People keep asking Seth Resnick and I why we keep returning to Antarctica.

We’ve made four trips and every trip was different. We visit new locations; there are over 40 locations cruises land at and with each visit we get to visit an average of 12. The ice conditions are always different; one month can make a big difference. Surprisingly, the thing that we’ve found makes the biggest difference is the weather, which affects the light dramatically. We saw riotous colors during four hour long sunsets on our 2005 Peninsula trip and “nights” where the sun only skims the horizon but never truly sets south of the Antarctic circle in 2009. Every time we go, we keep wondering how much more could there be to see and how different could the conditions be and every time we’re surprised that we discover so much more and that locations we know look so different. Each voyage has had an entirely unique character.

The two most sublime landscape experiences I’ve ever had were at Sossusvlei, Namibia and in Antarctica’s The Gullet. The Gullet was the remotest, purest, whitest experience I’ve ever had. It felt like being in a frozen heaven. Quietly cruising on mirror calm waters through the dramatic mountains of Crystal Bay to find the narrow channel through The Gullet (like seeing clouds cascade off high peaks to touch the water and be frozen in place) and through to Margueritte Bay lit up by endless hours of midnight color was one of the most beautiful 24 hours of my life. Many of us didn’t sleep that ‘night’ because we didn’t want to miss anything. We knew while we were there that few people on earth had ever had an experience similar to the one we were having.”

See more images from Antarctica’s The Gullet here.

There are still a few spaces available in our Antarctica 2013 workshop.

Email me at jpc@digitalphotodestinations if you’d like to join us.

Crystal Bay & The Gullet

January 16, 2009 | 1 Comment |

This is quite possibly the most beautiful place I have ever been. While the captain of the ship had been here before, none of our guides had – our expedition leader Brandon has been on 80 voyages. Very few people get to see this part of the planet. There was no one else here with us. The place feels as pristine as it is white. We sailed slowly through miles and miles of sea ice and icebergs in a glassy smooth ford-like channel with 500 meter high cliffs that gave off small avalanches and tall peaks where tiny clouds accumulated in an otherwise completely blue sky. The channel was so tight and choked with sea ice there were times we couldn’t imagine where we’d go next or see where we came from. An endlessly changing composition of light and form on a scale of symphonic grandeur unfolded before us continuously for hours on end. Everyone needed to take a break, though we hated to, at some point or another. Not one of us could fully believe what we were seeing. It will take some time for this to sink in for all of us. Even then, I imagine we’ll need to revisit our photographs to confirm that it wasn’t just a dream.

How did I deal with a complex fast moving subject? Two cameras (no time tochange lenses) with two lenses of different focal lengths (one wide angle, one telephoto). The exercise of switching ways of looking from the big picture to the details, from near to far, and back again, and back again, and back again was excellent. You truly learn to see in different ways, internalizing the knowledge, not just understanding it intellectually.

Enjoy my Antarctica galleries, book, and statements.

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