There are places in the world that are so unique, and so visually stunning, that both as a photographer and a lover of wilderness I find them irresistible. First among these has to be Antarctica, simply one of the most spectacular corners of the planet. The wildlife is fabulous, which sort of goes without saying, and the landscapes breath-taking, but it is the ever-changing light that makes every day there memorable. If you’ve never been, save your money and GO.
For me, after a year spent largely in hot, steamy places – Indonesia, Brazil, Peru – I am ready for some penguins and glacial ice. So I am delighted to have been invited to be the National Geographic photography lecturer in Antarctica in early December. The timing is great, since I am working on a revision of my 2000 book on penguins and want to include some new images for the new edition. But I also enjoy teaching in the field, especially in a part of the world I know so well. To learn about the Dec 6 trip, have a look here. You will also see that our lecturer-of-honor (so to speak) on that voyage is Dr. Sylvia Earle, the legendary oceanographer and ocean activist. (Boy, I hope they don’t put me on right after her…)
Meanwhile, this is one of my favorite pictures from a past Antarctic trip – a cluster of Chinstrap penguins resting on top of a stunning blue iceberg in the Weddell Sea. To me, the penguins served as just a size reference, and a visual counterpoint, to the graceful curves, and intense color, of the blue ice. (I have always wondered – how exactly did they get UP there in the first place?)
Then, next summer, I will be aboard the National Geographic Explorer again – but this time at the other end of the world, lecturing on polar bear photography in Svalbard. (departure June 22, 2012)
There is simply no better place in the world to photograph these magnificent animals in their natural habitat — and with 24-hour daylight, summer in Svalbard is a round-the-clock show.
If you have any interest in either trip, or have questions about the itineraries, or polar photography in general, feel free to comment, or contact me directly.