More Photo Pros. More Photo Ops. The Most Extraordinary Way to Explore the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica.
November 18 – December 8, 2023
- Five photo pros and three naturalists onboard our private ship. More personal instruction, attention, and more inspiration to hone your craft.
- We limit this workshop to under 50 guests—so you’ll feel welcome and cared for—instead of being one among hundreds on a tourist ship.
- We go where other ships can’t, so you can capture more unique photographs. We have more landings and excursions, and you can be on every one of them every time.
- Single-occupancy and double-occupancy cabins are available.
Join us for a Southern Ocean adventure like no other! On this all-inclusive 22-day journey, we’ll experience the region’s best, including the subantarctic Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and the Antarctic peninsula. This trip has it all! We’ll encounter diverse and abundant wildlife, be awed by expansive landscapes, and visit historic sites that evoke the days of early exploration.
We’ve timed our expedition for the end of the Antarctic spring and the very beginning of summer, one of the best times for photography in the region. In the subantarctic islands, this is courtship time for seabirds; vast numbers are gathering. King, macaroni, gentoo, and chinstrap penguins are mating and beginning to tend eggs, and the previous year’s king penguin chicks are shedding their down. Wandering albatross chicks—nearly grown by now—are beginning to test their wings. Elephant seals are consolidating their harems as females arrive en masse to the beaches, and a few fur seals may also be spotted. On the peninsula, snowfall is still likely during late spring, adding drama to icy landscapes and wildlife tableaus, and whales are starting to arrive at their summer feeding grounds in the region’s nutrient-rich waters. Expect rapidly changing spring weather but also dramatic skies and unparalleled light conditions. Fewer visitors this time of year means greater opportunities to explore.
For this journey, we’ll be traveling aboard the ice-strengthened vessel, Polar Pioneer. The Polar Pioneer is a small, extremely sturdy expedition ship that provides regular expedition cruises in polar waters. Built in Finland in 1985 as an ice-strengthened research vessel, she was refurbished in 2021 and 2022 to provide a comfortable range of triple, twin, and suite cabin options for a maximum of 54 expeditioners. We are offering double and single-occupancy cabins on this expedition.
The highly-experienced crew ensures that this incredible ship is always in excellent condition and that guests’ experience is of the highest quality. The single, twin, and suite cabins are stylish and luxurious, and the large, spacious bridge offers incredible views of some of the world’s most staggering landscapes and seascapes. Meals on board are quite good—the breakfast buffet has both continental and hot options, lunch is served at your table, and the day ends with a three-course dinner. You won’t go hungry! Mealtimes are set by us and are based on our shore excursions—photography first.
Muench Workshops is the sole charterer, so we “own” the boat for this expedition. We control the itinerary. We’ll be able to adjust our course for ice conditions, light, and extraordinary wildlife and landscapes. This allows us to maximize photographic opportunities with as many shore landings and zodiac excursions as possible. Our ship is small and can access all potential landing sites—we’ll go where the big ships can’t and make more landings. And with only 50 guests alongside five pros and three naturalists, our instructor ratio is unmatched. Expect one-on-one instruction in the field and our signature image reviews in the evenings and during sea days. We’ll also have plenty of talks on the region’s natural history and photography topics—wildlife photography, beginning and advanced Lightroom, photographic composition, technical refreshers, and much more. We are dedicated to helping you capture the natural beauty of Antarctica! Your non-photographer spouse, partner, or traveling companion is welcome, and we’re happy to help them make the most of the adventure.
As always, everything’s all-inclusive.
About the wildlife: This workshop offers significant opportunities for photographing wildlife, and while we do our best to maximize our wildlife encounters—based on past experiences, local knowledge, and the current conditions—we need to impress upon you that the wildlife really is wild and that we don’t control it.
Please note: The below itinerary is a representative guide only. Our exact route and program may vary with local weather and ice conditions, as well as wildlife viewing opportunities. Our prospective route will be evaluated daily by the Captain and/or Expedition Leader, and a program sheet will be issued on board each morning. Flexibility is the key to success.
November 16, 2023: Arrive in Santiago, Chile. Overnight at our recommended hotel, we’ll make the arrangements for you, and we will invoice you before the expedition.
