Photos & Stories From 3 Years On Australia’s Antarctic Bases
Here’s a small selection of my favourite images from continental Antarctica plus a selection from Macquarie Island
I was fortunate to spend almost three years in total on the frozen continent and assembled a large library of images in that time. This is just a very small selection from that collection. You can view my full stock catalogue on GlobalEye Images.
My first trip was down to Australia’s Davis Station for a summer, back in 1992-93. I originally thought the long summer contract would be plenty long enough, but by the time the ship arrived to take us home, I regretteed that decision and would have happily stayed for the winter.
The trip home was the voyage that brought out the last of the Australian Huskies, so that added a whole new ‘layer’ to the experience… and walking a 60kg dog on a rolling icy deck was a challenge I won’t forget. Interestingly, the dogs had never encountered ‘steps’ so the hardest part of the ‘walk’ was usually carrying them up and down the stairs.
I was employed by the Australian Antarctic Division as a Chef, but I’d been writing and selling a few articles before that, and I really caught the photography bug on that trip. When I got back to Australia I also found it was a lot easier to sell articles when you had the photos to go with them. It was also a lot enjoyable to be our shooting images than sitting at a typewriter.
My next trip down south was in 1994 to Macquarie Island for the full year. Without doubt that was the most amazing place I’ve ever been. It rained in some form more or less every day, more often than not it was wet, windy and miserable… and I’d drop everything and go back tomorrow!
The wildlife was simply stunning. I’d never really encountered the mass populations like that. I remember walking south along the coast one time and copping a headwind from Lusitainia Bay for about an hour … the wind itself wasn’t too strong, but the smell of a million plus penguins was pretty heavy duty. When you finally got to the beach, it was so long and so crowded with birds, it could easily take another hour to get from one end to the other.
Back then the expeditioners had a lot more freedom to get out on their own and traipse around the island for days at a time which made for some extra special memories over the winter. Over the summer there were plenty of scientists always looking for an extra pair of hands (or eyes), and a lot more people wanting to enjoy the island, so it was a different experience again.
My final trip in 1997 was to Mawson station and it too brought an amazing experience that I’ll never forget. At Davis we were pretty much restricted to the rocky ice-free areas and the summer sea-ice, but at Mawson we had countless opportunities to head inland and explore the massive Antarctic ice cap.
A big ‘winter’ attraction were the Emperor Penguin colonies at Auster/Macey and Kloa. The Emperors are the only creatures (apart from people) to over-winter in Antarctica and the sight of thousands of them huddled together during a winter storm is incredible. I’d seen it on TV often enough, but to be there and feel the cold really makes you wonder how any of them survive.
I was fortunate to visit Macey several times over the winter and make a trip to Kloa. We spent a little over two weeks traveling there and back, though there was the best part of a week spent sitting in tents waiting for a blizzard to pass and half a day trying to recover a Hagglunds that had broken through the sea ice.
I had plans on doing one more trip after that… I never got a decent look at Casey! … but by then I was working the photography and writing full time, and I’d gone from a Chef who took photos to a Photographer looking for cooking jobs with great photo ops! (And that wouldn’t have been fair on the people relying on me to cook for them for a year!)
As it was, I’d started setting up OzImages by then and soon after the cooking stopped altogether. It’s a pity in a way as it’s probably about the only way I’m ever going get back to Antarctica. Who knows, maybe I’ll manage a quick visit to the Antarctic Peninsular via South America one day…
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the photos. please take your time, have a good look around and be sure to give the website a share or a like. Thanks!