Plumber and photographer Todd, takes us on an awe-inspiring journey through the seasons in Antarctica.

Antarctica – a photographer’s dream

Antarctica is often referred to as the last true frontier.

Being an avid photographer myself, I was extremely keen to see what I’d be able to capture during my year at Davis. So far, this incredible continent has not disappointed.

Entering Antarctic waters, it was apparent this place looked like something from another world. Slowly floating through the sea ice, surrounded by icebergs painted with a golden hue, as the sun drifted across the horizon in what felt like a never-ending golden hour. A photographer’s dream! When usually you only have a few minutes. At that time of the year, the sun never really sets.

I would find myself on the bow of the Aiviq at almost midnight every night taking “just one more photo”. Then, as you’re about to pack up, the ocean throws you another spectacular view to admire.

After arriving on station, we were eventually able to experience the Vestfold Hills during the summer months. These hills are surrounded by fresh water lakes, moraines, bays and fjords. With the sun out and the snow melted, some areas could be mistaken for a desert in central Australia!

The lack of snow on the hills during the warmer months uncovers the geological beauty of the Vestfold Hills. “There’s no such thing as straight lines in nature.” Well the dolerite dikes stretching across the landscape like bitumen roads certainly refute that theory! Almost every conceivable rock you can think of is exploded across the land by mother nature. Just when you think you’ve seen them all, you find a completely new variety. The way the wind-swept hills get swallowed up by the giant ice plateau is incredible.

Summer also brings the animals, penguins, birds and seals of all different kinds. Some are photogenic, some not so much. But the way they can adapt to their environment and be perfectly comfortable even in the most terrible conditions is awe-inspiring.

Then winter starts to set in. The animals start to disappear, and the days get shorter and shorter. But with winter, comes a new kind of beauty. The long sunsets and sunrises, snow covered hills and of course the auroras! With low wind, and some snow on the ground, the silence is deafening. The sea ice freezes, and we are now able to access new areas inaccessible during summer including cruising around the mammoth icebergs grounded in Iceberg Alley.

Driving the Hägglunds to huts also means I’m able to take more camera gear, as opposed to my hiking pack where I quickly realised I should have brought a lighter camera! Exploring some of the now frozen freshwater lakes would have to be one of the coolest (pardon the pun) things to check out. Crystal clear ice reaching metres beneath your feet. So clear, you can walk around and see the bottom of the lake beneath you. Frozen air pockets within the ice as well as the many different ice formations make for some awesome photography.

So, who would have thought a part of the world with only rocks, water and the sky would have been so picture perfect. Just goes to show it’s the small details in everything that make up the big picture. That is, Antarctica.

Todd Schulz
Plumber and Photographer