Tokyo-based Martin Bailey is a wildlife and nature photographer who recently documented the spectacular, awesome beauty of Antarctica’s icebergs in a captivating photo collection. In a preceding series, Bailey shot the chilly Antarctic’s wildlife that included penguins and seals, but this time he wanted to cast the spotlight on its vast, seemingly endless icy wilderness.
Antarctica is our planet’s southernmost continent, and it includes the geographic South Pole. It is located in the Antarctic area of the Southern Hemisphere, practically entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is bordered by the Southern Ocean. Approximately 98% of Antarctica is engulfed in ice that averages at least 1.9 kilometers in thickness, which extends to all areas excluding the northernmost points of the Antarctic Peninsula.
In Bailey’s images, the nearly 10 centuries old ice varies from the whitest white to the most brilliant blue, a variation that is dependent on the amount of air trapped inside the mammoth ice crystals. In some images one can see icy that the boulders are marked by dark ash created from ancient volcanic eruptions.
Unknown to many, Antarctica is in fact a desert blanketed in black sand, on which great masses of ice fix themselves. Bailey through his perspectives of the icy wasteland finds similarities to some familiar, man-made wonders of the world like grand palaces or even the great pyramids of Egypt.
His incredible images show towering ice formations in this otherwise uninhabitable place. Antarctica typically is the driest, oldest, and windiest continent in the world, and has the highest average elevation of all the continents. Only cold acclimated organisms can live here, including many kinds of algae, fungi, plants, protista, bacteria, in addition to certain animals, like nematodes, penguins, mites, seals as well as tardigrades.
Vegetation, whenever present is tundra. Bailey’s images hardly convey how inhospitable the freezing cold can be, and instead show beautiful vistas of land that range from icy blue, pale aqua, pure white and intense cobalt.
See his images of the vast Antarctica as well as his other works in his website.