Photography Travelogues by Peter Eastway – Antarctica 2/3
August 5, 2011 10 Comments
It was steep. Really steep. Well, at least that is my memory of a mid-morning stroll that turned ugly. I was wandering up to the top of a headland for a view over the glacier that falls into Neko Harbour, Antarctica. It wasn’t a difficult walk, but you had to dig the edges of your shoes into the snow to stop yourself from slipping backwards. A good pair of snow shoes would have been helpful, but I was in the waterproof Wellington boots needed to make the wet landings. We’d leave the ship once or twice a day in inflatable zodiacs and usually you’d disembark into shallow but icy cold water on the beaches. The Wellington boots were perfect for that, but not ideal for snow mountaineering!
I found a great view of the glacier at the lookout, but within a few minutes, the weather deteriorated badly. Catabatic winds, produced by the micro climate over the now hidden glacier, played havoc with everyone. In fact, the winds were so strong many people decided to slide back down the hill, rather than risk being blown over the edge!
I had a little Panasonic Lumix GF1 tucked in my jacket, so I sacrificed it to the elements and took a few photos of what was an amazing scene. Looking out from inside my hood and jacket, with the wind at my back, it was easy to imagine I was in a cinema watching a movie, except my feet were a little cold!
I photographed Malcolm, one of the photographers with me on the expedition, walking up to the lookout. He was struggling against the winds and each step appeared laboured, as though he was walking in slow motion. Holding his camera and tripod over his shoulder, he reminded me of a mountain climber with a flag, about to claim a first ascent.
The Lumix GF1 shoots raw files and the file quality is great. However, as expected, the original capture was relatively flat. After all, this is exactly what the scene was like – flat and lightless – but a little bit of contrast fixed that. What I was most disappointed about was how sedate the hill appeared. It looked flat, nothing like the steep incline I remembered!
I must have tilted the camera awkwardly at the moment of exposure – at least that’s my story! And it’s a good thing Capture One has a few tools to correct such poor camera technique!
I selected the Straighten tool in the toolbox at the top of the Capture One screen. By holding down my mouse on this tool, a small drop menu opens and I selected Rotate Freehand. From here, I clicked in the preview window and dragged my mouse down and around – the image rotates and crops automatically. Most importantly, I was able to recreate the steepness of that mountainous trail that led up to the lookout.
Within the image was a marker and another climber, so I changed to the Crop tool and removed them from the photo. A few more adjustments were made in Capture One and then the image was exported to Photoshop for some final fine-tuning.
To see more of Peter Eastway’s images on Antarctica, visit his website at http://www.petereastway.com/showpics.taf?portno=57&PortName=ROCKHOPPER%20EXHIBITION