Category

Antarctica

Seven of my Favorite Images #challengeonnaturephotography

Alaska, Antarctica, Bald Eagle, California, Fiji, Hawaii, Mexico, Ocean Sunfish, Penguin, Surf, Underwater Photography

In December a Facebook “challenge” was making the rounds named #challengeonnaturephotography. One of my favorite underwater photographers, Allison Vitsky Sallmon, nominated me to give it a try, and these are the seven images I plucked from my files to share. Each bears a special place in my personal history of travel, diving and photography, even if they don’t cut any new ground photographically. If you want to connect you can find me on Facebook and Instagram. Cheers, and thanks for looking!

Ocean sunfish recruiting fish near drift kelp to clean parasites, open ocean, Baja California, Mola mola

Ocean sunfish recruiting fish near drift kelp to clean parasites, open ocean, Baja California.
Image ID: 03267
Species: Ocean sunfish, Mola mola

Sunrise breaking wave, dawn surf, The Wedge, Newport Beach, California

Sunrise breaking wave, dawn surf.
Image ID: 27978
Location: The Wedge, Newport Beach, California, USA

Dendronephthya soft corals and schooling Anthias fishes, feeding on plankton in strong ocean currents over a pristine coral reef. Fiji is known as the soft coral capitlal of the world, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias, Gau Island, Lomaiviti Archipelago

Dendronephthya soft corals and schooling Anthias fishes, feeding on plankton in strong ocean currents over a pristine coral reef. Fiji is known as the soft coral capitlal of the world.
Image ID: 31378
Species: Dendronephthya Soft Coral, Anthias, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias
Location: Gau Island, Lomaiviti Archipelago, Fiji

Bald eagle spreads its wings to land amid a large group of bald eagles, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, Haliaeetus leucocephalus washingtoniensis, Kachemak Bay, Homer, Alaska

Bald eagle spreads its wings to land amid a large group of bald eagles.
Image ID: 22669
Species: Bald eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, Haliaeetus leucocephalus washingtoniensis
Location: Kachemak Bay, Homer, Alaska, USA

A curious Adelie penguin, standing at the edge of an iceberg, looks over the photographer, Pygoscelis adeliae, Paulet Island

A curious Adelie penguin, standing at the edge of an iceberg, looks over the photographer.
Image ID: 25015
Species: Adelie Penguin, Pygoscelis adeliae
Location: Paulet Island, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

Aerial photo of gray whale calf and mother. This baby gray whale was born during the southern migration, far to the north of the Mexican lagoons of Baja California where most gray whale births take place, Eschrichtius robustus, San Clemente

Aerial photo of gray whale calf and mother. This baby gray whale was born during the southern migration, far to the north of the Mexican lagoons of Baja California where most gray whale births take place.
Image ID: 29029
Species: Gray whale, Eschrichtius robustus
Location: San Clemente, California, USA

Humpback whale (male) singing, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui

Humpback whale (male) singing.
Image ID: 02813
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae
Location: Maui, Hawaii, USA

Stock Photo Gallery: Antarctica Photos

Antarctica, Galleries, Southern Ocean

Antarctica Pictures and Stock Photos of the Antarctic Peninsula

I have assembled my favorite Antarctica Photos into a stock photography gallery. The Antarctic Peninsula is perhaps the single most photogenic place I have ever been. The photographs nearly take themselves and every direction one turns holds a scenic view. Some of Antarctica holds a stark beauty, while other regions are so chock full of life it is unbelievable. I cannot wait to return to the Southern Ocean and sea Antarctica again.

Click the image below to see a selection of my favorite Antarctica photos. Thanks for looking!

Pack ice, a combination of sea ice and pieces of icebergs, Weddell Sea

Pack ice, a combination of sea ice and pieces of icebergs, Weddell Sea.

Stock Photo Gallery: Icebergs

Antarctica, Galleries, Southern Ocean

Stock photos of Icebergs

One of my goals in January 2010 when I traveled to the Southern Ocean and Antarctica was to make a series of good iceberg photos. I think I succeeded! It was wonderful cruising around the Antarctic Peninsula and witnessing the variety of shapes, sizes and hues of the thousands of icebergs that we saw there. We also saw impressive icebergs in the South Orkney Islands (Coronation Island) as well as a few around South Georgia Island. Click the image below to see my Gallery of Iceberg Photos. Thanks for looking!

