Best Antarctic photos of 2012

By AG Staff 28 September 2012
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Antarctic travellers pit themselves up against each other for the best shot, with some suprising results.

ALTHOUGH ANTARCTICA IS brimming with charismatic animals, it takes more than an interesting subject to take a good shot. So Andrew Lan’s photo of the world’s most common bird flying over the icy tundra, beat 284 other entries to take out the overall prize in Aurora Expedition’s Antarctic Photography Competition.

“The photograph… feels like more than just an ignoble kelp gull set against clouds around a mountain,” explains judge and photographer Mark Jones. “The light is subtle, a tapestry of whites, with just a hint of blues in the ice-clad peak.” 

“The bird is clearly going somewhere which conjures a sense of place, yet it could be almost anywhere in Antarctica and imparts a kind of peaceful aura with which many Antarctic travellers can identify.”

Joseph Vilanova’s equally common fur seal took out another of the eight categories, the wildlife portrait. “The proliferating fur seal population of South Georgia means that it’s not unusual for visitors to surprise – or be surprised by – an animal sleeping away from the hustle of the busy beach colonies,” says Mark.

“Here the photographer has nicely captured the waking moment, colourfully framed in late-summer seed heads. The fur seal doesn’t look overly alarmed as it peers up through the grasses, so it’s likely that it just rolled over to resume its nap as the photographer quietly backed away.”