27 October 2015
Images: © Roger Clark ARPS
As we look forward to welcoming our special guest speakers, Angie Butler and Carolina Mantella of Ice Tracks Expeditions (www.ice-tracks.com) next week, we hear from Roger Clark ARPS, who recently gained his Associateship with this stunning Natural History panel.
Roger Clark ARPS
“The King Penguin (Aptenodytes Patagonica Patagonicus) during the Spring and Summer.”
Statement of Intent
The primary intent of my panel is to record different stages of the life-cycle of the King Penguin during the seasons of breeding and incubation.
The secondary intent is to show images displaying some of the endearing characteristics of the King Penguin that had elevated this creature to be my prime wildlife focus.
A final intent is to illustrate the habitat and environment of the King Penguin, with images taken during the Spring in South Georgia, and the Summer in the East Falkland Islands.
There was real tragedy and emotion behind why I actually chose King Penguins as my Natural History ARPS subject but let’s just say I laboured the question: “if I had one week of my life left, as a wildlife photographer what would I really want to go and photograph?”
Kings are different to other penguins - they are more humanoid than bird and that makes them so entertaining to be with, and photograph. They also live in one of the wildest and greatest places on the planet giving a real exciting edge to the project.
In 2013 I joined a photographer led party destined for South Georgia. The first sight of so many King Penguins with a backdrop of glaciers and snow covered mountains was just overwhelming. Fortunately they were not too difficult to photograph but all the time you are looking for an image for your Panel that is different. The spring weather was often a hindrance as temperature changes were so extreme and fickle. On many an occasion conditions were so adverse, and hands so cold, that changing a lens was out of the question.
It was never too difficult to come up with a statement of intent and the keywords stated the obvious; life cycle, endearing characteristics, habitat and environment.
Putting a panel together was the most difficult part of the ARPS. No matter how many images you take, it’s a difficult task finding the right one to fit the jigsaw puzzle you are trying to create. A ‘fit’ was rarely ‘the best photograph’.
At one point I took the hard decision to head back south and look for more images now the outline of the puzzle was emerging. The Falklands have a colony of a few thousand Kings and I visited in their summer to particularly capture images of Kings incubating eggs on their feet. I was lucky to get many good imaged in addition lucky to capture the slow transfer of the egg from one partner to the other.
The accommodation was close to the Kings colony so I could be with the Kings at both dawn and dusk.
One of my reasons for doing an ARPS was that it was a challenge for me that had to be confronted and I knew I would be a better photographer after it.
From my experience I would encourage future applicants to learn from my mistakes and;
- Aim high and don’t underestimate the high standard.
- One Advisory Day is a must but two Days are better.
- Before submission try a fresh pair of eyes to review your panel for the simple errors
- It’s an old chestnut - but don’t give the judges any reason to fail you.
By Roger Clark ARPS
If you fancy learning more about expeditions and photography to Polar Regions, why not join us next week at The Assembly Room, Council House, North Street in Chichester – 4th November 2015.
Book online here: Ice Tracks Expeditions Talk
£5 for RPS members / £8 Non-members
Paul Gilmour LRPS
Southern Region Organiser