Masthead header

Danco Island sunset, Antarctica. Canon 5D Mark III, 24-105mm f/4L IS, 1/250 @ f/11, ISO 100.

I took this photo from the top of Danco island, of a small island on the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula, at approximately 9:45 p.m. Like Alaska in the summer time, Antarctica enjoys a lot of daylight. I did not visit this location on my last excursion to Antarctica, but when looking at this scene, in conjunction with the time of night, location of the sun, you can envision a whole lot of landscape opportunities in a future visit. Besides the obvious beautiful and other-worldly scene itself, the clouds are a key component of interest in this picture. I can fast forward an hour or so in my mind and imagine some pink light flooding the overhead sky. Maybe on the next trip.

  • stock photography - it was beautiful, the super wide angle lens really helped in this case.ReplyCancel

  • Patrick Endres - Ron, I remember that one from the slide show. I liked it too!ReplyCancel

  • Ron Niebrugge - Thanks Mark! We had a great trip – it was nice the weather cooperated.

    My version has a lot less sky – it is interesting to see our different visions for the same scene – I’ll have to adjust and post mine. Actually my favorite version from here has you and Hugh in the foreground taking photos.ReplyCancel

  • Mark Van Bergh - Patrick,

    You’re killing me. :-)

    I also recently looked at Ron’s blog and some of his posts and photos from the trip. Looks like I did miss a good one. Also interesting to see his take on the area vs. yours.ReplyCancel

  • Patrick Endres - Ron,
    I’m so glad we trekked up that hill. Tough to shoot the golden hour at that time of year! I’ll be looking for your version.ReplyCancel

  • Ron Niebrugge - I remember this wonderful night very well! It is fun to see what you came away with – you included a lot more of the great clouds then I did and I like it a lot!ReplyCancel

Chinstrap penguin on iceberg, Paradise Harbor, Antarctica. Canon 5D Mark III, 24-105mm f/4L IS, 1/400 sec @ f/13, ISO 250.

Penguins and icebergs must be the two greatest hallmark subjects of Antarctica, and they are fun to photograph. We only saw one Chinstrap penguin in Paradise Harbour during an afternoon of  exploring the region in a small zodiac. In some regions of the Antarctic Peninsula, populations are declining, although the reasons why are not yet fully understood.

Mixed clouds and sun is my favorite type of weather for landscape photography. It creates a dynamic light that often affords something interesting. The top and back light falling on this group of Adelie penguins gives contrast and separation, and the clouds add a sense of drama to the scene. Placing wildlife contextually in their natural habitat helps tell the story. The colony of birds on this island was significant. I forgot the number, but it was in the thousands, and watching them come and go into the water was both amazing and comical, in the way that penguins seem to invoke a smile simply by the way they move. Just minutes before this photo was taken, the group of people in my small inflatable boat had just experienced a remarkable encounter with a humpback whale and her calf. I wrote about that in a newsletter yesterday, and if interested, you can read it on my website.

Adelie Penguins, Hope Bay, Antarctic Peninsula. Canon 5D Mark III, 100-400mm f/5.6L IS, (100mm). 1/1000 sec @ f/9, ISO 200

  • Patrick Endres - Eric,
    You are in for a treat on your trip to the southern ocean, a great 50th. It’s too far out for me to know my plans for sure.ReplyCancel

  • Eric Rosenbaum - Inspiring shots! Your photographs got me thinking even more about the Antarctica trip I’ve signed onto with Cheesemans for Dec-jan … Just 11 months to go. It will be a 50th birthday “sabatical” of sorts. Realize it’s a stretch, but would be awesome if you were aboard! Either way, I hope it is okay to drop you a line to ask some gear questions. Also, finally put to use the Lightroom demo you gave in Igloo 8 and made the leap. Cant believe i waited so long.ReplyCancel

  • Patrick Endres - Mark, it was a great place, but there were others as well. I used the 100-400 for the long lens, and my 24-105 as well. I had the 16-35 but did not use it much.ReplyCancel

  • Mark Van Bergh - Seems like Hope Bay was a highlight of the trip. Was the 100-400 your primary “zodiac” long lens, or did you also use a 70-200, depending on conditions (light levels)?ReplyCancel

Iceberg in Port Charcot at sunset, Antarctica. Canon 5D Mark III, 24-105mm f/4L IS, (24mm), 1/50 sec @ f/7.1, ISO 400.

In contrast to the last photo I shared from Port Charcot, on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula, this image was taken in the opposite direction, about 15 minutes later. The sun had just set and we were closing out the night at about 11:40 p.m. One general piece of advice for landscape photography is don’t put your camera away when the sun sets. If the conditions are right, and there are clouds in the evening sky and it is clear enough in the west, a lot of color can happen at that point. Especially in far northern and southern latitudes when the sunset takes it’s leisurely time. For the curious minded, there is zero saturation and zero vibrance applied to this image in post production. Just a basic white and black point set, with some shadows boosted in Lightroom 4. How I would have loved to be in a skiff and buzz around those giant icebergs at this moment, but this was essentially a grab shot on the way back to the ship.

  • steve greer - It would be wonderful to have boats standing by, weather permitting, so photogs could cruise around the icebergs to their hearts content. And somehow, I don’t know how, to be able to make a stable platform in the water to use tripods and long exposures – imagine star trails with a big chunk of blue ice in the foreground!ReplyCancel

  • Jean McKinstry - Stunning, and great that you give the settings. Yes, sometimes the colours are there when you think they have gone for the night or morning,here in NZ I find that in the early morning, I am lucky if I am there at the right time, a few minutes and they are gone.Your photo is truly beautiful, thank you for sharing so much with us. Cheers from Jean.ReplyCancel

Lone penguin on iceberg, Antarctica Peninsula. Canon 5D Mark III, 100-400mm f/5.6L IS, (370mm), 1/250 sec @ f/8, ISO 200

This image invokes the great expanse of ocean wilderness and the solitude of a lone penguin, preening itself on a floating iceberg. Antarctica, because of it’s great remoteness and unique and extreme environment is a true wilderness. Moving through it’s waters on an the deck of an icebreaker is one continuous amphitheater experience. With a few lenses and camera bodies, the photographic options are many. I used the 100-400 often in situations like this for its great compositional flexibility with the zoom range of the lens.

  • Skip & Gayle - Ohhh, to have been there with you.ReplyCancel

  • Phyllis Burchett - Beautiful shot Patrick, hope that little penguin isn’t all alone. WOW -45 I sure hope it warms a bit by March.ReplyCancel

  • Mark Van Bergh - I love these type of shots. Shows just how expansive Antarctica is, and just how small the inhabitants are and, by implication, we are as well. Also looks like you had some great ice on the trip.

    As for your -45 below, I thought Alaska was having a bit of a warm streak recently, at least according to something I heard on the radio (admittedly I have not been checking the weather in your part of the world, and maybe that was a while back). Antarctica must have been a sauna by comparison. :-)

    P.S. Hi Sue.ReplyCancel

  • Patrick Endres - Hi Sue, still here, enjoying the -45 below in Fairbanks today!!!ReplyCancel

  • sue rakes - scale, Patrick! always being brave dropping that looooong lense to tell the story. thank you. LOVE this one!

    so glad to hear you are still out there somewhere … worried you might be one of 3 in plane accident recently.ReplyCancel