North or South?

This past weekend I had the absolute pleasure of meeting a fellow photographer, who was so, so, well…





and who works at the South Pole!

She fascinated us with stories from the “ice” and we couldn’t get enough of her world that is the coldest place on earth. I mean, it’s not every day that you meet someone who works at the bottom of the world.

At a dinner party, we sat transfixed as she explained her work ( not photography) managing the base and particularly the crew that work there. Some interesting tidbits;

  • Most of us know that in summer, it is daylight 24 hours around the clock for 6 months. Many people struggle with this but she has no problem sleeping with light shining all around. It is also in darkness 6 months of the year.
  • The internet there is awful ( seems logical) as they have to rely on passing or rather falling satellites to catch a signal. You can be waiting for re-connection for up to 4-5 minutes while in mid-surf.
  • They are allowed 2 minute showers twice a week. Fuel costs a lot there and this is pretty much standard. They are also only allowed 1 laundry load per week.
  • There are many music bands using instruments of all kinds including a ukelele band!
  • The food is pretty good despite the distance some of it travels to arrive there. Typically the meal served is fish.
  • She met Prince Harry when he came with the Walking with the Wounded Group.
  • They often wear Canada Goose jackets known as the “Big Reds.” See here for Prince Harry’s…
  • Because you work and sleep alongside your colleagues, you get to know them too well and this is not ideal.
  • skeleton crews of around 50 people stay there over winter.
  • The South Pole sees the Sun rise and set only once a year.
  • As a hobby photographer, it is difficult for her to to find filtered light outside as the shadows are strong.
  • She is sick of taking photos of seals and penguins.
  • It is typical for the temperatures to reach -75∘℉ with some -90 ℉ days and for many days to be positively pleasant in thee -20℉ range.
  • In the summer of 2016-17 Anthony Bourdain filmed part of an episode of his television show there. She said he was very nice and very chill. Excuse the pun.

Her life is a far cry from most of ours, I know it’s a far cry from mine. She has been employed there for about 15 years, so she has adapted to the changes that are inevitable when you are working in extreme conditions and away from family and friends for a good part of the year. Despite this she has developed hobbies and that’s how we met-through photography. In fact, I had her model some pies for me and she was most receptive.

kpardell truecolor Andrea-20175222

I hope to meet up with her again as she will be making her way across Canada in the fall. This big old wide world is truly amazing and I am always fascinated by the gracious and diverse photographers that I have met in my photographic journeys.

To see Andrea’s mixed media photography on Instagram, check it out here.

5 thoughts on “North or South?

  1. What an interesting read!! I think I can no longer complain about being away from family. Epic photo to!


    1. I hear you Rhadonda. As much as I like to think that it would be way cool to experience life on the “ice” I’m pretty sure it would be supremely difficult-at least until I got used to it. I’m also pretty sure that my kids would send me there if they knew there was an opening, so good thing I’m Canadian because we don’t have station there!


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