Yep, That's an OCF Magnet at The South Pole.
Back in 2009 we had a little game going wherein people left Strobist OCF magnets at various places around the world. Some were dropped off and tweeted for the first finder to claim. Others were just placed and photo'd in what can only be considered some pretty impressive spots. One might say it even got a little competitive.
Five years later, reader Sebastian Stewart has just dropped an OCF A-Bomb. He has placed an Off-Camera Flash magnet at the South Pole.
Sebastian is on a team of NASA scientists who measure atmospheric conditions by shooting (frickin') lasers into the air and measuring the returns they get from various particles. As such, he travels around the globe. Which makes any OCF challenges a bit easier, natch.
I finally returned to the South Pole for work, I actually just returned to the states after about seven weeks of travel, split between New Zealand and Antarctica. I'm only stateside for a few weeks before jetting off to SE Asia for a month of more work.__________
I was at the Pole replacing an old legacy instrument that was barely hanging on. The new instrument I replaced it with is unique in it's ability to differentiate between spherical and non-spherical particle shape, and give us some information about what exactly is reflecting the laser light back to the instrument. It's much more reliable and should provide a great data set for the coming future.
I remembered to bring your OCF magnet to the Pole with me! I attached two photos for you - one of me holding the magnet in front of the geographic pole sign (the actual 90˚S latitude point - the Earth's axis) and one at the ceremonial pole ~30 feet away (solely for photos and PR stuff - you can see the flags of the Antarctic Treaty signatory nations in the reflection). I am sad to admit that the sign was aluminum so I couldn't stick the magnet to it, but I did my best at holding it still for the photo.
Magnetic South Pole, my ass. Aluminum? Pfft.
As it happens, Stewart has availed himself of some pretty cool travel photography opportunities as a result of his far-flung atmospheric science. You can see his work at sebastianstewart.com.
Many, many thanks for the photo evidence, Stewart. Lotsa luck to anyone trying to top that. And trust me, there have been some worthy efforts to date. Just none quite this cool.
Which Begs the Question…
You may find yourself wondering, what was the previous high-water mark?
There were some cool placements, including some classified locations not generally available to the public. Military bases in deserts, that sort of thing. But I previously had thought this one all but unbeatable:
That's not just any Mercedes AMG. That one happened to be parked at One Infinite Loop in Cupertino California back in the day. No license tag, tho. Hmm.
And that trunk is not magnetic either. But chewing gum works. Name withheld (and metadata stripped) to protect the innocent.
I had thought Jobs' car as an OCF placement to be un-toppable. I was wrong. But still, I don't see anyone besting the South Pole anytime soon.