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Last week I moved a box of stuff into a temporary office at NIWA so that I can make preparations for K131 to Antarctica. The plan is to test some photographic techniques/set ups for documenting ice crystals and ice crystal clusters. Getting good documentation of these beautiful structures will hopefully help the scientists to understand the process and cycle of sea ice formation and break up a little better. Worse case scenario, I get some really nice pictures, best case, I contribute to real science which is a very exciting thought to me.

Day one began with security, health and safety inductions, cake at morning tea to celebrate a very expensive piece of equipment surviving Cook Strait and not crashing into rocks over the weekend and a bit of work.

As I won’t be able to make real ice crystals that join together, I have been looking into creating substitutes  – which suits my training and interest in materials and sculpture.

Over the past weeks, I tested some pva – the test failed in the short term, but it might come good in the coming weeks. I poured some pva onto some plastic sheets to wait for it to dry clear…but after a week, it was still milky and not translucent enough. So, onto plan b which involved raiding the stationary supplies – clear packaging tape and clear binder pockets and I started to create a material that resembled ice [for photographic purposes] as closely as possible. Layers of tape complete with air pockets and layering and dust particles were created and then cut into crystalline shapes and joined together like a 3D puzzle. I tested a few different ways of joining as well as photographing  them – different coloured backgrounds [black worked best] and colour vs black and white photography, settling on B+W as more detail could be seen. The photos above are the best results from the first day – bare in mind, they are from my iPhone with a little processing on a simple photographic app to increase contrast, but that is all.

Later in the week I began to test out some time lapse documentation of my fake ice platelet sculptures on a lazy susan using a few different cameras and lighting combinations.

Below are the links to these lovely experiments. Yes, I am having a lot of fun and it is to be continued!

Before I forget, over the past couple of weeks, I have also had my Antarctic medical as well as attended a first aid course. There is still a bit to organise, but all is moving in the right direction.

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/136781080″>wednesday test 2 – Large</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/gabbyo”>Gabby O'Connor</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/136794184″>Thursday Test</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/gabbyo”>Gabby O'Connor</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>