An Unexpected Portrait of a Chinstrap Penguin
By Chris Linder
January 26, 2016
The Palmer Station Antarctic Research Base is located on a narrow peninsula at the foot of the Marr Ice Piedmont glacier. The nearest penguin colonies are scattered on tiny islands and accessible only by small boat; no penguins actually nest on the peninsula near the base. So on my first evening at Palmer I had pretty low expectations for wildlife when I headed out to explore the “backyard” area behind the station. Past experience, however, has taught me that bad weather can often yield surprising images. As I made my way to the base of the glacier, postholing through deep snow, I spotted a lone Chinstrap Penguin toddling along. I sat down in the snow and waited. The penguin, completely uninterested in me, proceeded to preen its feathers. Using the snowy background and flat light to my advantage, I focused on the graphic shapes of the black-and-white plumage. The resulting image was my best chinstrap portrait from a month at Palmer Station.