The ice mon­ster

Lau­rent Ballesta, France

Amateur Photographer - - Wildlife Photographer Of The Year -

Win­ner 2017, Earth’s En­vi­ron­ments

Lau­rent and his team had been si­lenced by the mag­ni­tude of the ice blocks. They were work­ing out of the French Du­mont d’Urville base in east Antarc­tica, record­ing the im­pact of global warm­ing. Ice shelves in some parts of the East Antarc­tic Ice Sheet are melt­ing faster than sci­en­tists had as­sumed, threat­en­ing to raise sea lev­els dra­mat­i­cally. When Lau­rent spot­ted this rel­a­tively small ice­berg, he saw the chance to show the un­der­wa­ter sec­tion for the first time. But it took three days to check out the lo­ca­tion, in­stall lines from the seabed to buoys (so Lau­rent could main­tain a def­i­nite dis­tance from it) then take the pic­tures. Back at the sta­tion com­puter, they saw the re­sult of 147 stitched im­ages. The front of the vast foot of the frozen mon­ster shone turquoise and blue in the light pen­e­trat­ing the ice ceil­ing, dwarf­ing Lau­rent’s com­pan­ions as they lit its sides. Nikon D4S, 13mm f/2.8, 1/30 to 1/60 sec at f/6.3, 147 stitched im­ages, ISO 3200, Sea­cam hous­ing, flash­lights

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