Michele Sons is a fine art, landscape and portraiture photographer from southwest Virginia. Earlier this year Michele embarked on an incredible journey to photograph Antartica, the following is the story of her adventure paired with a photo essay of the trip. Images are mixed Lensbaby and straight lens shots.
Antarctica: The Softer Side of a Harsh Land
Antarctica. Terra Australis Incognita. The unknown land of the south. A fabled land that has inspired philosophers and cartographers, adventurers and explorers throughout history. And now me. It has inspired me and captivated me.
In February of this year, I had the privilege of traveling to Antarctica with The Luminous Landscape on a dedicated photographic expedition with Antarctica XXI. It was the trip of a lifetime for me, the biggest adventure I had ever embarked upon, and so there was an awful lot of excitement and planning involved in terms of what to bring along and how to approach photographing such a unique place.
I am strongly drawn to simple, elegant shapes, pared down compositions and soft color, and Antarctica seemed to hold great promise on all those fronts. Although much of what I had seen in terms of imagery from this distant land was dramatic and sweeping, I envisioned something different; images that were much more subtle and intimate. And so in the months leading up to my trip, I dreamt of the gentle shapes and soft colors and textures of Antarctica.
I started out in photography shooting mostly portraiture, and it was at that point that I discovered Lensbaby products and fell in love with them. Although my love for portraiture endures, I have since found that I am deeply drawn to landscape photography, and today I devote a lot of time to traveling, experiencing, and shooting the land.
Ive recently begun to explore alternative landscapes shot with Lensbaby lenses, and so taking one along to Antarctica was a natural choice in my search for softness in this harsh land, and I hoped one that would set my images apart from others. Although I would have preferred to bring more than one optic, strict weight restrictions precluded me from doing that and I brought along just one, the Sweet 35, as a complement to my regular gear.
My trip was a grand adventure but also a reflective, introspective experience, too. I found the dramatic side of Antarctica, certainly, in the glaciers calving in sun-drenched bays and the devilishblack peaks dusted in snow and set against jewel-toned skies. But I also found the Antarctica of my dreams; the moon setting over snow-rounded peaks in skies filled with the paint strokes of wispy, pink clouds; softly undulating curves dressed in the palest aqua; gentle light framed by elegant arched icebergs. And the Sweet 35 proved to be a great choice to help me present this softer side; the dreamy, otherworldly, magical feeling that Antarctica evoked for me.