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Seven Continents

Shades of Color

ANTARCTICA | Thursday, 9 July 2015 | Views [275]

King Neck 2

King Neck 2

Before I visited the white continent, I assumed the entire place would appear as a shadow land, filled with white, grays, and black. It would be the perfect habitat for black and white photography. I fancy myself a decent amateur photographer and thought I might create an album in shades of gray, something along the lines of a Shackleton expedition.

 

The first iceberg I encountered in Antarctic waters fell into my preconceived stereotype. It was awe-inspiring, taller than our ship, jagged, and appeared to be a floating monolith sculpted from pure spring snow. But as we motored further south, I began to see many colors in the ice. The next crystalline gargantuan we stumbled upon was a hundred times larger than our little Russian vessel and was the same color as Windex. As we rounded the oceanic titan, my mouth dropped open. The berg had taken on the appearance of a giant Easter Island Moai. I pictured it filled with ten thousand island natives, drifting in their Trojan horse in search of virgin lands.

 

Other ice-nomads had snow on their sides, but revealed deep blue crevasses, glowing like spirits trapped in ancient resin.

 

“I’ve seen bergs down here that are the color of dark green bottle glass,” One of the ship’s crew informed me. “They get their color from frozen algae.”

 

“I’d love to see one of those,” I commented. Unfortunately they were so rare we never encountered one.

 

Ice was not the only object that displayed colors of many hues. Wildlife, especially birds, flashed an array of rainbow assortments to tantalize the eye. For a while I just focused my telephoto lens on the orange and yellow necks of King and Emperor penguins, whose plumage screamed for attention. Their patterns reminded me of bold brush strokes from painting masters of old.

 

Humans had their own method of expressing color. Many researchers who crossed our path wore electric red, or safety yellow, so they could be easily spotted on the ice or against the gray and black rock that was prevalent there. The more I explored, the more I witnessed rich beauty in the world’s most remote continent; something the lenses of Shackleton’s time could not convey. There was an entire spectrum of color and life; a feast for the eyes at the bottom of the world. 

Tags: antarctica, icebergs, king penguins, shackleton, south georgia island

 

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