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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On the look out for whales and flying penguins.
Gold Harbour was gold!
Now to South Georgia – another 2 day crossing
Another two-day crossing to The Falkland Islands
Earlier I mentioned that the landscapes took my fancy.
In summary, a must do experience on par with the Arctic IMHO.
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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