Tabular iceberg, Antarctic Peninsula, near Paulet Island, sunset

Tabular iceberg, Antarctic Peninsula, near Paulet Island, sunset.

Stock Photo Gallery: Penguins!

Antarctica, Falklands, Galleries, Penguin, South Georgia Island, Southern Ocean

Stock photography of Penguins

I’m gradually revisiting my website galleries and improving them, removing images of lesser quality (unfortunately a lot of those!) and updating existing galleries with new material. If you enjoy penguins please take a look at my collection of Penguin Photos. With one exception**, all of these penguin photos were taken on a single long trip I made to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island and the Antarctic Peninsula (see my lengthy PDF trip journal if you want the deets, or you can view the same info as a series of blog posts). I was thrilled, nearly everyday of my trip to the Southern Ocean, to see penguins in the wild, sometimes in vast numbers, and I cannot wait to return to those places again. Within a few months of returning, one of the images was selected as the cover and inside spread in Nature’s Best, which was a real treat as I had not had an image published in that great magazine in some years. Thanks for looking!

Stock Photos of Penguins

King penguin colony. Over 100,000 pairs of king penguins nest at Salisbury Plain, laying eggs in December and February, then alternating roles between foraging for food and caring for the egg or chick.

** The exception is the Galapagos Penguin underwater photo which was made in, you guessed it, the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.

Standing Around Looking Cool

Antarctica, Penguin, Southern Ocean

These Adelie penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae) in Antarctica seem unable to make up their minds which way to go. In fact, they are on a mission, walking from their nests on Paulet Island to the edge of the water, to swim out to sea and forage. I had earlier laid my camera down on the snow alongside the path there were following, and when the penguins strolled up I triggered the camera a few times from 50′ away with a $10 radio trigger I bought on Ebay. The seemed curious about the clicking sound coming from the strange and shiny black box laying on the snow, and stood around looking at it for a while. I made a few fun photos that way, including this one.

A group of Adelie penguins, on packed snow, Pygoscelis adeliae, Paulet Island

A group of Adelie penguins, on packed snow.
Image ID: 25021
Species: Adelie Penguin, Pygoscelis adeliae
Location: Paulet Island, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

Tabular Iceberg Photos

Antarctica, Southern Ocean

Photos of Tabular Icebergs in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean

Some of the most impressive sights I beheld during my trip along the Antarctic Peninsula were enormous tabular icebergs. Tabular icebergs are sheets of ice, sometimes many miles long, that detach from Antarctica and travel with currents about the Southern Ocean. Tabular icebergs are characteristically flat in appearance, although their sides can be quite sheer and/or serrated. Like all icebergs, about 90% of the mass of a free-floating tabular iceberg is underwater. Tabular icebergs do run aground of course, in which case they can be canted at severe inclinations as they are pounded and broken apart by wave energy and other loose bergs.

Tabular iceberg, Antarctic Peninsula, near Paulet Island, sunset

Tabular iceberg, Antarctic Peninsula, near Paulet Island, sunset.
Image ID: 24778
Location: Paulet Island, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

Tabular iceberg in the Antarctic Sound

Tabular iceberg in the Antarctic Sound.
Image ID: 24783
Location: Antarctic Sound, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

Tabular iceberg in the Antarctic Sound

Tabular iceberg in the Antarctic Sound.
Image ID: 24784
Location: Antarctic Sound, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

Photography Expedition to Antarctica, South Georgia Island and the Falkland Islands

Antarctica, Downloads, Falklands, South Georgia Island, Southern Ocean, Wisdom

I’ve finally gathered blog posts and select images into an informal report of my trip to the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia Island and the Falkland Islands in January 2010, which is available along with my other articles, reports and downloads. This trip was so much fun, and so rich in wildlife and photography possibilities, that I am already planning two more trips to southern waters to see more. The blog posts from which this article originates are filed under “Southern Ocean“.

