|Gentoo Penguin, Carcass Island|
|Written by Peter Eastway|
Carcass Island in the Falklands is owned by Rob McGill. It’s tiny and, if you can get there, accommodation is in the owner’s house and meals are taken with the family. Not surprising as there are no streets, shops or other amenities – and that is undoubtedly the attraction.
We disembarked at Carcass Island as part of our Peregrine Expedition through the Falklands, South Georgia Island and Antarctica. It was only a whistle stop in the afternoon with just enough time to walk across the isthmus to the windward side where we saw the Magellanic penguin, but it wasn’t until I returned to the lee of the island that I met lots of Gentoo penguins.
Walking along the beach, we looked down at the penguins who barely acknowledged our presence. One of the highlights of visiting these remote locations is that the wildlife are relatively unafraid of humans. However, a human perspective creates a relatively boring camera angle. One of the best angles for a penguin is around penguin height, so I lay down on my stomach and put my camera to my eye.
The issue on this day was the wind-blown sand which added to the photographs, but worried me a little as I had several weeks left and I didn’t want to lose a camera due to mechanical failure! However, I needn’t have worried as the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III and 300mm f2.8 telephoto had sufficient weather-proofing to handle the little breeze on Carcass Island.
As always, time is short. You are always balancing your opportunities: do I stay here longer and hope to get an even better photograph, or do I move on and hope to discover something better?
Back on board the Akademik Sergey Vavilov, I would look through my files for an image with a difference. We all had great photographs of penguins (although using a telephoto with the lens wide-open at f2.8 helps to create a slightly different look to a compact camera), so I was relying on my subjects to provide the sparkle!
You can play the movie above by clicking on the arrow.