South Georgia is without doubt one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. I first set foot there in Right Whale Bay, late one summer evening, and was confronted with pandemonium – more seals than I had ever seen before, mixed with more penguins than I could comprehend, surrounded by other birds on the ground and the wing combining to create a cacophony amidst a visually overwhelming background of sheer splendour: beauty, terrifying austerity, diversity, desolation,death, and life in abundance.
It’s not only the wildlife in Antarctica that is photogenic: the landscapes, sea and ice combine in innumerable ways to create awesome beauty. While slowly cruising around Cierva Cove on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula, the groups was captivated by a pair of crab-eater seals. Turning around, I shot the sculpted ‘bergs beneath a brooding sky instead. I don’t shoot in black-and-white often, but the emotion was unmistakable unavoidable.
On New Island in the Falklands, this Striated Caracara became very curious while I lay in the grass and watched the clouds drift past. The ‘Johnny Rook’ has a bad rep – some would say well-deserved – but I found them charismatic and delightful… perhaps because they, too, are a little rough around the edges.
Click the image to enlarge; click here to learn more about this interesting bird.
For the want of time (ok, let’s face it: self-discipline) to write posts, I thought I’d start trying to regularly post excerpts from my photographic collection. It is very likely that the photographs will not be contemporaneous, as I’m seldom ready to post pictures while still travelling, but hopefully they will be interesting.
Today’s image is from my last expedition with Cheeseman’s Ecology Safari’s to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, South Orkneys, South Shetlands and Antarctic Peninsula. It was taken at sea, shooting from the stern of the Polar Star, of one of the most ubiquitous Southern Ocean birds, the Giant Petrel (aka ‘Jeep’, from ‘GP’). Flight photography from the stern of a pitching ship is always entertaining and frustrating at the same time, but I really enjoy the composition of the shot: I tried for hours to get another bird in the frame in a position that is ‘just right’. Shot with Canon DSLR and 300mm lens, hand-held.