#688. Photographing Antarctica

#688. Photographing Antarctica

 

Antarctica needs no introduction, we learnt about it in school and there’s a lot of concern now due to Global Warming. It was never high on places I wanted visit until a few years ago. This changed as I thought I’d better see it while it’s still there in all its splendour. The journey to get there is epic.  We embarked upon Polar Pioneer, our ship at Puerto Williams in Chile. This is the most southern permanent settlement in the world. A real frontier town, the large majority of inhabitants are naval personnel and their families.

 

Polar Pioneer docked at Puerta Willaims

 

Then 2 days to cross the Drake Passage, one of the most feared pieces of water in the world. The Drake was kind to us, on our crossing we had a westerly wind, so the rocking and rolling was kept to a minimum.  Bird photography with a telephoto lens is a challenge!

 

Drake Passage

 

The first time you sight an iceberg in the open sea is exciting and breathtaking.  My thoughts were how the early explorers and mariners without modern navigation aids must have had many close encounters, no doubt some with deadly consequences.

 

 

The weather in this part of the world is fickle, the first day of summer it snowed all day!

 

Paradise Harbour

 

As a photographer, who really doesn’t have a set genre, coming to this harsh environment I had all the dreams of capturing “that shot” of a Penguin or a Giant Petrel.

 

Gentoo Penguin @ Hydrurga Rocks

 

Giant Petrel

 

What I found was that the majestic landscape engrossed me, yes the animals where important but they are only a small, but very integral part of this vast and beautiful but very hostile environment. As side issue you may see what looks like dust spots on some photos they are not, in fact its falling snow.

 

Paradise Harbour

 

It’s an amazing experience the first time you actually land on the Antarctic Peninsula, on our trip we only did this twice, most landings are on Antarctic Islands.

 

Chinstrap Penguins

 

The smell is something to embrace, akin to cattle or sheep sale-yards, it does go away after a few minutes as the nostrils acclimatise.

 

Cuverville Island

 

Deception Island is the caldera of an active volcano, which seriously damaged local scientific stations in 1967 and 1969. The island previously held a whaling station. The following images were shot with the intention of endeavouring to show the station and its surrounds as yesteryear and the harsh environment endured by those who inhabited it.

 

Deception Island

 

Deception Island

 

Deception Island

 

Deception Island

Deception Island

Deception Island

 

Deception Island

 

Deception Island

 

Deception Island

 

Elephant Point

 

Elephant Point

 

On the look out for whales and flying penguins.

 

Whales ahoy!

 

Flying Penguins

 

Gold Harbour was gold!

 

Gold Harbour

 

Gold Harbour

 

Gold Harbour

 

Ocean Harbour

 

Ocean Harbour

 

Now to South Georgia – another 2 day crossing

 

Grytviken, South Georgia

 

“On Guard”, Grytviken, South Georgia

 

The grave of explorer Ernest Shackleton, Grytviken, South Georgia

 

Grytviken, South Georgia

 

Elsehul Bay

 

Elsehul Bay

 

Elsehul Bay

 

Lets go swimming, King Penguins, Elsehul Bay

 

Another two-day crossing to The Falkland Islands

 

Sea Lion Island

 

Sea Lion Island

 

Sea Lion Island

 

Sea Lion Island

 

Earlier I mentioned that the landscapes took my fancy.

 

Cuverville Island

 

Paradise Harbour

 

Paradise Harbour

 

Paradise Harbour

 

In summary, a must do experience on par with the Arctic IMHO.

Equipment used:

Nikon D4s – 80 – 400

Nikon D810 – 2.8/724 – 70, Zeiss Milvus 21/2.8, 1.4/35, 1.4/50

 


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16 Comments

  1. Avatar
    jean pierre (pete) guaron January 12, 2018

    I don’t even feel like apologising for this comment – Dallas, that’s the best post on DS ever! – thanks a zillion for sharing all those photos! 🙂

    (Everyone else can fight over it – but that’s my opinion.)

