Fire and Ice Portrait

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This photo is very special to me. Not just because Jade Icebergs are so rare, and the conditions were phenomenal this afternoon. Not just because the sunset was just at the right angle at the right time to reflect what looked like flames up the slick green iceberg wall. And … (read more)

This photo is very special to me. Not just because Jade Icebergs are so rare, and the conditions were phenomenal this afternoon. Not just because the sunset was just at the right angle at the right time to reflect what looked like flames up the slick green iceberg wall. And not just because Jade Bergs are one in a million in Antarctica- the emerald gem in a stark landscape of white and blue.

This image takes me back to a memory of my last week in Antarctica. The pack down (getting ready to leave and hand over after over a year on the station) had been a chore, only highlighted by the arrival of some of our favourite canadian pilots. Bob, Allan and their engineer Perry were our first visitors after winter, flying in on their twin otter aeroplane all the way from Canada to help ferry scientists between the Australian Antarctic stations and out to some remote field work locations. They had arrived the week before the ship that was due to take us home to Australia. They had an incomparable sense of humour and stories to match. They were good friends of mine from the previous summer and I was so happy to be chosen to take them out on a "jolly" amongst the icebergs this afternoon.

It was what Bob coined as a "300 Photo Day". It was his way of describing those unforgettable days of unbelievable beauty. 300 photo days were the most special of the special. It wasn't my place to tell him that I'd taken far more than 300 photos this afternoon. It was... very special.

The weather lined up, we swerved and meandered through berg after perfect berg- spotting penguins tripping over one another, stopping for one amazing photo opportunity after another. Showing them the iceberg alley I'd become s familiar with throughout the winter living on the ice. There was a slight zephyr of wind. The sea ice was still strong enough to bear the weight of the hagglund (vehicle) so I could wind our way to "The Jade Berg" trapped by the sea ice about 20km from the station.

I love this photo, of the half a dozen times I'd managed to find this wandering jade iceberg over my year on the icy continent, I'd never seen it so resplendent, adorned in its golden jewels, lit, and reflecting back the last of the evening light. It was, as it looks. Special.

Bob and Perry found themselves in some rough weather while returning home from Antarctica the following year. They encountered trouble navigating their plane through a mountain range near one of the Italian stations in Eastern Antarctica. Their plane remains crashed on the side of one of those mountains- their bodies were never able to be recovered. They were the most experienced polar aviators you could hope for both in the northern and southern hemispheres. Their zest for life, a great story, friendship and those 300 photo days made a huge impact on my time in Antarctica.

This day was one of the highlights from my year living and working on the ice. I was so lucky to share it with these very special friends.


Additional Details:
  • 3744 x 5616 px, JPEG (5.0 MB)
  • This is a signed and limited edition digital creation.
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