Sunday, February 13, 2011

Mountains in The Sky With Diamonds (In The Antarctic Ocean)

"We begin with a public announcement": It has been a real gratifying experience writing this blog, especially getting all the warm feedback from so many readers. I want to point out the tab above, below the title photograph: "A report on the evolution of this blog" - please click on it and read my summary of the first few months of this blog. Then, you can click on "Home" and proceed with reading this new post....

There are these rare moments, when you feel you're lucky to have a camera strapped around your neck at all times. (click on any photo to enlarge it and enjoy its full beauty). I was up on the deck of our icebreaker during my recent trip to Antarctica. It was evening, and the sun was low on the horizon. Naturally, everyone focused on the mountains and how large and imposing they looked. 

But then - A quick sparkle on the water and Voila - diamonds everywhere! The little pieces of floating ice, small and rough, reflecting in the sunlight.

The truth is, you could take a great picture of these shiny little ice cubes with the simplest point and shoot camera. Here, however, I felt lucky to have a circular polarizing filter! This filter, like your fashionable sunglasses, prevents glare. However, since it is circular (meaning you can turn it around at any angle you choose), you can pinpoint the angle in which the contrast between the light, water, and other objects are just as you like. 

Circular polarizing filters work best when directed at a 90 degree angle to the sun, which was exactly the case here since the sun was low on the horizon. I recommend this filter as a basic one for everyone with an SLR camera.

Of-course, once you have this filter you can find other "diamonds" in the water. For example, by making sure the contrast is perfect. The picture below is a great demonstration not only of this, but also of how an iceberg looks above and underneath the surface of the ocean. Look how dark the water is due to its enormous depth and relatively clear, blue sky reflecting at it: (Click on it to see the full effect)


What I like about these trips is that everywhere you look, there's something you'll want to remember (I guess that's what my kids think when they walk in Disneyland, but that's not what I mean.) From the biggest mountain to the tiniest floating piece of ice, the Antarctic ocean is full of breathtaking views.

And speaking about views, let's focus back from the diamonds in the water to the mountains in the sky - trying to touch the sun, in the eyes of a lone kayaker.

To see more pictures of the wonders of light and ice in Antarctica, read my post Antarctica: Sea and Sun and Ice

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now that you've explained it, Eyal, it makes sense that you are getting these incredibly deep blacks from a polarizer. Since I still have to return to an SLR after transitioning to the compact digital cameras, which left all photographic technique behind. These outstanding pictures are an inspiration to get back to "real" photography. Oh, and I guess I'll have to venture out on "real" trips as well! Thanks for helping us dream.
Peter S

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