Saturday, January 6, 2007

Antarctic Art

I recently found a website of some great Antarctic artwork (Isn't it peculiar how the rabbit trails you wind up following when searching for something on the web leads you to another that is often more interesting than what you originally were searching for?) I found this website while searching for pictures of a Velvet Asity- go figure. The artist is John Gale and he does a wonderful job of getting it right. It is the essence of a place that give me the feeling that the artist has been there and understands the quality of light and atmosphere that makes me feel like I am there when I look at his work. Or maybe it's that John and I see the place similarly. I have quite a few photos that echo his paintings. See the Gentoo penguins below. My photo is on the left.

Although it is hard for me to pick favorites for the work that John has on his website, one that stands out for me is the one below. The reason I like it so much is that one of my first reactions to being in the Antarctic was being overwhelmed by seemingly infinite shades of blue. John captures this very well for me in this painting of a glacier face with wheeling snow petrels along the face (they are there you just can't see them well in this photo). John has some wonderful work on his website - check it out.

Another photographer friend and Antarctic co-worker is Stefan Lundgren. His photographs also capture my sense of what Antarctica is better than most. He also is a great storyteller. One of my favorites is copied below from his website along with the photo he is describing.
"Every wildlife photographer probably has at least one great adventure story to tell. My most remarkable story took place when I took this image of this killer whale, known as the sea wolf of Antarctica. The research ship I was working on was moored along the fast sea ice at Lazarev Ice Shelf. At late night , I walked around by myself and discovered this opening in the ice. Standing along the edge of the ice and looking down into the water, I noticed something shimmering beneath the surface. Before I could figure out what it was, an Orca breached straight out the the water right in front of me. I fell down on my back, myself and my camera covered with the spraying splash of water. Deeply concerned about my camera and not paying attention, the orca suddenly came up onto me and pinned me on the ice. My feet were under its chest while it sent out clicking and whistling echo sounds to analyze me. Not interested in me, the orca retreated into the water. Many times I have seen how these Orcas catch Weddell seals in much the same manner in the same environment. I assume that they are programmed to catch a specific kind of prey and I didn't fit into their menu. Wet and shaky, I set up my tripod and camera. I got a few seconds of opportunity to take these images as the Orca passed back and forth, now completely ignoring me." - Stefan Lundgren
I am not sure that I would have had the presence of mind to get any sort of photo taken! much less the starkly beautiful image that Stefan captured.

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