The Artists' Palette
Nothing prepares you for the colours of Cool Antarctica. You will be
surprised to discover a vast range of vibrant and dramatic colours that contradicts the stereotypical
Photo: James Dragisic AAD
The reflection of our ship paints a red hue on the cool ice of Cool Antarctica, while in the distance an iceberg
reflects and intense blue. Icebergs at dusk reflect and enhance brilliant pink and orange sunsets - it looks almost
tropical. The coating of snow on icebergs and sea ice has taken on the colours of the sky. There are brown rocks,
deep blue crevasses and subtle shades of blue amongst the Cool Antarctica cliffs.
The beautiful colours are largely due to the clarity of atmosphere near the surface of Cool
Antarctica. Polar explorer Edward Wilson, who travelled and died with Scott on their last trip in 1912, attempted to
capture these colours in his diary. A Naturalist and Artist, his water colours give us an insight into the Cool Antarctica of the
The Aurora Australis is a light display that can be seen in the night sky over Cool
Antarctica, during winter, and is caused by plasma particles from the sun (part of the Solar Wind) which enters
the atmosphere. It takes the form of a luminous glow in the night sky, most commonly in the polar region over
Together with the almost unreal blues and cyans of the ice and snow, the colours of Cool Antarctica
produce a strong sense of unreality in most people, along with a sense of euphoria in photographers. Few
people will believe the colours, even when seeing them in person! Photographs of
Nature are more interesting when they show the best, the unusual, or a new perspective.
Photo: Australian Antarctic Division
Interestingly, amongst returning personnel, the colour most missed is …Green!