November 17, 2023: You’ll have this day free to explore Santiago. We meet as a group at 4:00 PM for orientation and to discuss the expedition.
November 18, 2023: We have a very early flight from Santiago to Mount Pleasant, Falklands. We have arranged this flight and have bought your tickets. Our flight is at 5:10 AM so we will leave from our airport hotel quite early, approximately 2:00 AM since this is an international flight. If you are not with us at our group hotel, you are responsible to get to the airport on your own, and not later than 2:10 AM.
Upon arrival in Port Stanley, we will embark on the Polar Pioneer and begin our expedition. After a welcome drink, we’ll introduce the Muench Workshops team and our expedition staff, and you’ll have some time to get to know your new shipmates. We’ll set sail this evening and aim for a landing at one of our favorite spots in the Falklands, known for its wealth of seabirds.
November 19, 2023: In the Falkland Islands. Weather permitting, we will have another morning landing before heading out in the afternoon toward South Georgia.
November 20–21, 2023: At Sea.
We have an extensive lecture program for you during our days at sea. Our signature image review sessions and lectures will be offered these days, enabling the Muench Workshops pros and expert naturalists to share their knowledge of photography, wildlife, and the unique ecosystems we will be encountering.
November 22, 2023: At Sea—South Georgia
South Georgia is in our sights! With its heavily glaciated peaks and abundant wildlife, Rugged South Georgia is regarded as one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring places on earth. If the weather is favorable for a landing, we’ll aim to visit one of the following sites in the late afternoon:
Elsehul is a beautiful little harbor situated at the northwestern extremity of South Georgia, on the eastern side of the knife-edged summit ridges of the Parydian Peninsula. It is the only visitor site on the island. Colonies of nesting black-browed and grey-headed albatrosses nest above the harbor-sheltered waters and are easily observed by zodiac.
Right Whale Bay
Historical records for Right Whale Bay date back to at least 1922, when South Georgia was still a center for commercial whaling. Situated between Craigie Point and Nameless Point, along the north coast of South Georgia, the bay’s black ashen beach is home to a small colony of king penguins, giant petrels, gulls, and breeding elephant seals.
November 23–28, 2023: South Georgia
Our exact itinerary will depend on local ice, wind, and sea conditions, but the following destinations are among those that we would like to explore:
Sometimes called the “Serengeti of the South,” Salisbury Plain is a wildlife site without parallel. Several large glaciers provide a dramatic backdrop for thousands of king penguins nesting among tussock grass. Crowds of curious, gentle penguins surround us. Southern Giant Petrels and Elephant seals also abound. Prepare for an awe-inspiring experience as massive male elephant seals joust on the beach and female elephant seals tend to their heavy big-eyed pups. Fur seals will also be present at the back of the beach.
Prion Island is a beautiful islet covered in tussock grass and an ideal nesting site for wandering albatross. The site offers comfortable viewing platforms, accessed by a wooden boardwalk, where we hope to watch the albatross engage in their spectacular courtship displays.
Grytviken lies within King Edward Cove, a sheltered harbor between Hope Point and Hobart Rock on the western shore of Cumberland East Bay. The rusting ruins of the Grytviken whaling station are situated on a level plain at the head of the cove. Now the site of the South Georgia Museum, the station remains a focal point of interest for many visitors, as does Sir Ernest Shackleton´s grave in the nearby whaler´s cemetery and his memorial cross on Hope Point.
The scenery in this area is breathtaking, even by South Georgia standards. The glaciers and snow-covered peaks of the Allardyce Range—Mt. Sugartop, Mt. Paget, Mt. Roots, Nordenskjöld Peak, Mt. Kling, and Mt. Brooker—form a magnificent backdrop to the cove, and the views from King Edward Point, in particular, must be among the finest on earth.
Godthul is a 3km long inlet, situated 9km east of Cumberland East Bay, on the eastern shores of Barff Peninsula between Cape George and Long Point. A floating factory ship was stationed here each summer between 1908 and 1929, and a small shore depot supporting the whaling operations was established close by at the southeast corner of the harbor. Rusting barrels, wooden boats, and scattered bones are fascinating relics of the whaling era. Today, gentoo penguins are abundant on Godthul’s tussock plateau, and light-mantled sooty albatrosses nest in the cliffs that encircle the harbor.
