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Alkefjellet

360° panorama

Alkef­jel­let ist one of the gre­at natu­ral won­ders of Spits­ber­gen and bey­ond. For me, it is one of the big pla­ces on Earth. Just the cliffs, ver­ti­cal basalt rocks up to more than 100 m high, are worth see­ing, but the obvious main attrac­tion are many tent­housands of Brünich’s guil­lemots bree­ding here, tur­ning Alkef­jel­let into a place which is just explo­ding with life like few other ones on the pla­net (Gold Har­bour and St. Andrew’s Bay on South Geor­gia come to my mind). Some­ti­mes a polar fox or even a polar bear is seen clim­bing on tho­se parts of the cliff which are less steep, loo­king for eggs or chicks that fell down from the nest.

How to pho­to­graph a place like this? This is a good ques­ti­on. I have been many times to Alkef­jel­let and I have tried in many dif­fe­rent ways, but without results that I’d be 100 % hap­py with. Of cour­se you can catch a total view of the migh­ty cliff, aim at a lar­ge num­ber of birds in one frame or cap­tu­re indi­vi­du­al birds sit­ting on a ledge or even in flight (qui­te a chal­len­ge to get a sharp pho­to of a Brünich’s guil­lemot in flight). But wha­te­ver you pho­to­graph, it is always just one facet of a place that is so over­whel­ming in all aspects. Not to men­ti­on the sounds and the smell. You just have to expe­ri­ence Alkef­jel­let yourself!

Of cour­se, try­ing to pan­ora­ma-pho­to­graph Alkef­jel­let had been a tempt­ati­on for some time. But how to do with a ver­ti­cal cliff that is rising up strai­ght from the sea, whe­re do you put the tri­pod up solid? A second-class free­hand solu­ti­on was not real­ly an opti­on for me.

The first attempt to reach a low ter­race that was not occu­p­ied by birds fai­led. The pho­to (thanks to Pål Remen for the pho­to and to Moni­ka for dri­ving the Zodiac!) may look heroic, but, well, at least I did not fall into the water.

A bit fur­ther on, the­re was ano­t­her, lower rock, just big enough for me and the triplod 🙂

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last modification: 2019-01-18 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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