Everyone is familiar with the story of Robert Falcon Scotts’ tragic South Pole odyssey, and over the years I’ve read most of the popular accounts. However, it was just recently that I realized that the official cinematographer of the expedition, Hebert G. Ponting, had written his own account entitled: The Great White South: Traveling with Robert F. Scott’s Doomed South Pole Expedition.

Herbert Ponting produced some of the most well-known and lasting images of the Antarctic. A self-taught professional, he spent his early career traveling through Asia and Europe delivering wonderfully composed photographs of landscapes and peoples back to a wide variety of magazines, periodicals, newspapers and publishers. Born in Salisbury, England in 1870, Ponting immigrated to California in his early twenties after refusing to pursue the career in banking his father intended for him. He tried his hand in fruit farming and as well as in mining, neither of which were financially successful.

He became interested in photography and spent some years in Japan working on documenting the beauty of the country. Soon after the publication in 1910 of his book “In Lotus-land Japan“, Ponting joined Captain Robert Scott’s crew as the first professional photographer or

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This Post Has 2 Comments

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    Michael

    Great stuff! I have read many of the Scott accounts, but, like you, had not known about this one. That Scott failed continues to amaze me as he seemed so meticulous in his planning. Thanks for this posting!

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    Steve Weileman

    He was meticulous, going over and over his food/fuel amounts etc, so what really surprises me, and I guess we’ll never know for sure, is why at the last minute he decided to increase his pole attempt party by one? Seems out of character to me.

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