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Adventure Magazine

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Ask Adventure
Q. HAVE OUTDOORS PHOTOGRAPHERS STARTED USING DIGITAL CAMERAS? IF SO, WHICH ONES AND HOW DO THEY COMPARE WITH FILM?

Funny you should ask: The image on the cover of the November issue of Adventure was shot using a 5.4-megapixel Nikon D1X (the same camera used by Contributing Editor James Balog for the groundbreaking portrait of the giant sequoia), making it our first ever digital cover image. "Digital saves money on film, helps beginners learn about exposure by letting them view photos instantly, and the quality is great," says November's cover photographer, Jad Davenport (www.jaddavenport.com), who dropped film two years ago in favor of digital. "I don't see any negatives when it comes to digital photography." (Pun intended.) Others are not as convinced. "The technology is not a slam dunk yet," says Contributing Editor and photographer Steve Casimiro, who uses his five-megapixel Canon S5 primarily in place of a Polaroid to test light and composition. Magazines that run large, high-quality images demand very high resolution, which can still be costly: Of the top-of-the-line, 11.1-megapixel Canon EOS 1D-s, Casimiro says, "That's really getting you in the ballpark, but it's $7,000." Luckily for photographers, new technology has a way of becoming affordable fast—remember the $600 DVD player?

Q. IN THE ACCOUNTS OF EARLY ARCTIC EXPLORERS, THEY'RE ALWAYS EATING SOMETHING CALLED PEMMICAN. WHAT IS IT EXACTLY, AND DO POLAR EXPLORERS STILL EAT IT?

Pemmican was indeed a favorite—especially for those who liked meat that has been left out in the sun, pounded flat, and welded together with fat drippings. "Contrary to what you may think, people liked pemmican," says protein chemist Robert Feeney, author of Polar Journeys, a nutritional study of polar exploration. "They had to. They lived on it for months." The easily preserved food—originally a Native American recipe—fueled the polar expeditions of Roald Amundsen, Robert Scott, and Ernest Shackleton, among others. The rest of the typical polar explorer's diet—usually cocoa, biscuits, sugar, butter, cheese, seal meat, and, in a pinch, dog or horse—was often secondary to pemmican, which was eaten both dry and in a slurry made by boiling the meat in melted snow (a dish harmoniously labeled hoosh). In a journal entry from his 1912 Antarctic expedition, Scott noted: "Tonight we had a sort of stew fry of pemmican and horseflesh and voted it the best hoosh we had ever had on a sledge journey." These days, hoosh and the like have largely dropped off the menu. During their attempted 2,300-mile (3,701-kilometer) Antarctic traverse on skis in 2001, American Ann Bancroft and Norwegian Liv Arnesen ate oatmeal, energy bars, Pringles, nuts, sweets, and freeze-dried meals to achieve a daily caloric intake of about 4,750 (almost two and a half times the normal FDA recommendation). Not exactly haute cuisine, but a step forward, most would say, from pounded meat and suet.

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Expedition Advisor
Read explorer-tested tips from adventurer Jon Bowermaster.

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February 2004



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