How Minimalist Can You Go?

May 10, 2020

Weddell Sea Study 03Weddell Sea Study 03Late Season, Antarctica 2020

Iceberg, Weddell Sea, Antarctica
Phase One XF 150MP, 110mm Schneider, f4 @ 1/1000 second, ISO 50

I would probably never enter this photo into a competition, yet I love it! In front of a judging panel, I'd suggest it is too quiet, too subtle to elicit much response. It hasn't got the impact of a competition winner, but that's okay. It is going to look sensational in my Late Season photo book, which I'm about to send off to Momento Pro. It is a 420mm square book based on my Middlehurst book - and all I have left to finish is the cover!

So, why do I love this photo so much? It was shot from the ship as we slowly sailed south into the Weddell Sea, always mindful that this is where Shackleton and Hurley were stranded on the Endurance (which didn't). While I was blissfully oblivious to the icy awareness of our captain as we ventured down towards Snow Hill Island, I was fully connected with the almost windless sea, the low cloud and the surreal 'icescapes' around us. 

It was magical.

And it was very minimal. The water reflected the mist above and it is only along the central line of the frame that anything is happening. Above and below, all is quiet. And in a big print, you can see all the detailed layering in the iceberg, which I have accentuated with a little clarity and sharpening.

No doubt this photograph does more for me and the other passengers on board who experienced this wonderful morning because it brings back memories. Having said that, I can't remember if it was completely silent - I'm sure it wasn't with the buzz of other passengers on deck - but that's the feeling I had as I looked out. That's the memory I have now as I write about it.

I have some wonderfully wild and dramatic landscape from Antarctica and I think they work all the better when you can compare them to scenes like this. And that's what a photo book or a slide presentation allow us to do that a single print cannot: tell more of a story.

And a small announcement for subscribers to my Landscape Photography MasterClass. I have added in a 19th chapter which provides a series of 8 movies on capture techniques, everything from understanding the histogram and bracketing, to stitching and focus stacking. And if you're not yet a subscriber, now's your chance - you can check the free lessons out at


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