South Georgia© All images Ted CheesemanSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth Georgia © Hugh RoseSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth GeorgiaSouth Georgia© All images Ted Cheeseman


  • DATE: Oct 29 - Nov 14, 2015 - EMAIL TO INQUIRE OR REGISTER
  • DURATION: 18 days (including 15 days at sea)
  • FROM: Santiago, Chile
  • WORKSHOP LEADERS: Glenn Bartley


I am very excited to be able to bring the news of this special in-depth expedition to you. This is a product of years of experience of one of the top companies that leads voyages to South Georgia and a passion for everything found there. The itinerary is specifically designed to take advantage of the vibrant early season on South Georgia when snow blankets the mountains and early summer brings special wildlife treats seldom experienced. We will explore vast colonies of King Penguins, elephant seals in their peak of breeding activity, and colonies of Wandering, Grey-headed Light-mantled Sooty, and Black-browed Albatross. This cruise allows for many days to explore this truly unique island, the crown jewel of the Antarctic. The landscape filled with expanses of glaciers pouring into the sea provides rare beauty and photogenic impressiveness that words cannot convey. We will enjoy about 9 days in the midst of the most beautiful and wildlife-rich island on the planet!

Exceptional leadership expertise will enrich your experience throughout the voyage. The priority on this special expedition is to give you the maximum time possible in the field so you can explore at your own pace during a special time on South Georgia.

Come explore South Georgia with us!

South Georgia

Imagine yourself spending 9 days with these guys!


Maximum time in the field: This particular trip is designed to spend as much time in the field as possible to observe all wildlife behavior, sometimes resulting in long days but giving you a more in-depth experience.

Itinerary route: The itinerary route is designed to make many more landings than most trips to South Georgia and that will give us the most possible opportunities with the birds and wildlife.

Global warming: We face an uncertain future when it comes to the earth's climate. Who knows what this area will look like in 5, 10 or 20 years. Now is the time to visit South Georgia...before it is too late!

Increase in Restrictions in this Sensitive Part of the World: Every year it gets harder and harder for tour operators to work in this part of the world. Restrictions and the amount of time that is able to be spent ashore may continue to become more difficult. Visiting this area while it is still possible to really explore is a huge reason to go sooner rather than later.

Photographic guidance: those who have travelled with me know that I am there for my clients and to ensure that they get the best possible images. Please take a look at my testimonials section.


October 29–30: International Flights to Santiago, Chile.

October 31: Flights to Falkland Islands, and Embark on our boat the Ortelius.

There is only one weekly flight from Santiago to the Falkland Islands. Upon arrival in Stanley early in the afternoon, you will be met at Mount Pleasant Airport and transferred to the Ortelius. You will have time to walk through town and explore this small corner of the English empire that appears as if time has forgotten it. Stanley is an attractive town, and the last center of human population we will see before our return to Stanley or arrival in Ushuaia, Argentina at the voyage's end. We will enjoy a welcome with our Captain and our fine staff and crew, as well as our first dinner onboard ship before departing for South Georgia!

November 1 - 2: At Sea Southeast to South Georgia.

By morning we will be far from the Falklands heading southeast with albatrosses at our stern. If the skies are blue, the weather could be quite balmy, about 15°C, between 50-60°F. Photographers on the stern will have a field day following birds on the wing in their viewfinders. Wandering Albatross should be following us today, plus many Black-browed Albatross and other 'tubenoses', plus we always have a chance of a Southern or Northern Royal albatross on the wing. In these waters we cross the Polar Front (aka the Antarctic Convergence), which is excellent birding habitat. Here, two bodies of water meet and as the salty, cold Antarctic water mixes alongside warmer, fresher water from the north, water temperatures plummet from about 4–6° C down to 0° C in a period of about eight cruising hours. The birds we will see, although not in great numbers, will be outstanding, especially the large albatrosses. Fishing fur seals and pods of whales show the richness of these waters. There is a chance of sighting Fin, Minke, and Southern Right Whale and more elusive species as well. In these waters we have found almost a dozen species of petrels (including three species of storm-petrels and Common Diving-Petrel), six species of albatross, thousands of Antarctic Prions, Southern Fulmars plus Greater and Sooty shearwaters. Snow Petrels are even possible as we round the northeast end of South Georgia. During this time at sea, crossing about 730 nautical miles from the Falklands, we will have lectures on photography, wildlife, and ecology related to the areas we will be visiting. The prevailing current will be in our direction.

South Georgia

Our boat - the Ortelius.

November 3 - 11: Explore South Georgia Island.

