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King Penguins and Horn Peak

King Penguins and Horn Peak
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2001-12
Categories: Birds, Mountain
Camera: Canon EOS 1vHS, Canon 24-70 mm f 2,8 L-USM, Fuji Provia 100
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-12-10 8:42
Viewed: 7639
Points: 48
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
For today's posting I have chosen this scanned slide. It shows a King Penguin Colony and two glacial features - a Horn peak and a U shaped valley.

The King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) is the second largest species of penguin at about 90 cm (3 ft) tall and weighing 11 to 16 kg (24 to 35 lb), second only to the Emperor Penguin. There are two subspecies - A. p. patagonicus and A. p. halli; patagonicus is found in the South Atlantic and halli elsewhere.

King penguins eat small fish, mainly lanternfish, and squid and rely less than most Southern Ocean predators on krill and other crustaceans. On foraging trips they repeatedly dive to over 100 meters (350 feet), often over 200 meters (700 feet). This is far deeper than other penguins, other than their closest relative, the larger Emperor penguin.

King Penguins breed on the subantarctic islands at the northern reaches of Antarctica, as well as Tierra del Fuego, the Falkland Islands, and other temperate islands of the region. The total population is estimated to be 2.23 million pairs and is increasing.

A pyramidal peak, or sometimes in its most extreme form called a glacial horn, is a mountaintop that has been modified by the action of ice during glaciation and frost weathering. Ice fields at the head of glaciers develop U- or bowl-shaped basins in the sides of a mountain called cirques (sometimes called corries or cwms). Cirque glaciers have specific characteristics. They have rotational sliding that abrades the floor of the basin but not the edge and that causes the bowl shape to form and also contributes to the development of the morainal or rock thresholds that seperate them from downvalley slopes as well as hold in glacial lakes called tarns. As cirques are formed by glaciation in an alpine environment, the headwall and ridges known as arętes become more steep and defined. This occurs due to freeze/thaw and mass wasting beneath the ice surface. It is widely held that a common cause for headwall steepening and extension headward are the crevasses known as bergschrund that occur between the moving ice and the headwall. This is a location where plucking and shattering has been seen by observers that explore the crevasses. A completed cirque is exposed as the glacier that was in the cirque melts away, after the periods of glaciation in the Pleistocene. When there are three or more of these cirque headwalls and arętes joined together to form a single peak it creates a pyramid shape with very steep walls and it is called a horn or glacial horn. They are a common shape for mountain tops in well glaciated areas. The number of faces that make up the sides of a horn are dependent on the number of cirques involved in the formation of the peak, but the most common number of faces for a horn to have is three or four.

A glacial horn takes the process to its limits, producing near vertical faces on all sides. In the Alps, "Horn" is also the name of very exposed peaks with slope inclinations of 45-60° (e.g. Kitzbüheler Horn).

U-SHAPED VALLEY (in the middle of the shot you can see the sides of a fairly typical 'U' shaped valley)
A U-shaped valley is the shape left after a valley has been overdeepened by a glacier. The original V-shaped valley, which would have been made by a river, is widened and deepened after the ice has eroded the sides and bottom of the valley. V-shaped valleys have a wide flat floor, which may contain ribbon lakes (long and narrow) and mis-fit streams (so called because they are too small to have made the valley).

The sides of U-shaped valleys may have hanging valleys, which are side valleys that are left high on the side of a main valley that has been deepened by glaciation. Streams flowing in a hanging valley may form a waterfall as it flows down the steepened sides. The valley sides may also have truncated spurs which are the ends of sloping ridges cut off (or truncated) by the valley glacier which tends to flow straighter than a river.

eng55, mohaiminawang, Miss_Piggy, uleko, jaycee, nglen, PeterZ, cicindela, siggi, Dis. Ac., SelenE, maurydv, boreocypriensis, CeltickRanger, horia, Alex99, Argus has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2008-12-10 9:01]

Hi James,
Magnificent scane.Well caught,framed and composed.POV,exposure and DOF are also excellent.
Thanks for posting.

Hi James,

Waaaa! great image! this phot show very strong visual scale and dept of space. Nice colour tone & colour temperature,dof and pov.Intresting notes.TFS


Hallo James
What an awesome view, once again from your lens. Like some of your previous landscapes I admire the details of all the elements of nature captured and shared in one image. Just love the depth of field and how one can look right down into the valley. Looking at all of this, makes me want to shout out: "I also want to be there" I think it would be just great standing where the two penquins in the front of image are, looking up at the snow covered mountains and once again appreciate the wonder of the Creation. A tranquil landscape, which reminds me of the animation movie "Happy Feet. Kind regards and thanks for sharing.
Best regards

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-12-10 9:54]

Hello James,
Amazing capture with the King Penguins lined up nicely for you!! Excellent DOF showing the impressive peak beyond. Great sharpness and fine colours too.
TFS and regards, Ulla

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2008-12-10 9:58]

Hi James,
if ever there was a landscape which is dripping with drama and content, then it's this one! Awesome mate, a perfect POV and excellent DOF...amazing place, hard to believe it's still classified as the UK!