Humpback Whales in the Gerlache Strait, Antarctica

Antarctica, Humpback Whale, Southern Ocean

As we sailed north from Neko Harbor to the South Shetland Islands, we came upon a large assemblage of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) feeding in the Gerlache Strait. They were on krill, as evidenced by the color of their waste, but the water was too rough to make out patches or balls of the invertebrate stuff. At one point Jim estimated we had seen over 45 humpbacks in the area about 2 miles long by half the width of the strait. One group of five whale provided some excellent examples of surface lunge feeding. While not the coordinated bubble-net feeding that is normally associated with Alaskan humpback whales, the behavior of these whales did include some bubble displays.

Humpback whale lunge feeding on Antarctic krill, with mouth open and baleen visible.  The humbpack's throat grooves are seen as its pleated throat becomes fully distended as the whale fills its mouth with krill and water.  The water will be pushed out, while the baleen strains and retains the small krill, Megaptera novaeangliae, Gerlache Strait

Humpback whale lunge feeding on Antarctic krill, with mouth open and baleen visible. The humbpack’s throat grooves are seen as its pleated throat becomes fully distended as the whale fills its mouth with krill and water. The water will be pushed out, while the baleen strains and retains the small krill.
Image ID: 25648
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae
Location: Gerlache Strait, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

Humpback whale lunge feeding on Antarctic krill, with mouth open and baleen visible.  The humbpack's pink throat grooves are seen as its pleated throat becomes fully distended as the whale fills its mouth with krill and water.  The water will be pushed out, while the baleen strains and retains the small krill, Megaptera novaeangliae, Gerlache Strait

Humpback whale lunge feeding on Antarctic krill, with mouth open and baleen visible. The humbpack’s pink throat grooves are seen as its pleated throat becomes fully distended as the whale fills its mouth with krill and water. The water will be pushed out, while the baleen strains and retains the small krill.
Image ID: 25649
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae
Location: Gerlache Strait, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

In fact, it was easy to know when the group of five was about the surface since one of the five predictably produced a subsurface blast of air a few seconds before surfacing. With a little practice it was possible to put the camera near the spot at which the whales would surface and then it was a matter of luck, firing the frames as quickly as possible and hoping the whales would surface with open mouth and full, pleated throat in the frame. We watched the whales until at least 10:30pm, when I finally got a shot of them coming toward the boat. One shot in particular illustrates the baleen, tongue and fully-engorged throat of a krill-feeding humpback. It would have been inconceivable to get this image 10 years ago when I was shooting film, at such a late hour in dim, overcast light, but the modern cameras allow for this sort of photo with relative ease. ISO 1600, lens wide open at f/4, hand-holding a stabilized 500mm lens on a rocking boat at only 1/500, and yet three of the four frames of that sequence are sufficiently sharp for publication. Wonders never cease. About 11pm we finally leave the whales and continue north through the Gerlache Strait, leaving the Antarctic Peninsula in our wake about dawn. Alas, Antarctica is now just a memory.

Scenery in Gerlache Strai.  Clouds, mountains, snow, and ocean, at sunset in the Gerlache Strait, Antarctica

Scenery in Gerlache Strai. Clouds, mountains, snow, and ocean, at sunset in the Gerlache Strait, Antarctica.
Image ID: 25680
Location: Gerlache Strait, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

Next: Hannah Point, Livingston Island, South Shetland Islands
Previous: Neko Harbor, Antarctica
Trip Index: Cheesemans Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia
All “Southern Ocean” entries

Neko Harbor, Antarctica

Antarctica, Humpback Whale, Southern Ocean

Photos of Neko Harbor, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

I awoke this morning to find us in the calm anchorage of Paradise Bay. The water was glass, and bergs were slowly drifting by the boat, riding tidal currents. I set up a time lapse sequence on the stern of the boat and went below for breakfast. An hour later the sequence was finished, and it turned out to be pretty good when viewed in HD. The gentle swing of the boat on its anchor combined nicely with the slow movement of the berg and the passing clouds. Soon after breakfast we motored for about an hour to Neko Harbor, passing a smaller ship (with 250 passengers, crowded!) on our way into Neko Harbor. What a spectacular place. This was one of my favorite spots on the entire peninsula because we finally had a full day of encounters with mammals. (I had had my fill of penguins well before this morning). Light rain and some snow eventually cleared to broken sunshine lighting up the peaks that tower about the ice-filled bay. Two glaciers calved large bergs periodically, including a large snow avalance that blew apart into a cloud of snow late in the afternoon.

