The Falkland Islands lie in the South Atlantic, 300 miles off the coast of South America. They gained notoriety in 1982 when Argentina invaded, thus sparking the 74-day Falklands War. Nowadays the Islands are quiet and peaceful yet the wreckage of fighter jets and tanks, mine fields and war memorials serve as a reminder of the Islands’ recent past.
As we approached Mount Pleasant Airport and peered out of the plane windows, we were struck by how barren and tree-less the landscape appeared. Upon stepping-off the plane the reason for this instantly became apparent; we were confronted by a howling wind intent upon uprooting anything higher than a sprig of tussock grass (including us)!
The Islands have just 2,500 inhabitants in an area the size of Wales and with most of the population living in Stanley it means you are almost guaranteed not to bump into anyone else once you get out to the more remote islands.
Wildlife is abundant on the Islands, mainly as a result of the rich surrounding waters. The animals have little fear of humans which makes a trip to the Falklands a truly magical experience.
Penguins are everywhere! Magellanic penguins stand outside their burrows along the coast, Rockhopper and Gentoo penguins can be found in large noisy colonies and a large group of beautiful king penguins live at Volunteer Point. Graceful black-browed albatross nest in sprawling rookeries along the cliff-tops in the North-West. Gigantic elephant seals laze around and fight on pristine beaches, while killer whales cruise the shallows waiting for pups to stray within range.
Our aim for the trip was to photograph as many of the Islands’ species as possible. Many fantastic wildlife photographers have visited the Falklands before us, so we were also aiming to come away with something different. We visited six locations over the course of two weeks and upon arrival at each, we would dedicate a significant amount time to scoping out the opportunities and drawing up a list of shots that we wanted to get. We then spent the remainder of our time diligently working through our shot lists. Often we had to split up and concentrate on different subjects to make best use of our limited time. We were keen to take our photographs in the best possible light… unfortunately for us, this meant waking up at 4am for sunrise and staying out until sunset at around 10pm!
We haven’t had room to include many of our favourite pictures from the trip, so stay tuned for a few follow-up posts!