Banerjee's Photo Gear
· Cameras: Medium format Mamiya 645 ProTL for
photographing landscapes, 35mm Nikon F4S and FM2 when shooting during the winter,
and Nikon F5 during the summer months. For summer wildlife and bird photography
he used a Canon EOS-3
with a 600mm f/4.
· Film: Kodak E100VS during the winter, Fujichrome Provia
100F during the summer, and for photographing northern lights, he used Fujichrome
Provia 400F, pushed one stop.
· Tripod: Gitzo 340.
· Filters: Warming 81A or Warming 81A circular polarizing
filter to warm up the deep blue cast on landscapes during the winter. Occasionally
used a circular polarizing filter during the summer.
· Flash: Nikon SB-28 for fill flash when photographing
people (he also used the Nikon flash with his Mamiya 645).
· Lenses: Mamiya 22mm, 35mm, 45mm, 80mm, 150mm, and 500mm.
Used Nikon lenses ranging from 17mm--500mm. Occasionally, he used a 1.4x
Muskoxen have an amazing coat that helps them survive in -20°
temperatures. Banerjee captured them here among the icefog.
Cold-Weather Survival Gear
"If I am not warm enough in the field, the photography becomes
meaningless," Banerjee stated in his book. He usually wore a heavy down
parka and down pants with 800-weight goose down and a sturdy lining. The hood
had a ruff made of wolf fur, which is commonly worn throughout the Arctic to
protect one's face during blizzard conditions.
He also wore a balaclava and liner gloves along with a hat. Over his liner
gloves he wore sheepskin mittens filled with loose musk ox wool. He notes that
wearing gloves was cumbersome, but he never took them off when using his camera
because touching metal surfaces with bare fingers in -40° weather would
result in frostbite.
Banjerjee found interesting plants to photograph, like this Lousewort
growing out of the Arctic ice.
Banerjee used an extreme-weather down sleeping bag rated at -70° and slept
in an Arctic Oven tent. He used interchangeable battery holders to keep his
camera batteries warm, and kept two extra battery holders inside his parka.
Banerjee quit his job, cashed in his life savings and went to
Alaska to document the native people, the land and the wildlife.
In this placid scene, he photographed the last days of autumn
before the onset of winter.
To see more of Subhanker Banerjee's work and to learn more about his excursion
to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, visit his website at: www.wwbphoto.com.