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Author: Stefan

Date: 2 July 2013

Temperature: -26C

Wind speed: 10 knotos

Temp with wind chill: -37C

Sunrise: N/A

Sunset: N/A

 

 

Some of my favorite accounts of life at Cape Evans is how grateful and respectfully the men talk about their shared lecture series. You get a sense they are thriving of each others knowledge and love to learn from one another. I find it very saddening these days that immediacy and access to information on anything make many iPhone professors with a few finger swishes and the desire to listen, debate, and share in person is eroding rapidy.

 

http://www.spri.cam.ac.uk/library/pictures/catalogue/article/p2005.5.543/

Herbert Ponting lecturing on Japan.  October 16th 1911

 

The link attached is to a wonderful image of Ponting giving a talk about his time in Japan. He has brilliantly bleached in the glow of the projector and added in the image of the Geisha. I can't help, in looking at the photo to think how wonderful it would be to be back in a time where such mystery and intrigue still lay uncharted by most and learning was rich with personal accounts and captured audiences.

DSC00003 (LR).jpg

Aurora show, on Scott's birthday.  © AHT/Stefan

 

Everyone on base is trying to do their best to keep 'Ponko's' art of photography alive, and we’re all happily learning from each other, not Wiki-searches!.

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Author: Jaime at Cape Evans
Date: 18 December 2011
Sunrise: NA
Sunset: NA

 

For both the artefact and building conservators working at Cape Evans, Herbert Ponting’s historic images are  one of the most valuable sources of information we have as to how Scott’s Terra Nova hut was built and used. The incredible quality of those original photographs and the ability to store them digitally, gives us a wonderful on-site resource for the task of restoring the fabric of the hut.

 

Unfortunately for us though, Ponting not did not set out to produce a precise record of the whole hut, its occupants and its environs, but that only makes the job of searching out information even more interesting, as the details we are looking for are usually incidental fragments of a far larger image. This has been the case in recent days for the reinstallation of the stove flue system and the acetylene lighting pipes, all of which hang up in the open roof space of the hut. It is unlikely that Ponting would have ever set up his camera simply to record the interior of the hut roof and yet nearly all the information we need appears somewhere in one of his images. Acetylene lamps float unnoticed over the heads of men lost in the celebration of a mid-winter dinner or stand insignificantly on a table, providing light for Wilson to work on his drawings. In other photographs, flue pipes lurk in darkened roof spaces while Evans bandages Dr Atkinson’s frost bitten hand and outside the hut, a chimney stack rises slightly askew from a distant roof, as a group pose for the camera before setting out on a journey to the Western Mountains.


It is difficult to emphasize not just how important these images are for the work of conserving the hut, but also what a pleasure it is to pore over hugely enlarged areas of a photo and to then finally discover the tiny detail you are searching for.

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Author: Jane
Date: 3rd August 2011
Temperature: -11°C
Wind Speed: 15 knots
Temp with wind chill: -25°C

We are continuing our work on objects from the dark room at Cape Evans. I have just finished conserving a film processing board from this area of the hut. Herbert Ponting was the photographer with Scott’s Terra Nova expedition and he was one of the first people to film in Antarctica. The films were to be used to document and fund the expedition retrospectively.

 

Board.jpg

 

Film processing board after conservation © AHT/Jane


The film processing board is metal with rows of pins arranged in such a way that the film could be mounted and then immersed in chemicals to develop the images. Holes in the base of the board allowed the developing solution to drain away and the film to dry before it was ready to be viewed.

 

Bag.jpg

 

 

Film changing bag after conservation © AHT/Sarah


Ponting also used photographs to document the expedition. Sarah has recently been working on a film changing bag, also from the dark room at Cape Evans. Ponting would have used this to change the photographic film in the plate holder. Two red-coloured eye lenses mounted in leather allowed him to see into the bag without exposing the negative.