St Andrews Bay
The surf-tossed coastline at St. Andrews Bay runs north-south in a 3km long uninterrupted sweep of fine dark sand, bounded in the interior by the Cook, Buxton, and Heaney Glaciers. The bay hosts the biggest colony of king penguins on South Georgia, and early in the season, fur and elephant seals are also abundant. Leopard seals patrol the rocks at this end of the beach, hunting for penguins along the edge of kelp beds. Sheathbills dart in and around the penguin colony, and Cape petrels nest in a small number on the cliffs north of St. Andrews Bay. A few white-chinned petrels and light-mantled sooty albatrosses nest on the tussock slopes. Brown skuas and Antarctic terns breed on the outwash plain and scree slopes at the north end of the beach.
Cooper Bay is an indentation in tiny Cooper Island, at the southeast extremity of South Georgia. Cooper Island holds Special Protection Area status, vital for its vast colonies of chinstrap and macaroni penguins, snow petrels, Antarctic prions, and black-browed albatross. We’ll likely also spot fur seals on the beach.
Drygalski Fjord is also located in the far southeast of the island. The glaciers in this dramatic fjord have retreated significantly in recent decades, but they remain one of the most striking features of the coastline. With a bit of luck, we may get a chance to see a glacier calve.
November 29–30, 2023: At Sea
We will spend the next two days crossing the Scotia Sea towards the Antarctic Peninsula. Take advantage of the time to be out on the deck, catch up on some reading, check through and edit your photos, or reflect on the magical experiences of South Georgia. Lectures and our signature image review sessions will be offered throughout these days.
December 1, 2023: Elephant Island, South Shetland Islands
We hope to have a chance to view the enigmatic Elephant Island from the zodiacs or the ship. Sir Ernest Shackleton fans will need no introduction to this historic windswept island. In 1916 Shackleton was forced to leave 22 of his men stranded on these shores while he and five others embarked on an unbelievable last-ditch rescue attempt. What followed is one of the most incredible rescue stories of all time.
December 2, 2023: At Sea—Antarctic Peninsula
We’ll meet with the Expedition Team to prepare for the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands. Later today, we hope to arrive at the Antarctic Peninsula in the area of the scenic Antarctic Sound. Time and weather permitting, we hope to be landing today at Brown Bluff, located on the Tabarin Peninsula, south of Hope Bay. The site has been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International because it supports a breeding colony of about 20,000 pairs of Adelie penguins and about 550 pairs of gentoo penguins. Other birds nesting at Brown Bluff include Cape petrels, Wilson’s storm petrels, and kelp gulls. Weddell seals regularly haul out here, and leopard seals often hunt offshore.
December 3–5, 2023: Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands
Some of the sites we’ll potentially be visiting over the next couple of days:
The Gerlache Strait separates the Palmer archipelago from the Antarctic Peninsula. It offers scenic cruising through snow-covered mountains and large icebergs and is also a popular place for spotting humpback whales.
Dark, rocky Cuverville Island lies in the scenic Errera Channel at the center of the Gerlache Strait. The island has been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International because it supports a breeding colony of about 6500 pairs of gentoo penguins, the largest for this species on the Antarctic Peninsula. Other birds nesting at the site include southern giant petrels and Antarctic shags. An alternative will be Useful Island.
Deception Island is an active volcanic crater accessed by a narrow inlet. Remnants of an old whaling station still line its steaming black sand beaches, and a walk up the caldera wall provides impressive views across the crater and out to sea. A handful of birds nest here, including Antarctic shags, and chinstrap penguins can sometimes be spotted on the beach.
Half Moon Island
Crescent-shaped Half Moon island stands at the entrance of Moon Bay, between Greenwich and Livingston Islands. The island has been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International because it supports a breeding colony of about 100 pairs of south polar skuas. The island also supports about 2000 pairs of nesting chinstrap penguins, as well as many terns, gulls, storm petrels, petrels, skuas, sheathbills, and shags. Weddell and Antarctic fur seals regularly haul out on the beaches, and whales are often spotted just offshore.
December 5–7, 2023: At Sea
We leave Antarctica and head north across the Drake Passage. Join our lecturers and naturalists on deck as we search for seabirds and whales. We will also enjoy some final lectures. Take the chance to relax and reflect on our fascinating adventures over the past days.
