My Favourite Photograph?

June 18, 2015  •  1 Comment

Adelie penguins at Paulet Island. Canon EOS-1D X with EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X.

It is difficult to say one photograph is a favourite. Unlike ice creams which come in a limited number of flavours, photographs are myriad in number and one's taste changes from time to time. However, this is currently my all-time favourite photograph taken from Antarctica earlier this year.

I was on a Zodiac with Aurora Expedition's Howard Whelan and Canon Master Cinematographer Abraham Joffe, just touching the stony shore. We were shooting for the Tales By Light episode. Not too far away, this Adelie penguin was contemplating a swim, but keeping an eye on us. However, he (she) was the only penguin at all interested in what we were up to.

The elements in the photo that I like most are the low camera angle, which means we're at the same level as the penguin and below the tops of the growler ice bergs in the background. I also love the blurred background. The blur turns a straight photograph into a work of art, purely because of the bokeh - the out-of-focus areas. They almost look like they have been hand-painted.

In terms of technique, the telephoto lens does all the work, but you need to focus on something relatively close with areas behind and in front of your subject to be blurred. If you focus on a subject near infinity, then there's nothing behind the focus point to be out-of-focus and the result just looks like an ordinary shot.

If you haven't caught Tales By Light yet, produced by Canon and National Geographic Channel, please tune in this Sunday evening. My mum says this will be the best episode of the six because her son is in it. We've currently seen four amazing episodes featuring Art Wolfe, Darren Jew and Krystle Wright. Following my episode on Antarctica, the following week Richard I'Anson will feature in an amazing piece on India and the Himalayas. Feedback (so far - I hope mine matches it) has been sensational!

So, please tune in on Sunday at 8.30 on the National Geographic Channel.

And if you'd like to visit many of the same Antarctic/South Georgia destinations this November/December, join me with Aurora Expeditions as part of a special photography group. For more information, visit or click here

There's also a neat little online brochure which explains lots more - click here.


Greg Curtis(non-registered)
Hi Peter,

Your mum is right! I've enjoyed all episodes of Tales by Light but I truly think yours has been the best to date. Some great scenery, wildlife and advice for all photographers. Very entertaining and great to watch.

Fantastic website site by the way.

Kind regards
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