HMAS PENGUIN POOL – ANTARCTICA

I have a strong fascination with icebergs and glaciers and have been privileged to have seen a good many during the course of my travels in the last few years. From the base of Mount Cook, Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers in the South Island of New Zealand to Europe’s largest and mighty Vatnajokull glacier and stunning Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon and black sand beaches in Iceland, to the countless glaciers that dot the Antarctic peninsula and the multitude of icebergs that lie festooned in the myriad of bays and iceberg graveyards that make up the great white continent. I have witnessed and photographed icebergs in a dizzying array of forms and states under a wide variety of light and weather. Many of them have been spectacular and beautiful and all have been unique creations and sculptures of nature. This particular iceberg however, rates as the most unusual I have yet had the pleasure to photograph. An iceberg I have christened ‘HMAS Penguin Pool’ and one that is my photograph of the month for May 2012.This particular iceberg was spotted by our captain Alexey on my last trip to Antarctica at the end of 2011 somewhere around the Anvil Strait (I do not recall the exact location and the GPS plot I have does not link up with my RAW files). We cruised slowly up to the side of the berg in our ship the Ocean Nova during a heavy snow storm. I was standing on the Port side of the ship only metres from the iceberg as several penguins were making their way along the length of the berg. I was able to take around 60 frames as we cruised slowly past what is the most unusual and unique iceberg I have ever encountered. I recall at the time one well known photographer who shall remain nameless standing too my right lamenting how it was such a pity it was snowing. All I could think of as I continued to press the shutter was how pleased I was that it was snowing and that it wasn’t brilliant sunshine. The overcast conditions, dark clouds and heavy snowfall add to the drama and speak to a more evocative primordial nature. A higher resolution version of this photograph can be seen on my portfolio website at www.jholko.com under Antarctica.

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