March of the Penguins

 A line of Gentoos marches toward the sea

A line of Gentoos march toward the sea

Believe it or not, this was one of the most frustrating days of my entire trip in Antarctica. We made a landing on Booth Island, a spectacular location between towering mountains, but the weather was lousy, with horizontal driving rain. What made it worse was that the angle of the rain precisely matched the angle I needed to capture these lines of penguins marching toward the sea!

After several hours of shooting, I ended up with only a handful of pictures. Why so few? Because most of my time was spent cleaning water drops off the front of my lens. I typically got one frame and then had to spend several minutes wiping it down again to get ready for another. Shielding the lens between shots, I had to uncover the lens at precisely the right moment to get a single frame before the scene was obliterated by raindrops. The irony is, of course, that it doesn’t look rainy in the photos. it looks snowy and pristine, and the penguins are clean and bright, utterly immune to the weather.

Fortunately, this picture does not come with sound; otherwise you would have heard me swearing almost the entire time. But it was such an irresistible scene that I stuck it out until I became worried that I was inflicting permanent damage on my camera. By that time, though, I had what I wanted. Then I just needed a hair dryer for the lens – and fast!

Gentoo Penguins, Booth island, Antarctica
© 2014 Kevin Schafer