A glacier fractures and cracks, as the leading of a glacier fractures and cracks as it reaches the ocean.  The pieces will float away to become icebergs, Neko Harbor

A glacier fractures and cracks, as the leading of a glacier fractures and cracks as it reaches the ocean. The pieces will float away to become icebergs.
Image ID: 25654
Location: Neko Harbor, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

On my morning zodiac outing, Al picked out some good ice for us to inspect, and Patrick took us in for a close look. Huge columns of fractured blue ice defined the leading edge of a glacier. We took a lot of pictures of those formations, and also simply motored by them admiring them. Once back on the big boat for lunch I learned that another group was blessed with an inquisitive minke whale which stayed right next to their zodiac for 90 minutes, spyhopping and circling the 9 lucky viewers. One of the group mentioned to me, in a somewhat reverential tone, that it was a “life moment” for her. I recall some of my earliest, best encounters with whales at close range, and I understand what she must have felt. Good for them. Throughout the day most of the us were fortunate to see scattered crabeater seals (Lobodon carcinophagus), Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii) and leopard seals resting on bergs, along with an occasional minke whale and many good views of humpback whales. I managed to take a few nice photos of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) fluking up in front of ice, a shot which I had tried for years before in Alaska with no luck. At 4:30pm it was time to wrap it up and head out, too soon to leave Neko Harbor but we had to begin the long sail north through the Gerlach Strait and on to Hannah Point.

Southern humpback whale in Antarctica, with significant diatomaceous growth (brown) on the underside of its fluke, lifting its fluke before diving in Neko Harbor, Antarctica, Megaptera novaeangliae

Southern humpback whale in Antarctica, with significant diatomaceous growth (brown) on the underside of its fluke, lifting its fluke before diving in Neko Harbor, Antarctica.
Image ID: 25647
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae
Location: Neko Harbor, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

A crabeater seal, hauled out on pack ice to rest.  Crabeater seals reach 2m and 200kg in size, with females being slightly larger than males.  Crabeaters are the most abundant species of seal in the world, with as many as 75 million individuals.  Despite its name, 80% the crabeater seal's diet consists of Antarctic krill.  They have specially adapted teeth to strain the small krill from the water, Lobodon carcinophagus, Neko Harbor

A crabeater seal, hauled out on pack ice to rest. Crabeater seals reach 2m and 200kg in size, with females being slightly larger than males. Crabeaters are the most abundant species of seal in the world, with as many as 75 million individuals. Despite its name, 80% the crabeater seal’s diet consists of Antarctic krill. They have specially adapted teeth to strain the small krill from the water.
Image ID: 25650
Species: Crabeater seal, Lobodon carcinophagus
Location: Neko Harbor, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

Next: Humpback whales in the Gerlache Strait, Antarctica
Previous: Cloudy Morning in Paradise Bay, Antarctica
Trip Index: Cheesemans Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia
All “Southern Ocean” entries

Cloudy Morning in Paradise Bay, Antarctica

Antarctica, Southern Ocean, Time Lapse, Video

Last night we sailed down the Lemaire Channel a second time, after a visit to Peterman Island. This morning we awoke in Paradise Bay. We would remain here for a few hours while we ate breakfast. As I was below in the galley enjoying eggs, cheese, fruit and coffee (the food was great on the M/V Polar Star), I left my camera alone out on the deck shooting one frame every 4 seconds. I slapped them together into a time lapse video, which you see below thanks to Youtube!

Next: Neko Harbor, Antarctica
Previous: Peterman Island, Antarctica
Trip Index: Cheesemans Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia
All “Southern Ocean” entries