|1/ Sun breaking
windy in Antarctica, like nowhere else on earth, so
the clouds go scurrying by most days giving ample opportunity
for photography. If the lighting isn't quite right at the
moment, then just wait a little while and it soon will be
- but not for long.
|2/ A huge silence
cold winter temperatures usually mean crystal clear days
as there is no water vapour in the air. The scale of Antarctica
in these conditions becomes quite overpowering, almost frightening.
You can be standing on a cliff edge and be able to see a
clear 100 miles in all directions knowing that the only
other human beings in that 100 mile radius circle are your
fellow winterers in the collection of huts just below you.
If the air is still then the silence too
is equally huge, with nothing moving or making a sound in
the whole of that vast wilderness.
|3/ Antarctic whitescape
used to think that a new word was required to describe the
scenery in Antarctica, around the coast it was frequently
difficult to tell where the land ended and the sea began,
and sometimes what was land, glacier, sea-ice or ice berg
all blended into a single continuous flow of features. "Whitescape"
sums it up for me although that belies the subtlety of the
details of the vistas. Everywhere consists of white and
shades of blue in as made by an artist with a limited palette,
and with so much reflection around, there are no real dark
4/ Geography lesson
never been anywhere in the world where it is so possible
to get as good an impression of the geography of a place
as Antarctica. With the land stripped bare of vegetation
and virtually nothing in the way of human influences to
get in the way, you can just simply see the landscape so
much more clearly. From this particular vantage point it
is possible to see about 80 miles in all directions, the
the two peaks 40 miles away and to the ice covered sea an
equal distance behind that.
skies mean clear sunsets, but because of the high latitudes,
they develop and fade quickly. Snow and ice are a great
bonus in sunsets as they colour up beautifully in reflection,
unlike a conventional sunset picture which contains the
sun, such restrictions just don't apply in these conditions.
|6/ Travel arrangements
by skidoo and sledge is one of the quickest and most versatile
ways of getting around. These skidoos are the heavy
duty version with twin tracks for power and a single ski
in front, as opposed to the more commonly seen single track
- twin ski versions.
duty they are too, we had one that at some point in its
life had been dropped through a hole in the sea ice, had
ropes tied onto it by divers and then hauled up again to
be dried cleaned and put back into service.
Skidoos usually pull sledges in Antarctica for extra
cargo and people. The man at the back is the "jockey"
there to lean into the turn and so steer the sledge to avoid
it tipping up. At very cold temperatures it was the most
awful place to be. No windshield to hide behind, just stand
straight upright and face the gale caused as the skidoo
towed you forwards at great speed. I have memories of standing
there being aware of little other than cold as my goggles
steamed up and froze with me not being able to do anything
about it. The world just passed by in an icy blur.
|7/ Homeward bound
back at the end of a day out on the ice, just a quick stop
to take a few photographs of the sun as it went down.
I recall a similar day when I was jockeying
a sledge (see previous slide) and we were heading over sea-ice
that was apparently firm in front of the skidoo, but was
breaking up behind it unknown by the driver. I was on the
sledge at the end of a 20 foot rope bouncing around on broken
sea-ice thankful that we were travelling so fast and hoping
beyond hope that the driver didn't want to stop for a chat.
Luckily for us, he didn't get the urge until we were safely
onto some much firmer ice.
|8/ Still moment
picture captures a very rare calm moment where there was
no breeze at all to cause ripples on the sea and so disrupt
the reflection. There was just enough time for me to
get into position, grab a few shots and then sure enough,
back came the wind and away went the reflection.