Adelie Penguin by Andy Rouse

Photographing Adelie Penguins in Antarctica

Andy Rouse, Professional Photographer

Andy Rouse

30 Dec 2016

Adelie - the clown of the Penguin World

Adelie - the clown of the Penguin World

I have always had a soft spot for Gentoo and King Penguins and I honestly thought that no other penguin could squeeze it’s way into my heart too. But one morning spent with Adelie Penguins changed all that, simply because they made me smile.

Although Adelie’s can be found in several places on the Antarctic Peninsula, I have always managed to miss them. One morning I found myself on a very moody Petermann Island in the company of a small group of Adelie’s, I was all alone too as the Navy had dropped me off whilst they met with researchers nearby. There are few things more special on the planet than being one to one with animals, it’s a very intimate experience and I was all the more glad that there were only a handful of penguins. Huge colonies are great spectacles to see and photograph yes, but for the penguin connoisseur a small group of 5 or 6 is the holy grail. You see it’s a much more personal experience, they look at you when you look at them. There is nothing else for them to look at but you, which I sometimes feel sad about as I’m sure they’d rather look at Tom Cruise than my grizzly features!

Now the trick that I have learnt as a wildlife photographer is to always try to capture the personality of a species and that comes from loving what you do. If your body language shows that you are relaxed and having fun then animals can read it and will relax accordingly.

Adelie Penguin by Andy Rouse
I call this guy “The Thug” as he really looks as if he’s fronting me out! Or he’s a gunslinger ready to draw. Either way it makes me laugh everytime I see it!
Adelie Penguin by Andy Rouse
Adelie Penguin by Andy Rouse

Yep, a body surfing penguin! Penguins often body surf to get to the water as they are a lot more aerodynamic on their bellies than trying to waddle along. The result can be some great pictures, you just gotta get low down in the snow so that you are below their eye level. That way they are isolated from the background, are much more relaxed with your presence and the pictures simply look better. I love penguins bodysurfing and will take any opportunity to photograph them doing it, so let’s hope for some good body surfing on our trip in November.

Adelie Penguin by Andy Rouse

When Adelie’s walk they waddle comically from side to side, yes all penguins do it but the Adelie is the biggest “waddler”. I think this image shows it perfectly, photographically it’s just a question of timing and taking the shot during maximum waddle!

Again taken from a very low angle, this works well with penguins as it really makes them stand out from the background and be “bolder” in the frame. Diffuse, overcast light also helps as sunlight would have ruined the effect of this picture.

All these tips and more myself and fellow mentor Andrew James will be teaching you throughout our adventure next November.


More Information

To find out mote about travelling with Andy on board the Akademik Ioffe, or to book your place on the Ultimate Antarctica Photography Safari in 2017, click the button below to get in touch.



Dave Davenport

24/8/2017 10:40 PM

Hi Do you have any private twin rooms avsilable for nov 2017? Cheers Dave & Ali

Will Bolsover

3/1/2017 8:30 AM

Awesome blog as always - looking forward to travelling in Nov!

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