One of the most remote islands in the world, South Georgia is the heart of this expedition, as we spend about nine days in this wild landscape of penguins, albatrosses, and seals. The mountainous rugged interior, a geologic continuation of the Andes chain, is carved by more than 150 glaciers into spectacular fjords and ringed by islands. South Georgia has incredible possibilities for landings all along the northeastern leeward coastline, the focus of our exploration during these days.


The route to South Georgia.

Possible landing sites on South Georgia.

The timing of this voyage is carefully chosen to experience South Georgia in a seldom seen but extremely vibrant time. The peak of Southern Elephant Seal breeding is in October, and, during this time, the world's largest seals vie to be 'beachmasters', dominating stretches of beach where females come to pup. We will make it a priority to experience this! We will stop in the northeast of the island for an introduction and a chance at some of the special sites unavailable to us once fur seals are in the height of their breeding, then we will travel south to experience the scale and density of breeding colonies in St. Andrews Bay and Gold Harbour. From there, we will take our time exploring back northward, absorbing the great richness and variety offered by South Georgia to voyagers so fortunate as ourselves. Potential Landing Sites in South Georgia include:

Elsehul: Our first landings in South Georgia will be at beaches that will become prohibitively dense with fur seals later in the season. Elsehul is a perfect example, where the sublimely beautiful Grey-headed Albatross nest on steep tussock grass slopes. Here Grey-headed Albatross are the first to lay eggs, so we are sure to find them sitting on nests looking out over the dramatic cove of Elsehul. They sit above a prime fur seal breeding beach, and, at this date, the Antarctic Fur Seals should not be so territorial as to refuse our passage. The opportunity to see Grey-headed Albatross on their nests up close is one that few can hope for in a lifetime of travel. Black-browed Albatross also nest here, along with Macaroni, Gentoo and King penguins; we can expect to see Gentoos on nests in the saddle between Elsehul and south-facing Undine Harbour. This little sheltered cove sits on the northwestern extremity of South Georgia on the eastern side of the rugged Paryadin Peninsula, blocking southern ocean westerly winds with 400-meter walls built of ancient sedimentary rocks folded and stacked during the formation of the Andes.

Right Whale Bay: Fur seals are beginning to set up territories in Right Whale Bay at this time, a beach that in the height of the breeding season looks to be alive with a constant frenetic movement of seals. At the east end of this dramatic walled cove a colony of King Penguins resides, many loafing in front of a waterfall pouring out of the interior of the island.

Salisbury Plain: 60,000 pairs of King Penguins call this glacial plain home, making it a beloved site for any who explore South Georgia. Salisbury is located in the Bay of Isles, looking out on the Wandering Albatross breeding islands of Prion and Albatross. If you sit down quietly, you may find yourself the subject of King Penguin curiosity as one brave individual might try to see if your shoelaces will detach with a tug. King Penguins have a staggered breeding season, where each adult's activities are dependent upon what they did the season before. Those that had no chick or an early fledging chick the previous season will be courting and mating, whereas those that did have a chick in the previous year may delay breeding. These early breeders have the best chances of successfully fledging a chick this year. Molting penguins can be found lining the fresh water streams that run from the glaciers to the sea. Hopefully snow will still be on the ground around the colony, a canvas of white upon which the penguins walk. The Kings share the beach with fur seals and elephant seals, and many a giant-petrel will be patrolling the shores for the penguins that did not make it through the winter.

Prion Island: An unforgettable experience will be on Prion Island in the Bay of Isles. Each pair of Wandering Albatross has a private estate with at least 30 square meters of open space around the nest site for courtship and takeoffs and landings, a real contrast with the King Penguin's territory of less than one square meter. Here also nest the Southern Giant-Petrels, quietly incubating as long as you keep your distance. Tragically, the Wandering Albatross are declining rapidly in numbers, disappearing at sea due to illegal pirate fishing vessels mining 'white gold', as the Chilean Seabass or Patagonia Toothfish is sometimes called. We will stay on the boardwalk and tread very lightly during our visit to Prion Island in respect for the albatross and petrels and for the sake of the burrow-nesting birds that make their homes on this rat-free island. The charming South Georgia Pipit, the world's southernmost passerine (perching bird), will look upon us curiously, singing a rare songbird's tune. Our visit to Prion comes just before the young overwintering albatross fledge, to start years of seafaring life before finally returning here as young adults with hopes of breeding.

Fortuna Bay: At this beautiful site in the lee of the central rib of South Georgia's impressive mountains, we have good chances for clear skies and calm conditions. Fortuna Bay ends in an extended glacial alluvial plain covered with a fine grass upon which a beautifully photogenic King Penguin colony resides. King Penguins spread across what appears to be a lawn is a remarkable sight! We will search for nesting Light-mantled Albatross on the protected steep tussock slopes.

