This Field Of Otherworldly Sand Spires Was Carved By Wind

February 18, 2015 9:20 PM

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This Field Of Otherworldly Sand Spires Was Carved By Wind

On the second day of the shoot, standing onthe ice, I was knocked flying by a leopard seal that came hurtling out of the water and realised too late I wasn’t a penguin. At that moment, I knew first hand why emperor penguins rocket out onto the ice. To double or triple their speed, they use a lubrication of micro-bubbles released from their feathers that cut down the friction of feathers against water. The challenge was to catch this in a single, clean moment and with artistry. The water was crystal clear but with hundreds of penguins exiting the hole, the scene was chaos. Diving an hour at a time in the -1.8°C water, trying to maintain perfect buoyancy so as to not to move a muscle, I waited, with the scene framed in the viewfinder. Finally a single penguin in full-on bubble-release mode came shooting by, air coming out of its lungs, bubbles pouring out of its feathers. Shooting at 10 frames a second, I just caught it. Ross Sea, Antarctica, 2012; Canon EOS-1D Mark IV, 16- 35mm lens, Seacam housing, 1/1250 sec at f5, ISO 400.

his is my most iconic image, copied more than any other – the split second before the grizzly moved his head and shut his jaws on the sockeye salmon. At the time, no one believed the picture was real. But it was shot on film, the result of planning and luck. I made the image at the now-famous Brook ...

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