Monday, October 25, 2010

ANTARCTICA - Land of Silence - Colin Monteath

Antarctica – Land of Silence is an evocative portrayal of the continent’s mountains, icescapes and wildlife. Images from the Southern Ocean, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, Macquarie Island and New Zealand’s sub-antarctic islands also feature in this quite wonderful, truly beautifully illustrated book.

About the author/photographer:
Based in Christchurch, Colin Monteath is a well-known and widely published polar and mountain landscape and wildlife photographer who has been involved in many publications on Antarctica.

Colin has had 29 seasons working in Antarctica. From 1973-83 he was the Field Operations Officer for the New Zealand Antarctic Research Programme, working out of Scott Base over ten summers with scientific parties, rescue teams and the Scott Base huskies. In 1978, on his third expedition to Mt Erebus, Colin made the first descent into the inner crater of the active volcano. As a result of his involvement with the recovery operation after the 1979 Air New Zealand crash on Ross Island, Colin was awarded the Erebus and Queen’s Service Medals. In 1982 Colin was the guide during HRH Prince Edward’s visit to Ross Dependency.

Since 1984 Colin has been a lecturer and wildlife/mountain guide for various cruise companies, principally Aurora Expeditions. He has guided on numerous peaks on the Antarctic Peninsula and has completed two crossings of South Georgia on Shackleton’s route. Colin has also made many ascents of peaks in Antarctica - in the Transantarctic Mountains, in the Ellsworth Mountains and on the Antarctic Peninsula. Colin was the first New Zealander to climb Antarctica’s highest peak, Vinson massif. He has climbed Mt Erebus twice, once by dog team.

The photographs in this book are simply beautiful and while I cannot do justice to Colin Monteath's images I am pleased to have the publisher's permission to reproduce four of them here which might give you some suggestion of their quality:

 Photos - top to bottom:
An aerial view of large pack ice floes as they start to break up and drift apart during the summer months in East Antarctica. The freezing of the Southern Ocean during winter effectively doubles the size and albedo of Antarctica, the greatest natural annual event on the planet.

Without building any sort of nest, emperor penguins breed in a few isolated colonies around Antarctica’s coastline. The largest of the17 species of penguins, emperors lay their eggs on sea ice during the winter, commonly locating the colony behind stranded icebergs to shelter from the wind.

Hitching a ride on a sculpted iceberg, Adelie penguins rest during regular feeding forays at sea. Their breeding colony is nearby on the Terre Adelie Land coast of East Antarctica. The clear water highlights that 7/8ths of an iceberg is beneath the surface.

Protective chinstrap penguins maintain a vigil at their nest while their eggs are being incubated during the spring on Hydrurga Rocks in the Gerlache Strait, Antarctic Peninsula.


Land of Silence
Colin Monteath
Hardback with jacket $39.99
Paperback with flaps $29.99
210 x 270mm, 96 pages, full colour

I noticed the following dedication at the front of the book:

Dedicated to the memory of Alison Ling, her fellow passengers and the crew of Air New Zealand flight 901 which crashed on the slopes of Mt.Erebus, 28 November, 1979.

When I asked publisher David Ling about the dedication he explained that Colin Monteath helped the Erebus recovery effort on one of his many trips to Antarctica, and his mother was one of those being recovered.

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