Serendipity & the Art of the Photograph

Often my favorite shots are serendipitous and this image of a single Gentoo penguin on an iceberg is one of those cases. Here along the Antarctic Peninsula, Gentoos live on just a few islands.

As we approached slowly in the Zodiac there were several penguins sitting and standing on the iceberg, and I remember thinking to myself that it would really be cool if there were only one. As if on cue, three of them dove into the water leaving the one. I expected the straggler to follow, but it stayed as if reading my mind.

By remaining on the iceberg, the single penguin on its little chunk of ice became a metaphor for dwindling ice packs throughout the world. I wanted to show the enormity of this penguin’s world so I chose to use a 16-35mm f/2.8 wide angle lens while holding a graduated neutral density filter to give the sky more impact. The deeper gray of the sky also brings out the deep blue hues of the icebergs in the distance. On sunny days the opposite is true; the brighter sky diminishes the color of the ice. I also did something I don’t normally do: I put the subject in the center of the frame. By doing this I am making a statement about the vast expanse of this environment and the limits of the ice.

I have three trips to Antarctica coming up. Two are sold out but you can get on the wait-list:

Iconic Images International Antarctic Photography Workshop

Luminous Landscapes Antarctica Workshop

One Response to “Serendipity & the Art of the Photograph”

  1. Wayne Nelson says:

    There is nothing like “being in the moment” Awesome shot as always!

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