Chinstrap penguins courting
Thanks to One Ocean Expedition
Chinstrap penguins courting
Thanks to One Ocean Expedition
HAPPY NEW YEAR
And… during the Holidays… watch your diet!
Nature’s Christmas present for us…
Despite the Katabatic winds our expedition leader decide for a landing at Orne Harbour. I love this kind of conditions, it is moody, it is cold and wild… this is the real Antarctica!
The winds are strong and we have a really hard time even to stand.
I reach the first Chinstrap penguin colony at few hundreds meter from the beach uphill. I sit and set the tripod as low as possible to the ground to minimize the vibrations from the howling wind.
From time to time little creatures appears as tiny ghosts out of the white out; I’ve a blast observing their standing techniques! They are such tough and at the same time adorable creatures!
It is still burning… can’t believe I missed yesterday Orca’s shot!
Today no problem! I’m shooting wonderful VERY STILL icebergs!
We are repositioning the ship from one landing spot to the other. It’s a wonderful calm day, the sea is flat as a lake in the Gerlache Strait and I can’t believe my eyes!
A huge pod of at least 50 Orca whales is circling the ship. They are everywhere and it is really difficult to decide where to point the lens and shoot.
As usual my backpack with all my equipment is handy and close by… but I’ve difficult decisions to take. Shall I use my D3S with my 200-400mm f/4 or should I use my D3X with my 80/200 mm f/2.8.
The orcas can be fast and far away but I know that I cannot handhold my big 200/400 for long. I opt for my D3X because the huge 24.5 Megapixels will allow me to crop considerably to get close to the subject without using my big lens.
My 80/200 mm f/2.8 is a great, fast and light lens to work with and give me the flexibility and agility to move around fast.
I’m thrilled when I see that the whales are coming closer and closer and soon are right under the bow of the ship.
I’ve the right lens on but I’m shooting a lot and fast!
The action is at its peak and there is no way I can change my camera body.
Two whales are now appearing just few meters apart. In the excitement moment, through my viewfinder, I see something in the Orca’s mouth. I think it’s a fish and my instinct says shoot shoot shoot… despite my finger is right on the button release nothing is happening! I soon realize my buffer is full and the camera need a bit of time to write the data on the memory card!
(The buffer consist of a RAM memory which temporarily holds the image information before it is written to the card).
Later I look at my images: the orcas on the right had a penguin in its mouth… and I missed the magic moment…
Carol Waldo got the shot I missed just for few seconds!
Lars Hansen : perfect story teller image!
Thanks Carol and Lars for letting me post your images!
Before digital I can’t even remember the missing shots because the action always seemed to happen when the roll of film was finished; then, early with digital the problem was changing the memory card; with the newer digital and the two available slots for memory cards I thought I’d never miss an action picture again…
I was wrong! Wildlife photography can be very rewarding at times but also deeply frustrating some others!
Learning is a never-ending fascinating process!
Last week sunset was unforgettable but moody weather always inspires me!
Playing a bit with filters in order to achieve an “old” look
Enhancing a bit the lens vignetting
A wild ride of the Drake!
One of the most evident sign of global warming in the Antarctic Peninsula is the increase of snow precipitations. Studies have proved that the snow accumulation in this region has doubled since 1850!
As the penguins need bare ground and/or rocks to nest this is causing a change of nesting sites as well as a terrible impact on the declining populations.
The higher rate of chick mortality is due to various factors:
- delay in finding ground free of snow for building the nest;
- delay in the general reproduction cycle;
- longer distances to cover to reach the nesting sites (the first spots of barren ground are usually exposed slopes at higher elevation);
- less frequent feeding to the chicks because of the longer distances to cover;
A Gentoo penguin carrying a stone for the nest.
It is 3.30 am and I am alone on the outside decks of the Marina Sveateva which is now anchored at Neko Harbour. There is a surreal silence broken only by the penguin calls in the distance. The water is still and as a mirror reflects the peaks that are just being kissed by the early morning sun rays.
What a priceless moment! I’m really blessed to be here! It is so peaceful and energizing!
A few hours later
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