All about the gear

A field expedition is part science, part logistics, part adventures, but it is also all about the gear. We wouldn’t be able to collect the data we need without a fair bit equipment. With all of our gear in toe we can now focus on capturing Arctic greening and hidden biodiversity.

In case you are interested, we thought we could run through some of the kit we are bringing with us this year.

The Drones


To build 3D models of tundra landscapes, we will be using Phantom 4 multicopter drones by DJI. (Photo: Isla Myers-Smith).


For precision drone mapping, we will use the DJI Phantom 4 RTK drone system. Here’s hoping we don’t get logged out without regular internet access! Photo: Malkolm Boothroyd.


To capture tundra greenness across the landscape, we will use Parrot Disco Pro Ag drones with the Sequoia multispectral sensor. (Photo: Gergana Daskalova).


For large-scale RGB work we have also brought along our home-built Zeta FX-61 Phantom fixed wing drones. (Photo: Jeffrey Kerby).


To capture our tundra field site using video and photography from the air, we will use a DJI Mavic 2 Pro. (Photo: Isla Myers-Smith).

The camera kit


For photography, Gergana will be shooting with a Canon 7D Mark II camera. (Photo: Isla Myers-Smith.


To see up close, far away and from a wide angle, Gergana will shoot with Canon lenses including the 100mm f2.8 USM Macro, 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 IS II and 16-35mm f4, and a Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6. (Photo: Isla Myers-Smith).


To capture movement of water and clouds, Gergana will take long exposure shots with Lee filters. (Photo: Isla Myers-Smith).


To keep her camera steady, Gergana will use a Manfrotto befree Live tripod. (Photo: Isla Myers-Smith).


To capture the tundra in 360 degrees and to shot above and below the water surface we have brought along two GoPro Fusions.(Photo: Isla Myers-Smith).

We also have Nikon, Sony and other cameras along for the summer too. You can never have too many cameras!

The recording kit


To record the sounds of the Arctic, we will use Zoom H4n Pro recorders and a Røde VideoMic Pro. (Photo: Gergana Daskalova).

The knee brace


To make it out to our field sites across the rugged tundra, Isla will benefit from knee support by an Ossur knee brace provided by Kintec Vancouver and all of her physio from Allan McGavin Sports Medicine Centre! Thanks Kelli and Trixie! (Photo: Gergana Daskalova).

Thanks to National Geographic Society and the Natural Environment Research Council of the UK Arctic Office for supporting this field expedition. Thanks to National Geographic Society for an equipment loan of camera lenses, a GoPro Fusion, sound recorder and video camera. Thanks to Malkolm Boothroyd for providing us with a remote camera trigger, when we forgot to bring one ourselves! And thanks to our technical support team including Iain Myers-Smith, Mariana García Criado and Cameron Eckert who have been messaging via our InReach to help us overcome our technical and logistical challenges thus far!

So that gives you an idea of some of the kit we are bringing with us. It is always an adventure to try to pack all the right gear, figure out how your equipment works and particularly whether it will work without internet! Almost a week into our field season, and so far the gear has been serving us well. Here’s to a summer with as few technical challenges as possible – to keep the content rolling in.

Words by Isla Myers-Smith

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