February 01, 2022 1 Comment
Photos by Camille Seaman
Ready for a unique and fresh perspective on an amazing and more than unique travel location?
Camille Seaman takes us to one of the most important spots on our planet - Antarctica. And does so in her own way equipped with a deep appreciation of nature and 15 years of travel experience in the area.
Camille Seaman is a photographer with a passion for ice. She's been working in Alaska, raising the alarm about a landscape that's melting away. Also, for more than 15 years she's been sharing her love and care for Antarctica. Camille strongly believes in capturing photographs that articulate that humans are not separate from nature. Her photographs have been published in National Geographic Magazine, Italian Geo, German GEO, TIME, The New York Times Sunday magazine, Newsweek, among many others. She is a TED Senior Fellow, Stanford Knight Fellow as well as a Cinereach Filmmaker in Residence Fellow.
Today, Camille tells us her story of returning to Antarctica in the time of Covid.
Take it away, Camille! (Read article below)
Back then I had no idea that there was an Emperor Penguin Colony there near Snow Hill Island. Although sometimes in the years since we would sometimes encounter the odd one Emperor on an iceberg I had never seen any sort of real numbers.
This year we were able to make it there just in time to find a good number of Emperors resting around some fast ice.
The ship parked into the ice staying with them all evening. I enjoyed listening to them trumpet, I was up past three that night outside in the pink light as the moon set and the sun rose.
Because we are close to the Antarctic Circle there is a sunset but it never really gets dark and the sunrises only an hour later, this creates the potential for a spectacular combination of sunset and sunrise colours that can last for hours if the conditions are right.
Emperor Penguins on Sea Ice, Weddell Sea, Antarctica, DEC2021
As you can see we had some wonderful opportunities to get off the ship an into either kayaks or zodiacs and then cruise along the ice edge where we cold find some of these magnificent penguins. After a few days in the Weddell Sea the winds changed and that meant it was time to head back to the Western side of the Peninsula.
While on ship in all public spaces we wore our masks, every few days the entire ship (crew and passengers) were tested for covid. All was well and the adventures continued.
One thing I really appreciated about the captain was his never ending curiosity. One evening as we made our way in the southern end of the Lemaire Channel I heard him on the radio say, “There’s an interesting iceberg over there, let’s go check it out.” It looked like something out of a science fiction film, or maybe Mordor. The light was getting better, and even though it was very cold he decided to position the ship just-so and wait for the sun to set lower into the clouds.
The Captain’s Castle Iceberg, Lemaire Channel, Antarctica, DEC2021
I’m thankful to the captain for that sort of spirit. That sort of knowing when something is special. In the days that followed there were many more occasions where the captain and the EL made great calls. And when I knew partly from experience partly just trusting my gut, that this would be the night to stay up til 3 or sometimes 4am.
At one point we found ourselves once again in the Weddell Sea, and all the adult Emperors had left returning out to the deep sea leaving a handful of juveniles on their own. I had that feeling, the clouds were just right. That this would be the night to stay up late, the wind stilled and as the sun set behind Cockburn Island no one awake could believe it was not a dream. For the sun set colours never faded but simply merged into the sun rise colours and that bit of voodoo magic happened.. it was just a matter of time.
Three Giant Tabular Icebergs at Sunrise on the Solstice in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica, DEC2021
Of course, not all trips to Antarctica will yield these types of conditions, or images.
To increase your chances you must be:
One of the last things I think of when I recall all of my years in Antarctica is that is, or was, cold. There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. Know your weak spots. Chance favours the prepared.
I am thankful to Vallerret for their super warm mitts and gloves.
by Camille Seaman
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