My mother went to Antarctica recently. She had always wanted to go, largely to see the penguins. She’s surprisingly penguin mad and as a child was known for singing the Peter Penguin song incessantly. Nearly the oldest member of the trip, she swam off an icy beach in the Antarctic ocean—on a dare. (She will probably kill me when she finds out I’ve written this.) She took all of these photos, and while she has always claimed to have no eye for design, she seems almost incapable of taking a bad picture. In two weeks she took only 275 photos and all of them are this good. I’ve uploaded some of them to my Flickr here.
A small group departed from Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, on a small Russian icebreaker. The crossing is very rough, and only my mother and a few others managed to make it to the cafeteria regularly; the rest holed up in their bunks, seasick.
The photos that struck me first were these shots of an abandoned Norwegian whale oil facility on Deception Island. At first I thought I was looking at something by Frank Gehry and couldn’t understand why someone would be doing blobitecture in Antarctica. Abandoned decades ago, the structures tilted as the ground shifted. The air is so dry in Antarctica that the metal has rusted relatively little.
Baby Gentoo penguins