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Meare's Glacier Calving Creates a Tidal Wave



Meare's Glacier Calving Creates a Tidal Wave as an Ice Berg Hits the Ocean.

Meare's Glacier Calving Creates a Tidal Wave as an Ice Berg Hits the Ocean.
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4 Comments | Report
mlorenekimura PRO+
 
mlorenekimura February 15, 2016
That is fantastic to see the calving. I saw an iceberg foundering in Newfoundland and it was the sound that was so amazing. Incredible photo!
rolandbach
 
rolandbach April 06, 2016
The right moment to shoot. Well done.
MickAlicic PRO
 
MickAlicic April 25, 2016
Sad topic, Great shot! Coted in Cliffs.
arnoldgum PRO
 
arnoldgum October 19, 2016
Agreed, the sound is totally amazing. A loud snap that echoes through the silence of the water and ice! It's an amazing experience!

Behind The Lens

Location
This photo was one of a series of photos I shot of Meares Glacier, from the deck of the Discovery, as the glacier calved off a huge chunk of ice! I shot the sequence from the initial loud snap of the cracking ice, tracking the ice as it collapsed into the water and following the resultant wave of water rushing past the boat and along the shore. The Meares Glacier is located at the head of the Unakwik Inlet in the Prince William Sound, bordered by the majestic Chugach National Forest. Anchorage, Alaska is roughly 79 miles to the West. We departed from tiny Whittier, Alaska on the Discovery, a converted missionary boat with a conveniently shallow draft that allowed us to explore the myriad bays, islands and waterfalls within the Prince William Sound. Whitter has a population that is a tad over 200, mostly in occupations tied to fishing or tourism. During World War II, the United States Army operated Camp Sullivan in Whittier, including the port and railroad near Whittier Glacier. This site was chosen for being obscured from the sky by near constant cloud cover and for its proximity to Japan. The port at Camp Sullivan became the entrance for United States soldiers into Alaska.
Time
This shot was taken a bit before mid-day on June 1, 2007, having spent the prior evening in the shadow of the Nellie Juan Glacier and then, early the next morning, motoring across the Prince William Sound, past basking harbor seals and sea otters self-anchored to the kelp, to the Unakwik Inlet and the Meares Glacier. In June, the sun pretty much shines 24x7 in the Prince William Sound, seemingly only reluctantly reverting into twilight around 11 pm or so.
Lighting
The day was overcast, so I was bracing my 500 mm telephoto lens against the railing on the bow of the Discovery, at least part of the time to avoid motion blur. Luckily, the glassy, bluish-white glacial ice is wonderfully reflective, even under cloud cover, and generally results in fairly fast exposure times.
Equipment
The pictures were shot with my trusty Nikon D200 with a Tamron 200-500mm zoom lens, both which survived the salt spray, snow, rain and cold superbly. The Nikon D200 was expertly sealed against the elements and allowed me to sit out on the bow, like a Labrador hanging out the car window, capturing the magnificence of the prince William Sound. As for the Tamron lens, I still use the Tamron lens to shoot bird pictures today. I shot the pictures without tripod for the greatest flexibility in capturing random events as we progressed through the sound.
Inspiration
As the glacier started to shear off, there was a loud, crisp, snap ("PAAAACKKKK"), and I could see little rivers of ice and water running down the outside of the glacier. I knew, by the shear volume of sound, that a really large part of the glacier was about to plummet into the freezing bay below. It was too early to tell just where the ice had cracked but clearly, something big was coming. I propped my lens up on the railing of the bow, facing the rising torrents of ice shards and boulders sliding down the outer edge of the glacier, determined to capture the entire momentous rush of ice as the face of the glacier split.
Editing
The original shots are eerily cold and menacing. The day was quite overcast, which added to the gloom and menace of those shots. However, for Viewbug, I boosted the lighting and contrast to more clearly highlight the action details.
In my camera bag
Nowadays, my Nikon D7000 with a Nikkor 28-300mm f3.5 follows me almost everywhere. I add in the Tamron 200-500mm zoom when I head out into nature, mainly for birds, dragon flies and the occassional varmit. I also have multiple tripods including a heavy/sturdy one for still shots of flowers, a light one for carrying out to the beach, and a monopod.
Feedback
Capturing ice events is similar to landscape photography in that location matters. Think location, location, location. It's also about timing, as the events are often there and then gone in an instant. Having an experienced captain who is familiar with the various Alaskan glaciers and who understands photography and spends the time to position the boat to set up the best shots is a must. Furthermore, a shallow draft boat that can get into shallow bays and up close and personal to the glaciers is very helpful. The larger cruise ships generally stay further out in deeper waters, making a sharp, detailed shot of the glaciers a bit harder, particularly on cloudy days. There are also many places the cruise ships are simply are too big to travel through. The Discovery (of Discovery Voyages), the ship that we were hosted on, had ten passengers and 4 crew, and was focused on getting us to the most magnificent, isolated bays, waterfalls, and forest trails that the Prince William Sound is so known for.

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