<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Evanescent Light : NewWork_2020

: fleeting, transitory
evanescent wave: a nearfield standing wave, employed for total internal reflection microscopy

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last updated 04/03/2020

Jan 28- March 8th: A long and wonderful voyage to the remote Ross Sea side of Antarctica, beginning with a week in New Zealand

Feb. 8th. We boarded the Spirit of Enderby at Bluff harbour, on the very tip of the Southern Island of New Zealand. Our voyage would take us deep into the Ross Sea - the 'heart of Antarctica' - and for several days we would be on the southernmost ship in the world.

The trip was organized by Heritage Expeditions. This is their description of the itinerary, and the reality exceeded our expectations

"The Ross Sea region is the last great unspoiled part of the world’s oceans. To date there has only been minimal exploitation, and to enter this region of Antarctica is a privilege, with only a few hundred people able to visit each year. The East Antarctic coastline is some of the most remote in the world and is locked under ice for most of the year. The rest of the time it is buffeted by strong katabatic winds coming off the polar ice cap. Wildlife is abundant during these brief summer months and includes Adélie and Emperor penguins, South Polar Skuas, Snow Petrels, Southern Fulmars and many more species of bird. Both whales and seals abound here at this time and can be found feeding in the rich waters around the ice edge.

Cruising into the Ross Sea takes you further south into the Continent than any sea route. Immediately to the west of the Ross Sea is a region known as East Antarctica, discovered by the French explorer Dumont d’Urville in 1840. It was mapped in detail much later by the Australian Antarctic Expedition of 1911 to 1913 led by Sir Douglas Mawson. The region is often referred to as the ‘Home of the Blizzard.’ It is in these two regions that the relics of the ‘heroic period’ of Antarctic exploration can be seen and experienced. There are 5 historic huts and many other historic sites that bring this period of Antarctic history alive in a way that the many journals and books written about them can’t. To visit Borchgrevink’s Hut at Cape Adare, Shackleton’s Hut at Cape Royds, Scott’s Huts at Cape Evans and Hut Point are truly unique experiences that brings this period of history to life."



As soon as the Spirit of Enderby left the shelter of Bluff harbour we had a taste of the rough seas in store for us for many days to come.
Drenched pilot returning to shore; Bluff, New Zealand

Pilot boat in rough seas off Bluff harbour, New Zealand


Feb 18 - Terra Nova Bay, first landing on the Antarctic continent

Two days sailing from Cape Adair through a rough Ross Sea brought us to Terra Nova Bay, discovered by Captain Scott on his first polar expedition and named by him after one of the relief ships on his expedition.

The strong winds we had experienced began to fade in the evening, and we made a landing after dinner. This was the first time we set foot on land after leaving Campbell Island seven days ago. Looking at maps before our voyage I had not appreciated just how vast the Southern Ocean is. .

A wild, windy,cold day in the Ross Sea.














Feb 17th - Cape Adare, first sight of the Antarctic Continent

After a long and rough five days sailing we woke very early in the morning to see Cape Adare, the tip of the Antarctic continent, and the vast panorama of the transantarctic mountains..

Captain James Ross discovered Cape Adare in January 1841 and named it after his friend the Viscount Adare (the title is derived from Adare, Ireland). In January 1895, Norwegian explorers Henrik Bull and Carsten Borchgrevink from the ship Antarctic landed at Cape Adare as the first documented landing on Antarctica, collecting geological specimens. Borchgrevink returned to the cape leading his own expedition in 1899 and erected two huts, the first human structures built in Antarctica. The expedition members overwintered and the survivors were picked up in January 1900. This was the first expedition party ever to winter over on the Antarctic continent. Zoologist Nicolai Hanson died during the winter and was buried at Cape Adare. [Wikipedia]









Borchgrevink built his hut amongst the largest Adélie penguin colony in Antarctica, though at the time of our visit most penguins had gone back out to sea. Dense ice around the beaches precluded a landing to visit the hut, but we had hopes this may have cleared when we passed by Cape Adare again on our way back north.








