One never gets tired of traversing Glacier Bay. It’s just that beautiful and awe-inspiring. And on this voyage we were treated to some spectacular examples of glacial calving at Margerie Glacier. As you stand on the deck of the ship, you usually hear the crack of the ice before you see the ice falling into the water unless you’re fortunate enough to be looking at the precise location of the calving event. If you hear first, the main spectacle is already well underway by the time you see it. That makes capturing the event in a photograph very tricky indeed.
While calving may be the most dynamic sight at Margerie Glacier, it’s the intense blue of the glacial ice that makes for some of the most impressive images. The closeup images below have not been saturated, so that’s the true color.
Also impressive, but not as approachable, is the John Hopkins Glacier. Closest approach is about two miles because of the large chunks of ice that continually break off the sheer face of this advancing behemoth. But, while ships must keep their distance, that does not detract from the surrounding majesty of the mountains and the odd, cloudy green water of the John Hopkins Inlet, caused by the rock flour suspended in the water.
Photographically speaking, Glacier Bay is a treasure. Hone your panoramic stitching skills before making the journey. Realize that closeup shots of snow-covered mountains and blue-white glacial ice mean that exposure compensation is in order. Most of the glacier shots you see below were made by increasing exposure by ⅔ of a stop. Also, you may want to set white balance manually to make sure you capture correctly the intense blue of the glacial ice.