Wednesday, February 28, 2007
A Valentine's Day MUGGING!
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Reflections of Antarctica
February 8, 2007
So why would any sane person brave huge seas in the Southern Ocean to visit a continent that is the driest, coldest, and windiest on Earth? So many friends have asked me why in the world I would want to go to this frozen place, what could possibly be the draw? And yet I find my mind drifting, just as the huge tabular icebergs are doing this very moment. Antarctica isn't just a place, it's a symbol for a way of life. Far-away, wild, untouched, unowned, and unconquered. Perhaps one of the last places on this planet you can say that about. How could you not be drawn to such a place? For my part I know that I will return, this place has captured my imagination, as well as my camera. Thank you for making the journey with me through the following images. I hope you enjoy them!
Magic leopard moments!
Sometimes it all just comes together perfectly. It is these rare moments where I am truly interacting with an animal in its own element that makes all the long hours of carrying around all that silly camera equipment worthwhile. This adult leopard seal approached and continued to circle our inflatable Zodiac time and again. She was especially interested in the motor, and each time First mate Magnus would drop the engine into gear she would swim right up to the moving propeller to get a face full of prop wash. What must she be thinking? She was as interested in us an we were in her...just who is watching whom here? Hmmm....
Antarctic sunsets and sunrises
Of course it is not EVERY sunset or sunrise here in the Antarctic where the light is incredible, but it happens often enough to keep me up late and getting up early to follow the light. All of the images here were taken between midnight and 3:00AM! I can't help but recall the old addage of "early to bed and early to rise..." Just what does that make me? A grumpy, sleepless photographer until that magic moment when the sky lights up and the colors just keep getting better and better. Besides, you can always sleep when you go home!
Chinstraps on the loose!
Chinstrap penguin colonies are a sight, sound, and SMELL that is not easily forgotten! These gregarious penguins gather in the tens of thousands at some of their breeding areas, such as here at Baily Head on Deception Island. While walking among the colonies it is almost impossible to hear yourself think as chinstraps are all screaming "kauk, kauk" and beating each other with their flippers! They are very curious and will always come and check you out if you simply sit down beside the colony. Their curiosity seems to always get the better of them...
Antarctic humpback whales
After being hunted to near extinction in the 20th century by steam-powered whaling ships, the humpback whale is slowly making a recovery here in Antarctica. The operative word here is slowly, as the humpback whale population is still only at a single-digit fraction of what it was prior to commercial whaling. Incredibly enough, Japan is returning to whaling humpback whales this year with a quota of 50 to be taken this season. It is hard for me to imagine wanting to slaughter one of these magnificent creatures after watching it play, swim, and breach surrounded by huge icebergs and snow-covered mountains. The irony is that the very ice and snow may be in danger as well as the animals that live surrounded by it...
These blue-eyed shags are busy raising their own chicks here on the Antarctic Peninsula. These members of the cormorant family are easy to identify in breeding season by their bright blue eyes the orange nasal coruncles ("knobs") on their upper beak. The bright blue eyes really shine when they catch the light just right...
Visit www.wildlifeimages.net to see my other photos.