A Hundred Photos during a Flicker of Sunlight
March 27, 2009
This afternoon was full of photo opportunities as the Palmer steamed
through a strip of ocean called “iceberg alley” for its multitude of
icebergs. Clouds opened up to reveal blue sky and sunlight. Just about
everyone made their way up to the bridge or the bow—two of the best
viewing spots on the ship—to snap photos at some point during the day.
Icebergs as large as buildings floated past, shining in the sunlight and
casting shadows on themselves and other, smaller icebergs.
A blue-streaked iceberg floats among the many we saw
while passing through "iceberg alley." Photo by Johnny Pierce
We were very fortunate to have sunlight as we pass through iceberg
alley; the combination of plentiful icebergs and sunlight made for
brilliant photos. Icebergs come in a variety of shapes and colors, from
stark white pinnacles to blue-streaked domes, gray-green tabular masses
to jagged ice striped with black. Every iceberg is unique and offers a
different combination of features, including peaks, arches, caves,
rounded mounds, and furrowed curves.
In addition to floating ice, wildlife abounds in the cold Antarctic
waters. We have seen chinstrap penguins dive and porpoise leap out of the
water. Minke whales spout mist as they breathe; humpback whales surface
to breathe and sometimes breach. Seabirds including prions, Antarctic
petrels, cape petrels, and southern giant albatrosses soar alongside the
ship. On a few occasions, we encounter seals swimming or hauled out on
chunks of floating ice.
The science events and people are the final photo subjects. Documenting
what is happening allows us to share with the public on this website,
and will be valuable for the scientists later. A picture is worth a
thousand words for future publications, presentations, and reports.
Also, the scientists can use the photos to help improve equipment or
mimic experimental setups on future expeditions.
Everyone is an amateur photographer out here with a number of photogenic
subjects. Friends and family should be prepared for the hundreds of
photos that will come home from this expedition.
— Amanda Kahn