Antarctica is a place of great beauty. Fantastic icebergs, startling mountains, and a diversity of almost undisturbed wildlife
The scenic views can be almost overwhelming. Imagine trying to climb through the snow to the top of one of these peaks.
There are several varieties of penguins seen here. This is a chinstrap (Pygoscelis antarcticus). While some species wander further north, these rarely do.
Gentoo Penguins (Pygoscelis papua) are larger and far more numerous. They occur further north as well.
The Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) is another that rarely is seen north of Antarctica.
You can tour Antarctica in ships of many different sizes. Old Russian icebreakers aren't the most luxurious way to travel, but perfect for groups of photographers.
The penguins nest in large colonies. This is half moon island and a major site for chinstrap penguins, but there are gentoo penguins here as well
When you get close to the colonies you begin to realize just how vast the numbers are, but overall the penguins are threatened by loss of their food sources.
Nonetheless they seem proud of their home and quite willing to vocalize their pride.
The scenery is quite dramatic. Perhaps that's what this one is crowing about.
Other islands have less dramatic scenery, but even more penguins.
This is a very large Chinstrap colony on Deception Island.
Everyone of those black dots is a chinstrap penguin and this is just a single quadrant of the colony
Sunrise in Antarctica can be short lived, but very dramatic
The sunsets can be dramatic as well
Even when you are there taking the picture the colors can be hard to believe
It only lasted a few minutes shortly after 4 AM, but this is really what it looked like.
A more typical appearing sunset as the penguins ride a north bound iceberg
Useful Island is home to a large number of gentoo and some chinstrap penguins
They seem almost completely unmoved by our visit
Just casually trudging along with only an occasional look in my direction
Pygoscelis antarcticus chinstrap penguinAntarcticaDeception Island