Antarctica

Is There only Penguins in Antarctica? - Los Angeles Travel Photographer

As I've mentioned in this Instagram post, "there's no time for down time" on this Antarctica trip.  Sometimes, it means having to finish dinner quickly, in spite of yummy food and interesting conversation, to meet the school of humpback whales.  

Humpback-Whale-Flukes-Antarctica-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

Humpback-Whale-Flukes-Antarctica-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

At first, it seemed that we were the ones approaching these whales, which newly arrived from their wintering grounds off the west coast of South and Central America.  Their skin glitter under the setting sun while we witnessed them porpoise ahead of us.  Soon, we realized that they were the ones in control, especially the three that could be circling the ship in one minute and playing hide-and-seek the next.  Our eyes looked hard into the ocean as if our vision could peel through the cold and dark surface.  Just as we thought we got a hang of knowing where they show up next, a very showy one decided to raise its "hand" to say hi, only then to flap hard into the water.  And he'd do it again and again, as we exclaimed in awe.   What a flirt! :-)

Humpback-Whale-Waving-Pectoral-Fin-Antarctica-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

Humpback-Whale-Waving-Pectoral-Fin-Antarctica-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

Now, the parting question I have for you is, based on this graph, are these the same whales that we have seen in the Pacific ocean off of California lately?  And why?  

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I Transformed this Wild Beauty at Falkland Islands - Los Angeles Transformational Beauty Photographer

The Falkland Islands are known to have one of the largest populations of Southern rockhopper penguins.  I've long looked forward to meeting such unique "people in tuxedos".  Although the rockhopper penguin is one of the world’s most numerous penguin populations, it is estimated that the population has decreased almost 90% since the early 20th century.  At the census conducted by Falklands Conservation, the total Falkland Islands population was estimated to be 320,000 breeding pairs  in 2010 vs. an estimate of 1.5 million breeding pairs in 1933.   

When we arrived on New Island, the most westerly inhabited of the Falklands archipelago, we were in such treat to meet a colony that's in nesting season.  Many were busy foraging, nesting and/or incubating their first of the two eggs.  So, this is the state in which I met them:  

A-Hopping-Southern-Rockhopper-Penguin-New-Island-Falkland-Islands-South-Ocean-Antarctica-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

A-Hopping-Southern-Rockhopper-Penguin-New-Island-Falkland-Islands-South-Ocean-Antarctica-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

Wouldn't you agree that one tends not to be the most elegant when busy?  So, I thought I'd do a representation of this species in the "Transformational Beauty" kind of manner:

Transformed-Beauty-Southern-Rockhopper-Penguin-New-Island-Falkland-Islands-South-Ocean-Antarctica-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

Transformed-Beauty-Southern-Rockhopper-Penguin-New-Island-Falkland-Islands-South-Ocean-Antarctica-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

Do you think that I've done a fine job of transforming this cutie-ful into a beautiful?