Cape Bird, Antarctica

Kindly contributed by the celebrated photographer Camille Seaman, who has built her career on majestic portraiture. Over a 10-year period, Seaman traveled to the poles to document the rapidly changing face of the polar regions. Her new collection Melting Away, a masterful series of 75 photos presented alongside accompanying essays, shows climate change at work.

It was Christmas Day, I was feeling a bit melancholy about being so far away from my seven-year-old daughter. As our ship the I/B Kapitan Klebnikov approached Ross Island we could smell and hear the Adelie penguin colony long before we could make out their shapes on the shore. We took several zodiacs (small black rubber boat designed by Jaques Cousteau) ashore. After walking around for a while the light began to change. It was obvious that a snow squall was heading our way. As I watched the light, I asked if I could go out in the zodiac closer to a few icebergs that were stranded on the bottom of the shallow coast. Permission granted.

I, along with another photographer, John Weller, moved very slowly along the water so as to not disturb the icebergs or any reflections. I felt the paradox of this ancient creature before me, seeming so solid and so fragile and precarious at the same time. There was also something ship like about its form. It is images like this on days like this that affirm the power of an image done well, and when I work, I always honor the sacrifice that my daughter has made by doing my very best.

It was a special treat to be in the zodiac with fellow photographer John Weller and John Palmer as our pilot. We casually cruised around these stranded icebergs (icebergs stuck on the rocky bottoms of the shallow coast). While we kept a safe distance we also had ample opportunity to admire the subtle colors of algae in the ice; pinks, browns and pale greens.

 

 

As we went round the back side of the iceberg the darkness of the approaching storm turned everything into a moody monochromatic scene (even though this image is in full color). I used a small Epson RD-1 with a 35mm Leica lens on a 6mega pixel camera. There was a stillness, something dark and something pensive in the air. I remember it like it was yesterday. People often ask me if it was cold. The strange thing is I cannot remember.

Photo Credits, Camille Seaman:
Stranded Iceberg, Cape Bird, Antarctica
Stranded Icebergs Detail II, Cape Bird, Antarctica
Stranded Iceberg II (v), Cape Bird, Antarctica