Antarctica LIV, Plenneau Bay 2007

In 2007 I visited Plenneau Bay, Antarctica, which lies just past the famous La Mer Channel. This was the only Zodiac cruise where all the workshop leaders (Michael Reichmann, Jeff Schewe, Stephen Johnson, Bill Atkinson, Ian Lyons, Seth Resnick and I) rode together while Chris Sanderson recorded the event on video for Luminous Landscape. Locked out of this area by ice in 2005, we were delighted to have access to the area many people call ‘The Iceberg Graveyard” because the shallow bay frequently traps ice.

We found a floating sculpture garden made of ice in a stunning array of forms. We found frozen sea creatures, both real and mythical. We found Viking ships and space ships. We found pyramids and grottos. One iceberg impressed us above all the others. We first approached it from one side hoping to glide across the pool of water in its center and through an arch on the far side, but we discovered the arch was too shallow to pass through. Double backing, we then approached it from the opposite side. We gasped collectively when we saw what another angle had to offer. The ice had been sculpted in what appeared to be a Grecco-Roman façade complete with a central arch and accompanying rhythmically repeating columns. To this day we still have a hard time believing that this was a naturally occurring form and not man-made. This was one of those unforgettable moments that changes the way you see and think about the world as you become aware of possibilities you hadn’t previously dreamed of.

Despite the rich subject matter, it was challenging photographically, as we had hours in an area we could have spent days and consequently moved through it rapidly, which forced us to work like action photographers. At one point in our magical voyage, I teased Michael that he was encouraging very bad habits – shoot first, ask questions later. But I made the best of it knowing that I would never see this again and while I was doing so I realized that this push outside of my contemplative comfort zone would encourage me to acquire skills that would prove useful in other situations. They have been useful in many other unforgettable moments.

Which mode are you most comfortable in?

How can switching between contemplative to active modes help you?

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Lemaire Channel was socked in with heavy snow as we passed through it. Only those who had been there before, knew the soaring majesty of the peaks above hidden by the low lying clouds. Having been through the Lemaire Channel four times now, our 2005 expedition passage, which was full of hours of riotous color, was clearly an exception, not the rule.

At the far end of the Lemaire Channel we turned into Plenneau Bay, the iceberg graveyard. The ice was good, but not extraordinary like our 2007 cruise. Snow filled the air making shooting conditions challenging. We traversed the bay for hours in separate zodiacs exploring the largest masses of ice that weren’t surrounded by brash ice. Snow covered, this ice, grounded in the shallows of the bay, offered altitude and a side variety of shapes, lines, and textures.

After lunch, we moved on to nearby Petermann Island, the area’s largest colony of Adelie Penguins at the gateway to the Pennola Strait strewn with large masses of ice. The sun made a feeble attempt to come out for the following hours, a tiny omnipresent spot, making a wonderful counterpoint in the otherwise flat gray skies, still capable of casting light upon the watery sculptures we chased so feverishly. Again, those of us who elected not to land enjoyed the luxury of extended zodiac cruises. For hours, we chased pyramids, caryatids, griffins and a riot of other fantasies frozen in ice.  This afternoon and Paradise Bay were the best sessions of the whole trip.

Incoming sea ice forced us to carve our way back through the Lemaire Channel through more katabatic winds, gusting up to 50 mph. With an eye to our voyage home, we moved north west to find an evening’s shelter and position ourselves for our final day of cruising.

Andy Biggs made a quick presentation on integrating NIK software into a digital workflow. Seth followed with an extended presentation on advanced Lightroom processing techniques and leveraging the power of Presets.

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Reflection XLII

Reflection XLVII

Reflection XXXIX

Reflection XXV

Reflection XXV


Reflection XLV

Reflection XLV

Reflection XXVI

Reflection XXVI

Correspondence - Nocturne - LI

Correspondence – Nocturne – LI

Correspondence XLV - Nocturne

Correspondence XLV – Nocturne

Correspondence XXXXVI - Nocturne

Correspondence XXXXVI – Nocturne

Correspondence XXXV - Nocturne

Correspondence XXXV – Nocturne

Correspondence - Nocturne LII

Correspondence – Nocturne LII

Condensation CX - Prelude

Condensation CX – Prelude

This is a selection of my top 12 images of all time. This selection doesn’t reflect sales, publication, or activities on the web. It simply reflects my opinion. Click on the titles to find out more about each image.


Antarctica, California, Iceland, South America, Utah.


I practiced my typical 80% composite and 20% straight. Can you tell which is which? I hope it’s not obvious and that during this guessing game you begin to look more closely at looking.


Light reveals and interacts with surfaces, which both reveal and conceal, sometimes doing both simultaneously. What the viewer sees depends as much on the context (physical location and moment in time) as his or her mental state (education, emotion, intent, awareness).

Magnificent Moment

The time I spent exploring the Great Salt Lake in Utah, several years before these images were completed, was a particularly intense time emotionally for me, some of I hope is reflected in these images and some of which I hope remains personal. The magnificent moment was inside.

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La Mer Channel

January 14, 2009 | Leave a Comment |

Bearing the weather in mind we headed south fast last night and got to the La Mer Channel late in the morning. On the past two trips we took several days making multiple stops along the way. But this time the weather is so poor (rain and sleet) that we can hardly see the nearby islands and mountains. Weather is constantly changing, everywhere, but particularly here. In December 2005 we sailed through and extraordinary sunset with glassy smooth waters. In February 2007 we sailed through overcast and wind,
weaving through substantial icebergs. In January 2009 we sailed through rain with relatively little ice. On the far side is Plenneau Bay (the iceberg graveyard). In 2005 we were locked out by an icesheet. In 2007 the bay was full of extraordinary icebergs. In 2009 there are just a few bergs. High wind and horizontal rain kept us from making a zodiac excursion. We hope to return and find better weather at this extraordinary location. I love photographing weather, but there’s a limit to just how much weather you can work effectively in.

Sometimes it’s best to cut your losses and move on. We decided to push south to the Antarctic Circle, traveling long distances in bad weather, with the hope that better weather is on it’s way. Getting into position for a slower return with lots of exploration. We’re out in the open ocean again with high swells. Many of the crew have never been this far south, so everyone’s excited about seeing something new.

More seminars in transit. Michael Reichmann introduced panoramic stitching. Steve Johnson followed up with more information.

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