Shackleton Walk to Stromness (optional): Shackleton, Crean, and Worsley were very near the end of their dramatic and perilous self-rescue when they stumbled down into Fortuna Bay from the interior of the island. They had just one short hike remaining, a westward walk of about three miles over to Stromness Harbour to reunite with civilization after over 17 months in the Antarctic. This very enjoyable historic walk will take us over a 300-meter ridge with a stunning view across the König Glacier and down to the now rusting inactive whaling station at Stromness to reunite with our ship. If you don't know Shackleton's story - CLICK HERE

Hercules Bay: Macaroni Penguins are the most numerous of any penguin on South Georgia yet the most difficult to visit. They have the habit of nesting on steep tussock slopes and are especially fond of inhospitably exposed beaches. We hope to be able to slip into Hercules Bay for a visit to see the striking Macaronis just as they are returning from eight months at sea. A waterfall drops down the back of Hercules Bay adding to the dramatic scene.

Grytviken and King Edward Point: Grytviken was one of the most active whaling stations in the history of whaling. But the flensing plan is now empty and the boilers silent. Over 60 years of whaling history is now well told in the excellent exhibits of the South Georgia Museum. Tim and Pauline Carr are largely responsible for what we see in the museum, the product of 14 years of a labor of love for them. The natural history exhibits are enriching, and after browsing and perhaps doing a little museum store shopping, take a short walk around the bay to visit the whaler's graveyard where Shackleton and his right-hand man, Frank Wild, lie. The history of Antarctic exploration comes alive as we listen to tales of the adventures of Sir Ernest Shackleton. This famous explorer crossed the rugged backbone of South Georgia from the west to arrive at Stromness seeking help for his men stranded on Elephant Island. The crew of the Endurance, hand picked by Sir Ernest Shackleton in England for his 1914–1917 expedition, survived on the nutritious, though unappetizing, meat of penguins and seals while waiting for rescue on Elephant Island. Their ship, the Endurance, was crushed by ice in the Weddell Sea. Shackleton and his men had set off in small boats and landed at Elephant Island with hardly any landing room below the steep cliffs along the shore. From here, Shackleton and a handful of men continued in a small boat to South Georgia, returning to Elephant Island 105 days later to rescue the men. In the graveyard where Shackleton is buried, many young Southern Elephant Seals now snooze atop the whalers who no longer threaten them.

Godthul: Gentoo penguins are now the principal resident of this site where whaling once dominated. Beginning in 1908, whaling vessels anchored here leaving remains now of wooden platform boats called jolles and a beach thick with whalebones. Two waterfall fed small lakes sit on the gentle shoreline before jagged peaks rising into the island's interior. We can expect the sky to ring with the reedy beautiful Light-mantled Albatross courtship calls as they sail in synchronized flight overhead. These subtly beautiful torpedo shaped birds favor nests in the steep tussock slopes above the inlet.

St. Andrews Bay: There are places in the world so far beyond description that any attempt rings hollow. St. Andrews Bay is such, with upwards of 150,000 pairs of King Penguins forming not a colony, but a landscape. You will be mesmerized as you view the many penguins walking along the beach and the gentle sloping landscape as you stroll from the landing site, the air filled with calls and life all around you. But as you walk over the glacial moraine bordering the north end of the colony, the mass of penguin calls hit you, all blended together into one vast wave. Here you will see the bounty of the rich, vast southern ocean. It must be seen, heard, and experienced to be believed.

At this time of year, King Penguins will be far from the only attraction at St. Andrews. The world's largest seal, the Southern Elephant Seal, gathers here by the thousands creating one of the densest concentrations of life on the planet. We can expect to see thousands of females with young pups nursing. Many large male 'beachmasters' seek to own a stretch of beach and are willing to fight in great tonnages of seal jousting, because here lie their best hopes for breeding. The male elephant seal puts so much into his territorial defense that his life expectancy is less than half that of the female. But, if he is a successful beachmaster, this short life is one of great glory! We are very fortunate to be able to experience the elephant seal breeding season, usually long past when most travelers to South Georgia have the chance to visit.

Gold Harbour: Simply, Gold Harbour is a glorious place, with something, indeed many things, for everybody who enjoys nature. This is one of the most protected sites in South Georgia, with great chances for clear blue skies. Fair or foul, under these skies we will find a beach at least as densely packed with Southern Elephant Seals as St. Andrews Bay (though a smaller beach, so fewer numbers overall), about 25,000 pairs of King Penguins, many of whom line a glacial meltwater river winding behind the beach, a Gentoo Penguin colony, steep but hikeable slopes with Light-mantled Albatross nesting on their flanks, and a tumbling icefall bordering the back of the Harbour making for stunning landscapes and the occasional explosion of glacial blocks tumbling down to the coast. More than a few will likely elect to skip lunch, unable to leave this wildlife rich scene.

