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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 🙂


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