Hi Everyone -
Today we woke up to the most beautiful sunny weather, got bundled up and went by zodiac into the shore for a hike with our friend, the 8 foot blow up swan. Dragging her through two penguin colonies we finally found a beautiful pristine white landscape that was the perfect setting for some Swan, rainbow umbrellas and balloon letters to happen! For a few hours we played around the various ways of setting up shots and in the end made some glorious images that I just adore. Check out the sneak peaks below. One interesting fact was that we were in a bay with such high glacial cleaving that we were not allowed to be down on the beach incase of tsunamis!
After lunch we set off on a choppy kayak and while photographing one of the inner tubes the iceberg cracked and fell into one another popping our inner tube! Can you believe it? After the kayak a member of the the National Geographic staff asked If I would give a small presentation on some of the images I’ve created so far. I agreed and honestly, it was very scary, but everyone seemed to really like them.
Tonight we had a sunset so majestic it could make you cry freezing ice tears. The 24 hours of daylight aren’t too conducive to sunsets so this was a special presentation.
Off to bed! Thanks for reading along.
Happy Weekend Everyone -
Today was a day I’ll never forget and it started off with a bang.
At 7am we were woken up by the Expedition leader to grab some breakfast before getting ready to disembark by zodiac into the Wedell Sea which is best known for its incredible icebergs floating inside an amphitheater of glaciers retreating into the ocean.
We packed our gear and put on extra layers as we started to carry an 8 foot inflatable swan, two 36″ beach balls, an inner tube and a hot punk raft down to the zodiac. Attaching each item with fishing wire, we were able to create a way for us to cast these items out into the iceberg abyss.
The three of us headed out and came to an incredible glacier within minutes. Luccio, our driver and National Geographic naturalist warned us that we couldn’t get too close the icebergs since at a moments notice, they could break and, with only 10% of the full iceberg above water, turn over and catapult us into the air. So sure enough, just after I finished my first shot of a green inner tube and was pulling it back to the boat, a gigantic piece if glacier the size of a house fell into the sea right in front of us. Luckily we had just left the scene but it set a tense mood for the remainder of the shoot.
If you can imagine for a moment boating around by zodiac in a small bay-type area full of thousands of pieces of floating ice that are melting and falling apart every minute. Now, imagine winds and currents causing the ice to move constantly with total unpredictable results. Now imagine floating around in this ice land throwing out beach balls with a string attached and having the wind take it like a kite before it falls into a conglomerate of pack ice or lands in front of a giant iceberg. Just imagine the insanity of launching an 8 foot swan boat out into the swirling currents underneath an iceberg that resembles a gigantic archway. It was all so crazy!
After a few incredible moments in the morning of shooting, the wind became so strong that the ice started becoming unsafe so we came back aboard and had a nice lunch before traveling for another 3 hours to an incredible spot named Planco Island. Here we went on an upward hike to the very top of the island where many penguins are currently nesting. We got very lucky, as when we arrived to shore the sun came out and the day turned into the most beautiful thing – we were on an island in a frozen oasis surrounded by incredible views in all directions. We hiked to the very top and made a few new penguin friends before shooting some images from a new series I am working on that involves stanchions and a red rope. The idea is that things that are important are blocked off in a museum or a movie theater and in wildlife these things, if not blocked off, will eventually have us paying a serious price for them.
After the beautiful hike we had dinner with weather we have not seen yet on this trip: sun in all directions. Now at 11pm as I pull my covers over my bed it’s very hard to go to sleep with so much beauty outside the windows.
Looking forward to a new day tomorrow!
Hi Everyone -
Today we woke up at 6:30 and got dressed before immediately grabbing a coffee and heading the bridge of the boat where the captain navigates the ship. We met the expedition leader, Lisa at 7am to find out what the plan was for the day.
At 8am we embarked on a zodiac to spend some time going up to the sea and glacial ice to study it’s formation and to look at wildlife. Seeing the ice up close was incredible and it really excited me for some images I’m hoping to take tomorrow. We eventually came across a leopard seal that was taking a nap up on a piece of ice which was unique to see in person.
After the zodiac ride we embarked immediately to shore. However this wasn’t any shore, this was the shore of an old volcano and it had incredible brown cliffs rising high up in the sky made entirely out of old lava. Just at the base of the snow covered lava cliffs was a penguin colony home to thousands of Penguins who are currently nesting. Walking the beach from the boat to the colony we passed many of them just walking on by like it was no big deal. When we got there we had a few shots to execute but after we were able to observe and spend some time watching the hundreds of nesting penguins- we even saw a few new baby penguins who had just been born, still in the shell! It was like out of National Geographic movie.. absolutely sublime. I still can’t get over the way the penguins run with there little arms out and short feet running as quickly as possible but more of a waddle… just too cute.
Afterwards we boarded the boat for a brief lunch in the chart room before being called to the bow of the boat as we were heading into a channel full of ice that we were going to break through with the boat. Attaching our Go Pro camera to the the ship we created a nice video of the experience and it was incredible to stand up at the front and lean over and watch as the boat cracked through every piece like it was no big deal. Eventually we came to a stop in the ice and the captain actually turned off the engines and dropped the anchor and a few of the expedition leaders went out on the ice and tested its strength. Sure enough it was strong enough that we all got to go out on the ice and they even brought out a barbecue and made bratwurst for us all to enjoy!
Not skipping a second we were off on the ice shooting beach balls, lounge chairs, and our favorite shot of the day- the pink flamingoes. We placed three flamingos in the snow (granted we are on a frozen over lake) and suddenly from way yonder in the distance a group of penguins is running towards us. After a few minutes we realized they were coming straight for the flamingos so we backed up and photographed them in the backdrop of the flamingoes… It couldn’t have been more fun and completely random!
After exploring all over the ice we headed back to the boat for dinner and had a fabulous presentation on Antarctic Killer Whales which we are hoping to catch a sight of in the coming days. Also the two national geographic photographers on board gave a presentation and they brought up me and my work to everyone which was so nice- made my day!
Off to bed- tomorrow is a day of water sports out on the ice!