Talking of frozen wastes, I saw a report that some of Frank Hurley's abandoned camera kit may have been found in the Antarctic. Hurley was a remarkable photographer, an Australian and an adventurer in that classic "Edwardian" mould, who was a member of Shackleton's staggeringly heroic expedition of 1914-16.
After they abandoned the debilitated Endurance, Shackleton ordered the crew members to pare their personal possessions down to two pounds each. Hurley had to leave his precious cameras behind, but Shackleton allowed him to keep a selection of photographs and motion-picture footage. Stripped to the waist, Hurley dove into the icy waters to retrieve his treasured images from the sinking wreck of the ship. Together, Shackleton and Hurley chose 120 glass plates to keep and smashed about 400; Shackleton feared that Hurley would endanger himself to return for them later. Hurley sealed the plates in metal tins with improvised solder, along with prints he had developed on board the ship. Hurley documented the remainder of their odyssey with only a handheld Vest Pocket Kodak camera and three rolls of film.A lot of Hurley's work is available on the web, and repays viewing. That it was taken in such extreme conditions with a glass-plate view camera on a heavy wooden tripod beggars belief. You can buy scans of images from his albums from the Australian National Library -- here's one I couldn't resist:
PBS/Nova, Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure
The caption reads:
"This photograph, taken by the light of the midnight sun, shows the bows of the Discovery wending a way through floes and brash ice off the coast of Kemp Land, Antarctica"Self-evidently, it was taken from the top of one of Discovery's masts with a wide angle lens. On a glass-plate view camera by a man in an extra-thick woollen jumper and three pairs of socks. Talk about "f/8 and be there"...