Leica MP survives -40°C temperatures during 60 days trek on the North Pole

This is the official press release from Leica UK:

24 May 2010: Following a treacherous 60-day trek covering 483 miles, Arctic explorer and photographer, Martin Hartley, has reached the North Pole with colleagues Ann Daniels and Charlie Paton. Recording photographs that would be impossible to take on digital equipment in the harsh Arctic conditions, Martin has captured vital images using a specially-tested LEICA MP camera with LEICA ELMARIT-M 24mm f/2.8 ASPH lens, which were selected as part of the official photographic equipment to take the historic pictures for the Catlin Arctic Survey expedition.

Martin and the other members of the explorer team drilled holes in the sea ice along their 483 mile (777km) route and collected water samples for a team of scientists to analyse, to advance understanding of the impact of increased carbon dioxide absorption in the Arctic Ocean.

Martin Hartley commented, “At the very start of an Arctic Ocean expedition, temperatures can drop below minus 50 Celsius, but generally temperatures in February and early March hover around the minus forties and low thirties. At these temperatures, battery-powered electronic devices become unreliable and are prone to failure, cameras being no exception. These low temperatures cause everything to shrink: auto focus lenses become too tight and have to be focused manually, aperture leafs often jam; it is during these times that photographic opportunities can be lost. This happens because cameras or batteries are often stuffed under several layers of clothes to keep them warm, and the effort to take the cameras and batteries out is just too much, especially when survival is more important than anything.

“I carried the Leica MP around my neck in a thin waterproof bag to stop the moisture from my breath landing and then freezing on the viewfinder. The camera was instantly accessible all day every day, no matter how cold it got. Every time I wanted the camera to work, it did. The focusing was fast and the shutter never failed – not once – during the entire expedition. Missing a shot because of camera failure due to severe cold was never a worry, no matter how low the temperature reached.”

The three explorers set off in March 2010, and have faced extremely challenging conditions, battling head-winds and negative drift, negotiating thin ice, and swimming across large areas of open water. The analysis of the data captured during the trip and the results of the samples collected by the team will be announced in September 2010.

Further information on the expedition can be found at http://www.catlinarcticsurvey.com and http://www.martinhartleypolar.com. Martin Hartley’s main web site can be found at: http://www.martinhartley.com.

About the LEICA MP
The LEICA MP is a hand-crafted, fully mechanical range/viewfinder camera. Highly reliable and durable, the LEICA MP relies solely on the skill of the photographer, and can be operated without batteries. The robust body can withstand the harshest conditions, and all controls are made from metal. Further information and technical data for the LEICA MP can be found at: http://uk.leica-camera.com/photography/m_system/mp/

About Martin Hartley
Martin specialises in documenting the most inaccessible places on earth. He first gained public recognition at the age of 17 as runner-up in the Young Wildlife Photographer of The Year 1987 and has worked as a professional photographer ever since, winning numerous other awards including both portrait and adventure categories in the Travel Photographer of the Year. His sustained commitment to capture the beauty of unadulterated landscapes and remote communities has taken him to some of the most isolated and challenging locations in the world. His in-depth technical knowledge, creative vision and ability to produce results in the most difficult of conditions makes him a highly sought after expedition and adventure photographer. Martin has been nominated one of Time Magazine’s Heroes of the Environment for his work documenting the state of the North Polar sea ice cover with the Catlin Arctic Survey. His first book, Face to Face: Polar Portraits, in collaboration with the Scott Polar Research Institute, has just been published to accompany a touring exhibition. More at http://www.martinhartley.com

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