Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Vision in Blue

Chinstrap Penguins on Blue Iceberg
It was the color of this iceberg that drew our attention from miles away. "Why not head over and take a look at that one?" I asked the captain.  With plenty of time, and a ship dedicated to photography, we did just that - changing course to put us closer to this stunning blue iceberg.

Truly blue icebergs are not the norm in Antarctica; they are typically made up of old dense ice with no layer of reflective snow.  This one had the added benefit of having rolled over several times -- the smooth contours and slightly pocked surface are sure signs of a berg that has flipped upside down, possibly more than once.

It was only when we got within a few hundred yards that we realized that there was a small group of molting Chinstraps resting on top. Every year, at the end of the breeding season, penguins must discard their old, worn feathers for a new batch. This process requires that they stay dry for a week or more until the molt is complete, their feathery insulation restored.

My question was this - how did they get onto this particular sheer-sided iceberg?  Maybe it was less steep on the backside, but...?

Nikon F100 and 80-200mm lens, Fuji Velvia  (ca. 1998!)

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