Of all of the species of penguins found in Antarctica, the Adelie is my favorite by far. I think this in part attributed to their cartoon like appearance, with definitive and simple lines of color demarcation. The white circles bordering their eyes make them seem eternally happy and engaged. But they are favored even more so because they exhibit the most curious and friendly behavior of the penguins, at least in my experience. This was also observed by the crew of the Endurance, when traveling through ice floes in the early 1900’s. Here is a quote from the book: Endurance, Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage
“On the ice itself, Weddell and crabeater seals were a common sight as they lay sleeping. And there were penguins, of course. Formal, stiff-necked emperors, who watched in dignified silence as the ship sailed past them. But there was nothing dignified about the little Adelies. They were so friendly they would flop down on their bellies and toboggan along, pushing with their feet and croaking what sounded like a clark, clark.”
This lone Adelie penguin launched out of the water and onto this snow covered piece of sea ice when a group of us were riding in a zodiac around the ice dotted waters near Yalour Island. They are nearly fearless of humans, and are sure to evoke a smile within minutes of observation. From a photography perspective, the predominantly white scene requires some positive exposure compensation in order to render the snow and white chest of the penguin in their true tonal value. The 100-400mm variable zoom lens is incredibly versatile for photographing from a small boat, and I used it extensively on the trip. For those skeptical of this lens, the penguin is in extremely sharp focus. I did also bring the 200-400 f/4 along as well, but due to my work responsibilities during this trip, it was less realistic to handle a large lens like that and attempt to drive a zodiac. The size and ease of use of the 100-400 won out in such circumstances.