“It’s a tall order being asked to choose one image amongst many as a favourite. Scrolling through last season’s Antarctic images – about 20,000 individual frames- it’s a dazzling variety of sweeping landscapes, stunning icebergs and clear-blue skies, comical yet sublimely perfect penguins, countless ear to ear smiles from our passengers, crew and staff and whales, so many whales…
But choose I must and this image of a snow petrel landing on an iceberg in Fournier Bay is one of my favourite moments from the 2019-2020 season.Photographers know well that capturing birds in flight is tricky. Not only do their fast and fleeting movements make the technical aspects of shooting a challenge, but there’s so many variables in terms of position, birds are not known as obliging models! I like this particular image because so many things have come together. The light is bright but soft enough not to blowout the highlights. The wings, eyes and water droplets are in nicely balanced focus while the background and landing surface melt away with just enough detail to hint at where you are but not so much as to distract from the obvious subject.
I like to look for what I call ’tension’ in a photograph and I feel that here with the way the petrel is positioned: wings cupped with taught feathers braking against the cold air and legs outstretched ready for the impact of landing. It looks both graceful and ungainly at the same time. Snow Petrels are small, they’re fast in flight. We often see them soaring around large icebergs that the ship needs to give a wide berth to and they nest in high, craggy locations. They are elusive. They are also exquisitely beautiful and while clearly robust enough to survive a harsh environment, they also appear quite fragile. All things we could say about Antarctica itself.”
If you’re interested photography in Antarctica and traveling alongside our Photography Coaches like Phillip Stone, reach out to our team any time to find out more!
See more of Philip’s incredible work here.