The Black-browed Albatross, a sleek, beautiful and artfully soaring bird nests in giant numbers on the Falkland Islands (approximately 400,000 brids in total). The Falklands, or Islas Malvinas, depending on your political persuaision, lies about 2 days east (by boat) of the southern tip of Argentina. The islands are well vegetated, in contrast to the Antarctic Peninsula, and life is abundant in the relatively mild summer season. Of particular note, and fame, is a colony of black-browed albatrosses that nest along the shore of Steeple Jason Island. To sit at the edge of the colony is to be washed in waves of sound along with a continual fleet of incoming and outgoing birds in flight. The windy shores are perfect for these largely, soaring birds whose wingspan reaches 8 feet. Remarkably, they can live up to 70 years!
The general, daily mode of operation was for our expedition staff to get all guests ashore and map out the permissible route of travel and access in relation to the specific environmental sensitivities of the area. Then switch gears rapidly, grab a camera and shoot until the schedule required my presence. I did not find this the easiest of things to do, since the landscape, wildlife and general sense of place was quite overwhelming and it takes a little time to absorb the surroundings before being photographically creative. If I had any mantra regarding my trip it would be that I wish had more time with each and every scene, and that is certainly the case with these beautiful birds.
I used every lens in my bag at this spot, but if you have ever photographed birds in flight with confusing backgrounds, you might well know that it is often an experiment. I attempted to isolate one bird against the surrounding pattern of nesting birds in the background, and most of my efforts were failures. Panning in conjunction with a moderately slow shutter speed introduces enough blur in the background to help give distinction to the foreground bird in focus. A faster frame rate would have helped but then I’d be editing three times as many photos! A few other scenes worked o.k., but there were very many almosts in the files.