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-12-10 9:59]

Hi James,

There is so much in this marvelous scene that I didn't know what to look at first. The penguins are wonderful - and the scenery is amazing. You captured this perfectly and composed it to show it off to its best advantage.


  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-12-10 10:06]

Hi James. A very good view of the Horn Peak with the snow and the mist just tuching the edges.With the sun catching the hill side further down. The Penguin look as if the are ther to admirer the view. Well taken with the nice compostion. TFS.

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-12-10 10:39]

Hello James,
What an impressive photo! The Penguins as well as the mountains. But I think the place is a mistake. Teh colours are very natural, in spite of a scanned slide. It all looks fantastic.

Hello James!
Beautiful capture with great view and natural, vivid colours. I like composition - birds+high mountain :)
Greetings from Poland!

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2008-12-10 11:38]

Hello James,
This is a wonderful photo which is a great combination of a landscape and wildlife photo. Wonderful composition of these penguins and mountains , Thanks for sharing
Regards Siggi

Hi James,

nice pov and good landscape picture from these Penguins and the high mountain.

Beautiful colours.


  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2008-12-10 12:25]

Hi James,
Great scene! Would love to see this in real... DOF, POV and composition are very nice. Surely a dynamic photo. TFS
All the best,

Hi James, wonderful composition with a lot of penguins and superb mountain landscape, very well done, ciao Silvio

Excelente espectáculo el que nos presentas James. No solamente por la colonia de pingüinos, sino por todo el conjunto. Reflejas bien la grandeza del paisaje y las descomunales dimensiones de esas montańas que casi se alzan en vertical. Una fotografía que te mete en la escena y te hace sońar con esos lugares.
Saludos: Josep Ignasi.

Ciao James,
meraviglioso scenario racchiuso in questa splendida composizione verticale con il primo piano di questa colonia di bellissimi pinguini punteggiati di giallo e BG della grande montagna innevata che si perde nelle nuvole, ottima la nitidezza.

Wowww... Bro James, a great capture of the king penguins and great landscape shot. All are perfect.
TFS and cheers,

Hi James,
Excellent scaned picture from your archives; good sharp details of both the mountain and penguins, good lighting and colours.

hello James

for your image i would say 2 on 1, a superb landscape/mountain
image with a colony of Penguins, with fine POV, DOF and framing,



Hello James

A unique blend of harsh geography and interesting penguins.
The vertical presentation was well chosen and really puts it all into perspective.
Excellent sharpness and details.
The two in the foreground appear to be holding hands.LOL.


  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2008-12-11 9:27]

Hi James

I'm sometimes amazes how you manage to squeeze so many things in a single shot...and this is one of those situations :)
You have here a lovely penguin colony as well as 2 interesting geological formations - the u-shape valley and that impressive horn peak - which you so nicely describe in your note.
The overall composition here is impeccable and the details you managed (from FG all the way to the BG) are terrific, too.

Bravo and TFS

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-12-11 9:42]

Hi James.
You have made a long way to reach these attractive places. The subject deserves worst it. Amazing, crisp details of the image, colours, transparency of the image, POV and composition are brilliant. Exposure is spot on. Bravo.

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-12-12 1:54]

Hello James,
A great shot of a colony of King Penguins and their nesting habitat with the Horn peak as a fine BG.
Great that you scanned this S. Georgian scene for us to view: thanks!

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-12-13 14:55]

It's weird to think that this was actually taken in the UK :-)
Very good, original capture showing these King Penguins' habitat very well.
Sharp with great detail.
Excellent composition.
I love all the different layers.

Very well done,

Dear James,
After the Antarctic Peninsula we went to the Galapagos - and never got back on that side...

I am stunned about the quality of your image scanned from a slide. (Ours were ruined by the heat and dry air on the farm.)

The geological information contained in one single photo is immense.

It is amazing - how the penguins are lined up as if "on parade" - and I wonder, where the nests are?

Your portfolio gives me lots of pleasure - seeing places, where I have been - and visiting new countries.

Every single image contains a wealth of information and is perfectly presented.

I thank you for putting pen to paper for my green beetle and wish you a happy and healthy 2010.

Kind regards

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