B is for Black

No birds that I noticed today. Sorry. I am still captivated by my look back at our Antarctica trip. Most of my bird shots were taken with DSLRs. However it is fair to say that many times it was incredibly useful to have a pocket camera. Many landscapes / seascapes were taken with what is rather disparagingly called a Point and Shoot. These are nowadays anything but P&S. They have the capacity to produce RAW files, they have good lenses and they are often highly customisable. Indeed one blogger I follow bemoans the end of the ‘simple’ camera, the one without all the bells and whistles. Their failing continues to be poor image quality at higher ISOs. This is gradually changing. My Fuji X100s has excellent high ISO image quality but has a fixed 35mm equivalent lens. But for Antarctica I took a camera that was not new. The thinking being that I was likely to expose it to seawater and sub-zero temperatures. If it packed up, so be it. I took my Lumix DMC LX5. Made my Panasonic but with a very decent Leica lens built in.

I set it to take RAW and jpeg files of each shot so if Mrs. Ha wanted to nip down to Fotomax to get some printed she could do so without waiting 3 years for me to process them. When I looked at the RAW files I decided they were a little grainy. That meant of course they were ideal for the black and white conversion treatment. So to prove that you don’t need super-expensive gear to take half decent scenic shots, here are 4 I chose this afternoon.

BW-landscape Outlook-BW Whaling-station-BW BWseascapeAnd finally, if you got this far……….. drum roll:




Pick up a Pppp-prinia?

There was a thinly veiled request yesterday for a penguin. I don’t do requests. Its too stressful.

So here instead, to restore some some semblance of wildlife cred’ is a Prinia. A rather Plain Prinia, but a prinia nonetheless.

Prinia inornata

Prinia inornata

Plain but beautiful. But I did have a quick look at the holiday snaps and thought this might be a candidate. There are a couple of penguins lurking in the background. The hero is the Tenor Seal, reaching for that Top ‘C’ (or is it ‘Sea’?) – he’s been listening to too much Pavarotti.

The Tenor Seal

The Tenor Seal

And finally, just to prove I am not too churlish, here is a solo penguin.

The Long March

The Long March

I hope that keeps the customer satisfied.


Enter the Penguin

I am still trawling through my images but there are a few decent penguin shots to be going on with. We saw 7 species in all. Magellanic, Gentoo, King, Rockhopper, Macaroni, Chinstrap and Adelie.

The Macaroni were only seen at sea (at least as far as I am concerned). We had very few sightings of Adelie as the colony we planned to visit was inaccessible due to poor conditions. The Magellanic were present in the Beagle Channel and on Saunders Island. I don’t recall them being seen elsewhere. The Rockhoppers were common on Saunders Island. The Chinstraps were only seen after we reached the Antarctic Peninsula. The most abundant were the King and Gentoo penguins, the latter in particular seemingly the most flexible in their requirements for colonisation.

To kick off, here is the first and best Adelie we saw.


It is a delicate looking bird with a delightful pale blue orbital ring. Very smart indeed.

The King penguin is simply the most impressive of the ones we saw. Note we were not lucky enough to see Emperor penguins. Example 1!


Example 2:


The Rockhoppers looked like little thugs:

Number one doing what its name says it should – rock-hopping


Luxuriating in a bathing pool


Rockhopper hooligan flash mob


The Chinstraps are for me the stars. Smart, well dressed, elegant and quite the dandy. And they like sliding in the snow.


I’m going to stop here for a while and allow you to digest the glory that is the penguin. More Chinstraps, Magellanics and Gentoos anon. Give me time, dear friends.