Archive for March, 2013

Almost amazing

Posted in antarctica, penguins, photography, Uncategorized, whales, wildlife with tags , , , , on March 30, 2013 by polarguide

Still sifting through the thousands of Antarctic photos from this season.  I keep mulling over certain shots that should have been amazing but the forces of nature were not always working in my favor and although the subject matter might be impressive the quality of the images is not great.

Orca whale and Wandering Albatross

Orca whale and Wandering Albatross

Orca whales and Wandering Albatross are incredible animals in their own right.  To capture a great image of either is rare, but to capture an image of both at the same time while far out to sea is a once in a lifetime opportunity.  This was my opportunity and although I got the shot, no matter how hard I try, I have to admit its a not a great shot. You can barely recognize the Orca, the Albatross is out of focus and the colors are muted due to the fog.

Gentoo Penguin and whale Vertibrae

Gentoo Penguin and whale vertebrae

Several Vertebrae and ribs bones of large whales litter the beach’s in some parts of Antarctica.  I layed on the ground for an hour or more hoping a penguin would waddle over to this large whale vertebrae and stick his head through the hole, and one did. I had prepared my self and my camera but the composition is poor and the light is dull and the background is too busy and the penguin in the foreground with his back to camera ruins the whole shot for me.

Then I though: Wouldn’t it be great if a whale swam past and I could get a portrait of a penguin with the whale bone and a whale in the back ground.  Guess what, about ten seconds later two whales swam by.

Gentoo_vert2

I fumbled around to find the right angle. I changed lenses in a bit of a hurry and nabbed this shot. But again the light is grey and uninteresting. The color of the water, the whale bones and the rocks are too similar, they all blend together. There’s not enough contrast, nothing pops. If you look in the upper right portion of the picture, just below the horizon there is a black cycle shape on the surface of the water.  That’s a humpback whale, barely noticeable and out of focus. I thought the icebergs would add a nice element, but they don’t. Or maybe they do, but the composition is all wrong.

niceice

This was one of the most beautiful pieces of ice that I saw this summer.  It was washed up on the beach and I wanted to show how the still ice was shaped by the motion of the waves.  I do like this shot but its a little boring.  I spent a-lot of time with this piece of ice and I thought the outcome would be better.  I should have changed my position and looked at it from different angles.

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Still Reflecting

Posted in antarctica, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 29, 2013 by polarguide

I am in Seattle today.  I will be hanging around here for a couple of weeks waiting for the sub-let agreement on my apartment to expire. I have a few friends in Seattle and I plan  on spending some time visiting and eating at every Korean restaurant I can find.  I also enrolled in a U.S. Coast Guard captains course.  A two-week course to obtain a license to captain small vessels in Alaska.

Bobby in Seattle with her pet chicken, Velveeta

Bobby in Seattle with her pet chicken, Velveeta

On the last two voyages of the Antarctic season the weather was so spectacular it was possible to take incredible reflection photographs. I have been thinking of ways to improve the balance and symmetry in my photographic compositions.  Often while I am trying to photograph I am also working: driving a boat or paddling a kayak.  It seems I am always  photographing on the run and often shooting moving subjects, wildlife just doesn’t sit still. Rarely do I have time to consider angles, lines and symmetry.

prions over the Drake Passage

prions over the Drake Passage

I have posted a few pictures of prions reflected over the Drake Passage. I keep posting them because seeing a prion over the Drake passage is a rare event for most people. Having a Drake Passage crossing that is calm enough to produce mirror image reflections almost never happens. When it does the reflection of sky on the water surface produces a surreal effect. the photos seem to be of birds flying with the sky as a back drop, but the reflection makes us second guess what we are seeing.

When the water is calm prions like to drag the tip if their wing along the surface of the water.  Shooting a back-lit bird in evening light produces amazing effects.

Prion wing dragging with back lighting

Prion wing dragging with back lighting

prion wing dragging with back lighting

prion wing dragging with back lighting

Sunny calm days in Antarctica produce amazing opportunities for reflections and reflections are one of the easiest ways to incorporate symmetry into wildlife/nature photography. It’s almost cheating, but given the conditions I am shooting under: Driving a zodiac, shooting from the deck of a moving ship or the fact that I never use a tripod, make it challenging to take interesting photos with great composition and symmetry.  here are a few more of my favorites.

Antarc_reflect4

Antarc_reflect7

Antarc_reflect8

Antarc_reflect10

Antarctic Reflections

Posted in antarctica, penguins, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 26, 2013 by polarguide

I am sitting in the Buenas Aires airport waiting to board a flight back to Alaska.  The Antarctic summer season has ended and I will be in transit for the next 20 hours until I reach seattle.

Leaving the ship is like leaving home and the relationships made on board are family bonds but I am never sad to start my travels home because I have so much to look forward to in the Alaskan spring. Yet I am already reflecting on my past three months at sea in Antarctica and looking forward to next season.

Here are a couple reflective photos from the past two voyages.

Reflections of Antarctica

Reflections of Antarctica

Gentoo penguin reflection

Gentoo penguin reflection

Prion reflections

Prion reflections