    • Avatar
      Dallas Thomas January 13, 2018

      Thanks Pete your comments are very too generous

      Dallas

  2. Avatar
    Mark January 12, 2018

    What, no Salisbury Plain or St. Andrews Bay at South Georgia? If you didn’t visit one or both of these you really missed out notwithstanding how good South Georgia is. Only two landings in Antarctica? Again, you missed out on a lot. Antarctica, including South Georgia and the Falkland Islands, is one of the best and favorite trips I have ever done, even though I got sea sick on the ocean passages between destinations. If one is able to do it I echo the author – it’s a must do experience. Like no other on earth. If you do go, try to maximize your time there. It’s an expensive trip to begin with, and likely something you will do only once in your life (unless you are lucky). Go for as long as you possibly can to give yourself as much opportunity to witness and explore its majesty and wildlife (many trips that are two weeks in total give you about 5-6 days in Antarctica and don’t include South Georgia or the Falkland Islands; you need at least 3-4 weeks to include it all).

    • Avatar
      Dallas Thomas January 13, 2018

      Unfortunately no, as you would be aware landing is very weather dependent and alas it wasn’t those days. We did spend 20 days cruising, I didn’t go into full details in my text.

  3. Avatar
    Jenny Downing January 12, 2018

    Love your shots Dallas…….I’m a friend of Ken Meredith …

  4. Avatar
    Cliff Whittaker January 13, 2018

    Thank you for posting these gorgeous images, Dallas. I had never before seen any greenery in pictures of the Antarctica. That was a surprise for me. Thank you.

  5. Avatar
    NMc January 13, 2018

    Thanks for sharing these Dallas, they are fantastic.
    Similar to Cliff’s observations about the grass, I am always taken by the more realistic images that most Antarctic visitors share, compared to what many professional’s publish. Visitors tend to record how it was for them, and whilst this sometimes results in totally surreal or out of this world images, they usually include plenty of shots that are more realistic of typical conditions. Professionally published photos tend to concentrate primarily on the most extraordinary images that they can produce, as if over hyping an already amazing environment is the only way to get recognition. Your set is more interesting than most published work because you include some variety in atmosphere and show a more realistic feeling. Having said all that, the opening shot with blue ice glowing is still special.
    Regards Noel

    • Avatar
      Dallas Thomas January 14, 2018

      Hi Noel, I endeavour to capture what I see as realistically as possible sometimes you succeed. Your comments are much appreciated.

      Dallas

  6. Avatar
    Brian Nicol January 14, 2018

    This post is amazing and a great inspiration on chasing the light – and freezing the moment for others to enjoy! This is the best set of images I have had the distinct pleasure to enjoy of Antarctica for their wide range of subject and skillful capture and processing. Thanks for sharing and inspiring us.

    • Avatar
      Dallas Thomas January 14, 2018

      I’m humbled by your very generous comments, the pleasure was mine to share. Dallas

    • Avatar
      jean pierre (pete) guaron January 16, 2018

      LOL – bet it wasn’t just “the moment” that got frozen! 🙂 Dallas, how did you get on with those sub zero temps? Issues like a lens fogging up internally & so on?

      • Avatar
        Dallas Thomas January 16, 2018

        Pete no issues with lens fogging it wasn’t cold enough, both bodies (D4s & D810) performed well, no issues.

        Dallas.

  7. Avatar
    jean pierre (pete) guaron January 15, 2018

    Dallas – this has no direct relevance ot your post, but it has indirect relevance to everything about DS, so I thought I’d use your article as an excuse to share it with everyone in the group.

    Just found this passage in another group:

    “For me, the attraction of photography groups is that they are people with a common interest, sharing their knowledge and experience, trying to improve their skill set and their photos. There is no space in them for trolls.”
    Actually, this is a good point. Sites that are about gear are full of trolls and no pictures, and generally the opposite is also true…

    So now everyone in Dear Susan can reach around and pat themselve on the back 🙂

    • Avatar
      Dallas Thomas January 15, 2018

      Pete, I couldn’t agree more with the sentiments expressed in this quote, thanks for sharing, I just hope others take the time to read it.

      Dallas

    • Avatar
      Brian Nicol January 16, 2018

      The quote is exquisite and why I look at few blogs. What I like about this blog is it inspires me to capture moments and to improve and you share valuable knowledge to help me take my art to the next level.

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