I love photographs that you don’t understand immediately. Ice? Scree? Rock? Where are we? St Johnsfjorden / Prins Karls Forland in Svalbard. So what? Deception Island in Antarctica looks a dull grey but is ice govered in dust. This is a rock, isn’t it? Fully? That’s the nice thing about ambiguity… it makes you want to get off the boat and *know* what it is, with your boots whacking the floor and textures giving way. The wisps of gorgeous orange light I like, but it’s the wisps of dark that fascinate me.
I was thinking the other day about what my favourite place *to* be would be, as compared to places that I *have* been. The two are obviously conflated, but though I have seem many magical things with wildlife, most often by change, when thinking of places when I’d just like to be there and see what happens I can only think of being on the bow of a ship in the Arctic at sunrise or sunset. This is sunset, made abstract, blurring parts of the cloud layer and sea by panning the camera horizontally on a tripod with a slow exposure (0.6s). It may be abstract but to me it signifies travel, change, movement. From A to B, dissolution, fade. On a boat these are times of controlled peace. In the morning, perhaps 4 or 5am, you rise and gradually piece your polar layers around your body, velcro sticking together, thermal underwear straps wrapping around itself, gloves mysteriously missing, and bring your camera gear together – a far harder task. (“should I take a 10 stop ND filter out when there is no sun?”) To deck, and collect a hot coffee en route, and then haul open the heavy sea
Two Arctic hares on the rocky hillside overlooking Blomsterbukten, eastern Greenland. This shot is important to me because of what happened before, and illustrates why wildlife photographers need to understand nature perhaps more than they need to understand photography. Arriving on the coast via Zodiac, we split into rough groups and walked up a shallow valley to reach the lake over the hill. One small group caught a glimpse of something white on the valley slope – it was September, so the Greenland coast was free of snow. A hare! In glorious white, quietly watching the scene. Most people know hares and rabbits are very skittish and will disappear in a flash, so we slowly got prepared to set up a photograph, no sudden movements, taking time to be quiet and unobtrusive. Except for one fellow traveller. Zoom lens up, he walked directly toward the hare, perhaps unaware of his pace as he tried to grab the shot. People who are familiar working with animals may empathise when I say I could ‘feel’ the danger zone around the hare, the circumference line where it would bolt if anything crossed into its territory. I winced as I saw the photographer cross
We saw many beautiful icebergs in Greenland, hundreds of them. Immense in size, colour and shape, they dotted the landscape like sheep dot English hillsides. Whilst I loved the majestic nature of the large smooth icebergs, I was also drawn to those which were less characteristically beautiful – like this one above. This iceberg was sitting just off the shore line in very shallow water. We took the opportunity to sail around the berg to inspect it further. Age old blue ice mingled with clear newly formed ice and black debris. The jagged nature of the iceberg was courtesy of the motion of the waves – it’s likely that the iceberg would have twisted and rolled in the waters, each time exposing new ice to the skies and seas, thus continually reshaping and reforming the berg. If you like this picture, please feel free to share using the social media links provided. For more images of icebergs please visit the Taraji Blue Arctic photo gallery. You can also show your support for Taraji Blue by liking us on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/tarajiblue following us on twitter https://twitter.com/TarajiBlue and connecting with Alistair and myself on Google+
A lone iceberg floats in the calm of a Norwegian Fiord. This image was taken during our Arctic Expedition on the MS Expedition in 2010. We spent a glorious 10 nights exploring the fiords and seas of Svalbard, Spitsbergen and Greenland. We encountered many huge icebergs, but this wee one caught my eye. It’s stark contrast and clarity against the blue waters diverted my attention from the stunning scenery we were sailing though. It’s stillness coveys the silence of the Arctic and the remote and rugged beauty of the polar regions. We really must do everything we can to protect the Arctic. Do your bit – email Obama and help protect the Arctic Shell has abandoned its plans to drill for oil in the Arctic waters off the coast of Alaska in 2013. It’s big news. But just the start of something bigger. Now it’s time for President Obama to abandon the idea of Arctic drilling completely and declare the Arctic ‘off limits’ to industrial exploitation, forever. Shell was supposed to be the best of the best, but the long list of mishaps and near-disasters from the company’s failed attempt to drill in the Arctic last summer is a clear