Royal Bay: Several landing sites attract us to Royal Bay, though the exposed bay is very weather dependent. A growing King Penguin colony has topped 30,000 pairs at Brisbane Point in recent counts, with constant activity bouncing in upon the cobblestone beach boulders through what can be heavy surf. A fjord-like glacially carved valley empties into Moltke Harbour, a backdrop to as many as 1,000 elephant seals. If calm conditions prevail, we will enjoy landings here, but Royal Bay has a reputation for strong winds so we may find ourselves retreating for a return to Gold Harbour, a mighty fine compensation during rough conditions!

Cooper Bay: At Cooper Bay we will strive to get close to the marvelous Macaroni Penguins, the more southerly equivalent of the Rockhoppers, which nest at this accessible landing. A hike up through tussock slopes will reward us with Macaronis in a frenzy of early breeding season activity. Cooper Bay is also home to South Georgia's only colony of Chinstrap Penguins. We are sure to see them traveling through the surf and will likely meet some on the beach or loafing on an iceberg. However, the Government of South Georgia has restricted access to the colony due to a 2004 outbreak of avian cholera, and the colony will probably still be closed to landings. Cooper Bay sits just inside from Cooper Island, a rat-free island that is extremely important breeding habitat for burrow-nesting seabirds and South Georgia Pipits.

Drygalski Fjord and Larsen Harbour: Southern South Georgia differs strikingly in geology from the remainder of the island, and in the sheer walled Drygalski Fjord we can really see this difference. As we cruise up the fjord we can see granite, gabbro, and metamorphic rocks to starboard (ship's right), remnant of the Gondwana continental margin. To port (ship's left), the mountains are built of the 'Larsen Harbour Complex', uplifted ocean floor basalt and granite that rose in the formation of the Andes then was ripped and rafted east to its present location over the last 40 million years. The Risting Glacier calves frequently into the waters of the fjord, stirring up marine life that is quickly snapped up by Antarctic Terns and maybe a few pure white Snow Petrels. We may take a short zodiac trip up Larsen Harbour to check in on a small colony of Weddell Seals who are likely to have pups ashore with them.

Cape Disappointment: Captain Cook was the first to lay eyes on South Georgia, and his great hope was that he had found the tip of a great southern continent. The name Cape Disappointment reflects his feelings when he found that South Georgia was no continent at all. He was none too impressed with South Georgia without apparent exploitable resources, but the Black-browed Albatross that breed in large numbers on the sheer slopes here never did mind his departure. They are less numerous now due to the impact of long-line fishing, but still impressive in number. If weather is favorable we may ship cruise to this southern extreme for a good look and a thorough exploration of this crown jewel of the great Southern Ocean.

November 12 - 13: At Sea Northwest to the Falkland Islands

Sadly we will bid farewell to magnificent South Georgia as its last islets slip astern. But even as we leave, the wildlife opportunities are far from over. We may find whales and will certainly see many seals in the near-island waters. Now familiar seabirds will make fine companions for our travels far to the northwest. We will pay attention to ocean temperature with interest to see if the polar front has shifted during our stay on South Georgia. And we can take this chance to rest a bit after many long days in the field, catch up on reading, photo editing. and learning more about the unique Antarctic environment through a lecture series onboard.

November 14 - 15: Travel homeward.

Those flying from Stanley to Santiago, Chile will disembark on November 14 for their afternoon flight, and, depending on flight schedules, arrive home on November 15.

If continuing onboard the Ortelius to Ushuaia (at no extra cost):

November 14 - 15: Sail southbound to Ushuaia, Argentina.

One last short ocean crossing remains where avid seafarers will be on the bridge and stern to spot whales, dolphins and seabirds, especially Southern and Northern Royal albatross. Sheltered from the circumpolar current by the bulk of South America, this passage is usually fairly calm. We will celebrate a farewell captain's dinner during our last evening and recap the magnificent experiences of the voyage with a group show of images.

November 16 - 17 : Disembark in Ushuaia and flights homeward.


On this photo adventure we will focus on the following fantastic opportunities:

Unique Antarctic Wildlife: So many penguins!!! Tens and hundreds of thousands of these iconic birds. Not only as individuals but overwhelmingly large groups. Add on all of the Albatross species and pelagic birds and this trip promises some really unique and incredible opportunites. Plus there will be seals, whales and more surprises.

