – right outer pocket. Extreme Cold Weather coat close to hand with mittens in pockets for a bad day. Buff and beanie with glasses on top and we are ready to shoot.
Reflecting on my preconceptions of Antarctica, I was wrong about many things. But one thing I was correct about – Antarctica is cold! Some days it’s ‘warm’ but you are cold, some days it’s ‘cold’ but you are freezing.