December 8, 2023: Disembark Polar Pioneer at approximately 8:00 AM. Expedition concludes. Flights can be arranged for any time after 11:00 AM this day. We’ll have a bus transfer from the pier to the Ushuaia Airport, leaving from just outside the port at a time TBD. If your flights are later in the day, you can take taxis on your own.
Moderate: You will need to be able to walk up and down the ship’s steep gangway. You must be able to embark and disembark zodiacs in possibly rough waves and you must be able to handle walking in snow and on possibly slippery, uneven ground.
Arrive Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (SCL), Santiago, Chile anytime on November 16, 2023. Depart Ushuaia – Malvinas Argentinas International Airport (USH), Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego after 11:00 AM on December 8, 2023. Air travel delays are common. Please arrive early, possibly even the day prior, so you don’t miss any of the workshop.
What to Bring
Please see our page How To Prepare For Your Workshop. We will send you a detailed information document 90 days before your workshop. This document will include specifics of where and when to meet, gear and clothing recommendations, and more.
- Meals and lodging onboard the ship.
- Waterproof boots for shore excursions.
- Many hours of basic and advanced Lightroom instruction.
- Multiple image reviews and post-processing sessions.
- Naturalist lectures and presentations on board.
- Photographic guiding and instruction from 4 pros.
- Image reviews and post-processing instruction.
- Travel to and from Santiago Chile, Mount Pleasant Falkland Islands, and Ushuaia Argentina.
- Santiago Chile Hotel November 16 and 17, 2023.
- Passport and visa fees (if applicable).
- Any meals or accommodations before or after the workshop dates.
- Items of a personal nature.
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Medical Evacuation Insurance (required).
- Travel Medical (required).
- Trip Cancellation Insurance (optional, but recommended).
- Anything else specifically not listed as included.
- Your non-refundable deposit will hold your space in this workshop.
- Further non-refundable payment is due by February 1, 2023.
- The non-refundable balance is due not later than August 1, 2023.
- The payment amounts are determined by your cabin choice.
- In addition to our standard Terms and Conditions, for this workshop all payments are non-refundable, and this is why we recommend comprehensive travel insurance including trip cancelation.
- While not expected, we do reserve the right to add a surcharge for possible fuel cost increases. This can happen even right up until the time of the expedition, but we try to get as much notice as possible.
- Need special payment arrangements? No problem, just ask us.
|Cabin Choice||Tuition||Deposit||Further Payment||Balance Payment|
|Twin Cabin with Shared Facilities (2 Left)||$19,995||$6,995||$7,000||$6,000|
|Single Cabin with Shared Facilities (2 Left)||$34,995||$11,995||$12,000||$11,000|
|Twin Cabin with Private Facilities (2 Left)||$24,995||$8,995||$8,000||$8,000|
|Single Cabin with Private Facilities (2 Left)||$44,995||$14,995||$15,000||$15,000|
|Suite (SOLD OUT)||$29,995||$9,995||$10,000||$10,000|
“I went to Antarctica with Muench Workshops. Have been on several adventures with them (7 or so ... and counting) - they are rockstar photographers (without the rockstar egos :)), patient and compassionate, and just so much fun to travel with. They exceed my expectations every time, and I've made many wonderful friends along the way. They are going back to Antarctica in 2018 ... ”
“There is just no way even now to put into words the feeling of sitting in the zodiac on mirror still icy water, in the fog, in this incredible silence among the icebergs the size of a modern day hospital on the BOTTOM of the earth. Who gets to DO that? Who gets to feel that? When I look at the images I took on this trip I FEEL that feeling again. SO yes you met my expectations, So yes you exceeded my expectations but I really didn't know what I was expecting. It was an EPIC trip that I still am trying to wrap my head around as I go back to work and the normal routine of normal life. ”
“I just came back from a trip to Antarctica with Muench Workshops. One of the most enjoyable and informative trips I have ever taken. Muench Workshops provided seven photo specialists and at least five tour/wild life specialists to help us to improve our photographing skills and to enjoy what the Antarctica provides in a very environmentally friendly way. The staff was very friendly, patient and eager to help us to enjoy the trip. I will strongly recommend anyone who is interested in taking a trip to see Antarctica to look into the opportunities Muench Workshops provides. ”