Flight Photography of Seabirds:During the ocean crossings we can have a blast photographing the pelagic birds that will be following the boat. These are sure to be unique additions to any wildlife photography portfolio.

Spectacular landscape photography: Mountains, glaciers and penguin-scapes! This is one extremely spectacular place and the opportunities for landscape photography are superb. We will also keep our fingers crossed for great weather so that we may be able to create beautiful mountain images.

Using flash effectively as a source of fill light: In all environments iit is extremely important to learn how to use flash - either as fill or as a main source of light.

Digital Workshops:  During the evenings for those who wish to participate, we will have image review sessions and talk about techniques and what we can expect to see the next day.  In these post processing workshops participants will have ample opportunities to improve skills in Adobe Photoshop.  Guided by Glenn, participants can learn how to take their images from straight out-of-the-camera RAW images to stunning final works of art (ready for printing or websites).

A Few Highlight species include:

  • King Penguin
  • Macaroni
  • Gentoo
  • Chinstrap
  • Rockhopper
  • Wandering Albatross
  • Grey-headed Albatross
  • Light-mantled Albatross
  • Black-browed Albatross
  • Giant Petrel
  • Many other pelagic birds like petrels, prions, fulmars and shearwaters
  • Fin, Minke and Southern Right Whales
  • Fur and Elephant Seals
  • And so many more!!!


  • Glenn focuses on more personalized attention,instruction and guidance.
  • Glenn is regarded one of the world’s top professional photographers in bird portrait photography. Just go pick up a birding magazine and you will almost certainly find his images.
  • Glenn often utilizes local guides with years of experience in their home areas.
  • Glenn has more experience.  He has been to the places that he will take you – not for a week or two – but for months!!  Glenn knows where to get the best possible images and can show you how to achieve them. 
  • Having completed his Msc. in Environmental Studies Glenn is very environmentally and socially aware.  When we visit communities around the world we give something back to these places and the people who live there. 
  • At the end of the day Glenn’s goal is simple – To give you the best possible photographic workshop imaginable.



  • The cost of this photo workshop is USD $9,995 to $16,995 depending on cabin choice.
  • Accommodations are designed to be shared (click for more info re. cabin types / costs).
  • Registration is made through Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris (Be sure to meantion that you are with my group though).

Prices include:

  • All expert photo instruction
  • 16 nights and 17 days on board the Ortelius (or 18 nights and 19 days if continuing onboard the Ortelius to Ushuaia).
  • All meals beginning with breakfast on October 31 through lunch on November 14 (or through breakfast on November 16 if continuing onboard the Ortelius to Ushuaia).
  • All landing fees, passenger fees and port taxes, including landing fees of approximately £157.50 for South Georgia, and an IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators) passenger fee of $26.
  • Airport transfers in Stanley and Ushuaia.
  • Lodging in Santiago on October 30.
  • Expedition Log with daily accounts and photographs from our journey.

Price does not include:

  • International airfare to place of tour origin
  • Any additional nights accommodation outside of the tour dates
  • Additional tips for staff such as guides and camp staff
  • Fees for passport, visas, immunizations and insurance
  • Bar bills at lodges
  • Laundry, phone and other items of a personal nature
  • Medical costs or hospitalization, room service, alcoholic and other beverages, etc. If you have special dietary needs, please indicate them on your Reservation/Release Form.

Payment Terms:

Registration will be completed through the tour operator - Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris.

Suggested Equipment:

It is recommended that each participant bring the following equipment:

  • A digital SLR and a lens of 300mm or greater.
  • A medium focal length lens (e.g. 70-200mm)
  • A wide angle lens (if you are interested in landscape photography)
  • A tripod is recommended
  • A flash
  • Dry bags for landings


Email or call Glenn – 250-412-2904 for more information

More detailed information about your specific tour is available upon request. Upon registration you will receive a detailed information package.

Please note:

  • Glenn Bartley Nature Photography strongly recommends that you purchase travel insurance. Emergency evacuation insurance is also required for this voyage.
  • All funds are quoted in USD dollars and subject to exchange rate fluctuation and gas surcharge if we are billed additionally.
  • We will attempt to stay true to this itinerary. However, certain unforeseeable conditions (political, climatic, environmental, cultural, or wildlife migrations) may require changes to the itinerary. We reserve the right to alter any itinerary at any time, if necessary. We will do our absolute best to notify participants of changes as far in advance as possible.

South Georgia


© 2014 Glenn Bartley Nature Photography. All Rights Reserved.