Herbert Ponting. Ponting was a photographer with a great deal of experience and had followed the Japanese Army during their war with Russia. Ponting became interested in Polar travel through meeting polar explorers and by reading Scott’s account of the Discovery expedition. Some of the pictures from the expedition are outstanding in the detail contained but are also beautiful images. After the expedition Ponting went on a lecture tour and he even put together some movies of Scotts expedition.
Herbert Ponting – image from wikimedia commons
November 19th 1911. Scott and the team are struggling on a poor surface. The sledges are coping well but the horses are sinking deep into the snow and it is looking as if Jehu is getting close to the end. When they camp the condition have improved and Scott and Bowers take some pictures of their location and activity.
Commentary. The journal seems to be telling a tale of the two Scott’s. The hopeful Scott whose mood is positive when the weather, surface and horses all do well. But also a more negative side, condemning the horses, surprised at the weather and frustrated by the surface. Scott commentators often site these elements as indicating that he was not prepared for the changing conditions and that he had not thought through the trip and so planned poorly. That seems to propose that what the journal says is how he is behaving with his men. The journal maybe his place to release some of the burden he must be under, to ask himself questions he needs to ask in his own moments. Completing the journal must have been a pause in which he could assess, think, understand and decide on the way forward. The journal may not simply be a medium to record a story, it may have been a trusted companion for Scott.