Feb 14th - First iceberg, crossing the Antarctic Circle, and humpback whales






Feb 11th - An all-too-brief afternoon on Campbell Island

From the Captain's log:

"Dropping anchor in the shelter of Campbell Island's Perseverance Harbour last night, Spirit of Enderby's In the Wake of Scott & Shackleton expeditioners woke this morning to enjoy a full day exploring this Subantarctic wonderland. Starting the day with a Zodiac cruise of the coastline we spotted Campbell Island Shag, Teal and Snipe, Arctic Terns, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross and Sea Lions as well as taking in the sights of the Loneliest Tree, Venus Cove and Terror Shoal. Following a hearty lunch back on board our expedition vessel, it was a short Zodiac ride over to the island's old weather station and start of the Col Lyall boardwalk where we were greeted by Hooker's/New Zealand Sea Lions. Making our way over the island we passed nesting Southern Royal Albatross and, further on, enjoyed spending time observing groups of young birds gamming it up during their intimate and rarely seen dance amid the purple/blue bloom of megaherbs Pleurophyllum speciosum."

Our time on the island was rather short, and I decided to concentrate on photographing the southern royal albatross - a species I had not seen before and which is found in appreciable numbers only on Campbell Island. On the way up to the high land where the albatross nest the boardwalk threads a path through very distinct zones of unique vegetation. I would have liked to spend more time with the exotic megaherbs, but passed them by unseen in my hurry to get to the birds. But there would be more opportunities when we visited other subantarctic islands on our way back from the Ross Sea.


Boardwalk path on Campbell islands past the albatross nesting sites to a high viewpoint






"Royal albatross are huge birds standing about 1 m tall and with a wingspan up to 3.5 m. Breeding colonies are spread over a large area of the uplands on Campbell Island, with nests every 20-50 m. Birds first return to colonies as pre-breeders aged 4-8 years where they find a mate, form a monogamous bond, and usually breed the following year. Pre-breeders fly into the colony in the late afternoon and advertise for a partner using a complex repertoire of signals and displays known as 'gaming'. Gaming includes aerial displays with birds continually landing, taking off and calling down to birds on the ground; return sky-calling by birds on the ground; bill yapping; bill clapping; head shakes and wing stretches. While gaming, the birds make loud whining calls and croaks that can be heard at a great distance. When an unattached female comes in to land there is a great deal of noise and respectful manoeuvering by the males to make a favourable impression." [Ian Wilson; Birdphotographersnet]








Jan 31-Feb 7th: Around New Zealand in a campervan

We rented a campervan from Maui Rentals, conveniently situated right nest to Christchurch airport. Our original plan was to drive a long loop, travelling over Arthur's Pass to the West Coast, continuing south along the coast road past the glaciers, and returning along the interior route by Lake Tekapo. However, when we reached the coast at Greymouth that seemed like too much driving, and instead we headed north along the less visited coastline to the end of the road at Karamea. That turned out to be a lucky decision, as torrential rainfall caused multiple landslides further south, blocking the road and potentially trapping us so we could not join our boat before it sailed.

We used The NZ Frenzy South Island guidebook to point us to fascinating off-the-beaten-track locations.


Two iconic birds of New Zealand


Photos from the northern west coast, South Island, New Zealand

Lookin back on photos I took during a previous visit to New Zealand I see that many shots are of wide landscapes in good light. Although we were now back in summer, rather than in the middle of winter as previously, the weather gave uniformly overcast skies, if not rain. Perhaps for that reason I found myself concentrating 'small thing', often abstract subjects. Or perhaps it marks a change in my photographic sensibilities over the intervening 10 years.












Across Arthur's Pass and into West Coast rainforests









A couple of photos from Bolsa Chica


A long road trip over New Year to New Mexico to photograph the birds at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge



Sandhill Cranes













A Christmas visit to the giant sequoias and Yosemite Valley

Anne was working over Christmas at the children's hospital in Fresno. I joined her for a few days, taking side-trips into the Sierra Nevada to visit Kings Canyon, Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks. A strong winter storm had left the landscape blanketed with snow at elevations above about 5000ft.







Oil on water iridescent patterns formed by snow-melt on the Kings Canyon parking lot.



An overnight visit to Yosemite. I was hoping for snow on the ground and morning mists, but too late. Michael Frye did better a couple of days earlier as the winter storm was just clearing.



Early morning ice on Upper Yosemite Falls

Snow on the San Gabriels

An unusual late November strorm dropped snow on the San Gabriel mountains down to about the 2000 ft level. Photos here taken looking across the UCI campus from University Hills toward the mountains.


A visit to the Huntington Gardens


November 22nd: A visit to the Aquarium of the Pacific


Two Sunday mornings at Bolsa Chica


Earlier photos are HERE

Created 01/15/2020
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