Tuesday, March 6

golden peaks

The atmosphere is so clear in Antarctica that one is easily deceived by distances; mountains that seem no more than fifty miles away may in fact be two hundred. And in the absence of haze the colors of distant objects are not like those in other parts of the world. In Antarctica mountains seen at a distance appear yellow rather than blue. Away to the east, as we entered the Gerlache Strait, I saw behind the jagged, lavender-tinted profile of the coastal mountains, the curving surface of the icefield, an expanse of yellow and salmon pink; and far to the south, beyond the end of the strait, rose the peninsula's distant yellow peaks, wonderfully distinct even though they were in fact a hundred miles away. At times when our view of the foreground was darkened or cut off by cloud and mist, the peaks farthest away were still visible in the bright sunlight that illuminated them, suggesting to me, as we passed the narrower reaches of the strait, a secret gateway to some elysian region.

-- Eliot Porter Antarctica

Eliot Porter

Marguerite Bay, Antarctica, March 1976 by Eliot Porter