Soft Peaks

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It's quite incredible the range of colours in Antarctica, considering there are no trees, flowers or insects on the continent. Most of the bright colours are lit from the sky- in the form of incredible sunsets or the southern lights (auroras). I wasn't prepared for the vibrancy of the whites … (read more)

It's quite incredible the range of colours in Antarctica, considering there are no trees, flowers or insects on the continent. Most of the bright colours are lit from the sky- in the form of incredible sunsets or the southern lights (auroras). I wasn't prepared for the vibrancy of the whites against the bright blue skies on clear days, and the shades of colour. So much colour. Just not in the way I knew it back in Australia.

This was one of my first outings the summer I arrived, out to explore the icebergs trapped in the sea ice in front of Davis Station. Over the winter, fallen snow had become trapped by the salty sea ice and formed small rivets and peaks on the ice. It was a saving grace when walking on ice as it gave some traction, especially if you'd forgotten to put chains on your boots- sea ice without snow on it is like walking on slick, slippery frozen concrete.

I learnt very quickly that the easiest way to figure out where the prevailing wind was from wasn't looking at my meteorological instrumentation. Snow will always gather on the leeward side of a structure. In Antarctica the majority of those structures weren't manmade. I loved seeing how the snow would glisten in the afternoon light as it adorned icebergs- like someone had shaken a sieve of icing sugar from a height- just catching on the tops and the jagged edges. It gave dimension, but more than that, it bought shades of blue and white I'd never experienced (and haven't since).

The clarity of light and nuance of the colour in Antarctica isn't something I've encountered anywhere else. I don't expect to ever see it again. It's plain, almost monochrome on cloudy days but when the sun hits it- the shades.... There is a purity, and almost an innocence about them. Clarity> Depth? It's hard to put into words. It really is something special.


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