The artist was 2nd master on HMS Resolute (Captain Horatio T. Austin) on the Franklin Search Expedition of 1850-51. He produced drawings for and edited the Illustrated Arctic News (the newspaper in imitation of the Illustrated London News) published on board the ship.
The second Franklin Search Expedition (which was the first official navy expedition to search for Franklin) consisted of four ships, HMSs Resolute, Assistance, Intrepid and Pioneer. Ommanney's Pioneer found the first traces of Franklin's expedition at Cape Riley, Devon Island, and Franklin's winter quarters of 1845-46 at Beechey Island. The four ships were beset by ice in Barrow Strait in September 1850. They overwintered there before embarking on exploratory sledging journeys the following summer. They were released from the ice and sailed home in August 1851.