• Kaisa Siren

The abstract world of Antarctica

Päivitetty: 16. touko 2019

I live at the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland in a town called Rovaniemi. Many might think that when on holiday direction is South and sun. For me South yes, but where more snow and ice the better! I was fortunate to visit the Antarctic peninsula during February light of 2019.

The 30 km wide iceberg which floated by one evening finally opened my eyes, my thinking and my creativity.

This was the very first stop and a chance to photograph icebergs. And luckily it was a beautiful one near the ship.

My expectations for this lifelong dream come true were massive. Massive on emotional level but also gigantic expectations photographically. I was excited to see the snow and ice thousands of years old as well as the rare animal and bird species. Along with photographing the reality I wanted to move on and find the abstract shapes, lines and forms.

I was in awe all the time there. The proportions of the continent, glaciers and the icebergs cannot be described. And also challenging to photograph. Many times on the ship deck I just had to grasp my breath as the apartment building high icebergs were floating by. It was easy to get the regular good photos but I wanted to get deeper and further from the comfort zone. After taking the souvenir shot I was hoping to concentrate on what I do at home. Looking for the abstract nature scenes as well photographing using the intentional camera movement. But it was difficult to go to the abstract with all this beauty surrounding.

As days advanced I got thousands of photos, textured snow, turquoise icebergs, leopard seals, whales, penguins and more ice and snow. Each encountering was meaningful, exciting and a once in a lifetime experience. Lots of pictures but the gut feeling that nothing great had been accomplished yet. Then one evening we passed a massive iceberg, it was 30 kilometers wide and had broken off a large ice shelf. This finally opened my eyes. This place is so awesome, so large, that it cannot be comprehended. I have to focus on the small things; cracks on the icebergs, the blue colors of the ice and the pink of the setting sun. I stayed on deck until the very last light and finally let myself go to do the intentional camera movements.

And as always, the trip ends too soon and you feel that so much more could be photographed. But there is always an end. I need to return. Antarctica is more than amazing and on the next trip I know what to concentrate on.

My main target was to concentrate on close-ups and the beautiful textures on the super old ice.

We sailed to the Southern Antarctic Circle. The day was snowy. Far in the distance I saw three skyscrapes, or oil rigging towers. Finally about two or three hours later they finally passed us. Gigantic towers with a beautiful shape and awesome color in the snowstorm.

Deception Island of the South Shetland Islands. An island of true contrast. Here I found the graphic lines I had been looking for. The glacier is covered with ashes and gravel due to volcanic eruption.

Another view of Deception Island. The color of the exposed soil is unbelievable! This is Antactica for me, underneath the blue ice lies hidden colors from the whole spectrum.

The soil of Deception Island also holds a lot of iron ore turning the colors rusty and making beautiful forms.

After having passed the massive 30 km wide iceberg I finally got into my favourite photography, intentional camera movement.

Sunsets in February are spectacular.

It was a surprise to me that the mountains actually reach the clouds, pink clouds, on the peninsula. More than 3000 meters above the sea level stating right from the waterfront.

In these two photos I try to convey the massive proportions of the landscape as well as the wonderful colors that it holds during sunset and sunrise.

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© 2019 Valokuvaaja Kaisa Sirén.