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When I was at school, I was struggling with a…

King Penguins, St Andrews, South Georgia
Fujifilm X-T3, 200mm f2.0 lens, f6.4 @ 1/400 second, ISO 160

We've all see the National Geographic photos of thousands upon thousands of penguins and if you travel to South Georgia, there are several locations you'll find them. While Salisbury Plain is pretty good because of a rising hill behind, it's hard to get above the penguins. At St Andrews, there are several locations where you can get up above and look down on a sea of bobbling heads!

There were three things I wanted.

First, I wanted edge to edge penguins. This gives the viewer the impression that the mass of birds goes on and on for ever! (And they do!) I used a telephoto lens to make this easier to do.

Second, I wanted rim lighting - meaning, by looking towards the sun, my subjects would be back-lit and the light coming past them would illuminate their feathers, creating a 'rim' of white light. It's important to keep your exposure a little darker than usual so you can keep control over these highlights. So, I wander around the outside of the colony until I had the right light.

Third, I looked for patterns. The adolescent penguins are orangy-brown and tended to congregate together - like teenagers I guess! This makes an interesting pattern within a pattern, so to speak.

In post-production, I enhanced the contrast to reveal the rim light and the colour difference between the adolescents and their parents.

Interested in a trip to Antarctica or South Georgia? Check out the voyages I'm doing with Aurora Expeditions here.

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