Mawson, a photographer's dream

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This week at Mawson: 22 March 2013

According to Wikipedia, photography is the art, science and practice of creating durable images by recording light (photons - hence, "photo"-graphy) or other electromagnetic radiation, either chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film or electronically by means of an image sensor. Photography has many uses for business, science, manufacturing (e.g. photolithography), art, recreational purposes and mass communication.

Well, down here - more than most locations around the world - photography can take on a life of its own whether it's capturing a perfect sunset again and again to a few sly pics taken on a misfortunate camera left alone at the bar. Snapping away in our frozen playground allows those who wish to hone their skills time to do so and a constant stream of muses on which to practice. I would say there would not be a single soul who visits these southern shores whose personal effects would not contain a camera of one sort or another. Photography is also taking on a new life globally with the advent of social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Flickr. Now more than ever people can take a simple photo easily without object criticism and share it with the world seconds later. Mobile phones, laptops, iPods and other devices have made sharing our lives visually with others as simple the click of a button. The price of semipro DSLRs has also come down in recent times, which is a big draw for those of us wishing to learn a few extra skills down here. I would say half the station now has DSLRs, including an upgrade from our illustrious leader, while the others have high end point-and-shoots. Darren even has a 3D point-and-shoot that takes sensational images.

The landscape around Mawson lends itself easily to the taking of photos. With the towering ranges that push through the plateau just behind station, to the islands that make up our winter playground and of course the wildlife that abounds on our shores here in the warmer months. Just a few weeks ago, Craig and Pete L. took some awesome shots of killer whales off West Arm, engaging in what comes naturally to them: hunting. Jeremy captured some fantastic scenes underwater using his GoPro, taking in the curiosity of a juvenile Weddell seal. Keldyn snapped a beauty one night of an aurora and the way our days are getting shorter, I guess there will be a lot more of us doing the same soon enough. So with the station news, blog posts, social media and just the sobering email home, photos are becoming an inexpensive and accessible option for all of us down here to share our experiences. Now it’s about time I actually read the manual properly. Oh yeah, Cliffy learned (maybe this time) a hard lesson on the practice of camera setup and configuration. Let him tell you his story one day - you’ll like it.

Iceberg at Mawson
'Berg in East Bay
(Photo: Justin Chambers)
Dead snow petrel frozen in ice with wings sticking out
Circle of life
(Photo: Justin Chambers)
A large bright aurora australis above Mawson station
Last week's aurora
(Photo: Justin Chambers)
Penguin feather close up all in a row
old moulted penguin feather
(Photo: Justin Chambers)
Tip of a penguin feather close up
Penguin feather
(Photo: Justin Chambers)
Two killer whales, one with head poking out of water and the other with head in water but blowing water and air out of blow hole
Petes' orca
(Photo: Peter Layt)
Sunset is reflected off ice which is the focus of this close up image
Sunset on ice
(Photo: Justin Chambers)
Young Weddell seal photographed underwater and facing camera
Curious visitor
(Photo: Jeremy Little)
Young Weddell seal underwater with one flipper over face looking towards the camera
Underwater poser
(Photo: Jeremy Little)
An underwater shot of a Weddell seal playfully facing camera
"Look at me, look at me!"
(Photo: Jeremy Little)
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