Antarctica: Falkland Islands

Identifiable by a pronounced marking passing over the eyes, the Black-browed Albatross (Diomedea melanophris) is one of the most beautiful of the albatrosses. They nest on islands in the South Atlantic, but the largest populations live in the Falklands. Steeple Jason is one of the most remote islands, situated in the extreme northwest. It remains an unspoiled haven for wildlife due to its location, rugged topography, and private ownership.

Black-browed Albatrosses lay a single egg on a nest composed of mud and guano, a solid pillar used year after year. The nests are equidistant from one another, just a bit further than pecking distance apart. A large rookery displays the same order and density as a suburban development.

Because this population hasn’t been molested by humans, they have no fear. The two birds in the foreground waddled up to me without evincing any signs of stress.

I used two two-stop graduated neutral density filters to balance the exposure and bring out detail in the sky. The resulting composition layers sky, sea, land, and birds, each with a distinct tonality.

Don't forget to check out my show, ART WOLFE'S TRAVELS TO THE EDGE, on your local PBS channel to learn more about these fearless Black-browed Albatrosses and my other worldly travels.

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