The Amazing And Beautiful Cuverville Island

The dramatic and harsh beauty of Cuverville Island, Antarctica.

Cuverville Island is a great big rock off the Antarctic Peninsula. A hard edged landscape covered in deep snow and surrounded by water, icebergs and wildlife Cuverville Island is an extraordinary place for photography.


A Gentoo penguin, standing alert on the steep slopes of Cuverville Island, Antarctica.


This dark, rocky island off the west coast of Graham Land in Antarctica hosts a breeding colony of around 6,500 gentoo penguins as well as southern giant petrels and Antarctic shags.

A dramatic sky and calm waters frame masses of ice and snow off Cuverville Island, Antarctica.

I landed on the island after a fabulous off shore zodiac exploration with participants on board the Aurora Expeditions operated Polar Pioneer on a photography tour I was co-leading with fellow photographer and tutor David Burren.

The top of an Iceberg on aqua waters under a mournful sky off Cuverville Island in Antarctica.

The Advantages Of Making Photos From A Zodiac

It was exciting floating almost silently between the icebergs in the large bay off the coast of Cuverville Island. The weather was bleak and the light cold, but we passed over the calm waters and worked hard to make some really lovely photos from the safe of our zodiac. I was very proud with the images members of the tour produced.

As well as providing a peaceful a relatively relatively wave free base from which to make your photos the fact that the zodiac is so close to the water really helps to monumentalize even relatively small icebergs.

Photographing The Mournful Beauty Of Antarctica

That cold, bluish light is perfect for the mournful beauty of Antarctica. It's a totally alien landscape, one on which we humans need to tread with great care. We don't belong there, but I feel it's fine to visit Antarctica so as to appreciate it's beauty and better understand the need to protect it. I support responsible, eco-friendly tourism for those reasons. And, of course, the photography opportunities are spectacular.

A dramatic cloudscape off Cuverville Island in Antarctica.

Directly above is a distant view of Cuverville Island that hints at the island's inland terrain. But, above all else, the image is dependent on light. The light, breaking through the clouds, seems to kiss areas of the landscape and foreground water bringing them to life. I'd go so far as to say that, as a metaphor, the light provides a sense of hope to this otherwise bleak landscape. Ultimately it's not the landscape, but how we perceive it that determines the success of the image.

Why It's Important To Travel To Antarctica

Antarctica is a long way from any major city. Traveling to the region involves time, significant expense and long days at sea. But the opportunities for great photography and real adventure have to be earned. From my perspective, if you can afford it and are prepared for a little hardship, you'll love it. I was fortunate indeed to have had the opportunity to work and visit the region and very much look forward to my next visit to the breathtakingly beautiful Cuverville Island.

But wait, there's more. Even better than the wildlife or sublime scenery offered at Antarctic locations such as Cuverville Island was the opportunity to work and socialize with really interesting and good natured people. And that goes as much for the amazing crew and staff as it does for the paying customers, some of which have become very dear friends.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru