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Mountains 2
Mountains 1

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1/ Distant Ridge
Despite most of the photographs that you see of the place, much of Antarctica is actually very flat and boring. It's just that flat boring places don't photograph very well and once you've seen a couple of shots, that's about as much as you need to see.

Most of continental Antarctica is taken up with a vast high ice plateau that part from undulations due to crevassing and ridges of blown snow, is largely featureless. Most of the photographs therefore are of coastal regions that present much more interesting landscapes.




2/ Peaks, ice and nunataks
Mountains in the Antarctic interior are few and far between. Many are a special kind of mountain called a "nunatak". The Trans Antarctic Mountains that stretch from one side of the continent to the other break through the ice cap in places to form such nunataks - they are mountains that are surrounded completely by an ice field. A sort of cold version of the ocean and islands except that these are on land and raised high above sea level.

Due to their isolation and sterile surroundings, many nunataks are little or never visited, though there are records of some Antarctic birds such as snow petrels nesting on nunataks over a hundred kilometres from the coast where they feed. Why they do so is unknown, maybe they just like the scenery.



3/ Mountain weather
Mountain weather is always dramatic. Pushing clouds and air up or down to different altitudes with the effects that this has on winds and precipitation. Shafts of sun often break through at unexpected angles dramatizing the whole scene.

The shaft of light in the lower part of this picture highlights the aptly named "Sunshine Glacier". The arrangement of mountains and valleys and direction of the prevailing winds meant that often the cloud cover was lifted above this glacier so that a shaft of sunlight could illuminate it when everything else is in cloud or shadow. Even when the glacier is in shadow, it is brighter shadow than its surroundings.



4/ Sunbeam

Picked out by a shaft of sunlight. Robin peak glows in a dusting of early winter snow.




5/ You can't have too many sunset shots

....and the type I like best are where the ground is lit up against a dark sky.


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