Penguin Photos By Kyle Marquardt

  By Kyle Marquardt

Local photographer Kyle Marquardt is showcasing a collection of Penguin Photographs at Chinook mall this winter. You can check out this series on the South East part of the centre in the hall towards the administrative offices. Below are the images from the display with captions. You can check out more of Kyle’s work at

About Kyle: 

After completing over 60 expeditions in Antarctica I’ve developed a certain “penguin sense”. Being around these fantastic animals you begin to get really good at predicting their behavior and understanding their motives behind every little thing they do. Sometimes walking into these landscapes feels like walking into a secret breeding ground for living bowling pins, but these creatures are far more animated than personified sports paraphernalia. They have relationships, they work every day to bring in food for their young and partner, and this cold hostile environment they live in is a dynamic wonderland that gives them a life and a livelihood.

It’s my hope that that seeing these animals so at home in their wild and frozen environment makes you, the viewer, feel more at home during this years winter.

Macaroni – Conserving heat and energy in this comfortable tuck position.

Macaroni: A term used in the mid 18th century to describe an unusually fashionable man who cared very much about his appearance with a flamboyant flair. Previous terms such as fashion-monger, ninny and fop were also used for someone overly concerned about their clothing. The Macaroni fashion was a precursor to the “dandies” which were the early 19th century metrosexuals.

Hence once the unusually vibrant crest of the Macaroni penguin was first observed they were given this name. These penguins were sitting on their nest, carefully keeping an eye on us while they tucked their necks in to conserve warmth and rest. Macaroni penguins lay two eggs during the mating season but often toss the first one out to make way for the second. The mother and father will share their responsibility over the egg as it incubates for a month, and raises the chick over another month. In this time the parents may fast for up to 42 days losing 40% of their body weight. Talk about dedicated parents.

Photographic details: I had to be very careful approaching these penguins. Believe it or not there is tall tussok grass growing here, it’s easy to accidentally step on a macaroni nest in a place like this. As we crouched down to their level this guy would keep an eye on me but that was the greatest reaction this bird would give me, and I respected their space as I waited for them to take a brief glance at me. After spending time with these fastidious penguins, I realize they only live up to their namesake in appearance.


Penguin Surface – Penguins spread oil on their feathers

from a special glad to keep their feathers waterproof

The goal in a lot of my photos is to get the viewer to spend a little extra time on my images, to wonder what it is and hopefully come to the right conclusion. I also like to show people things they may have seen but in a different light and unusual angle.

This is the bright patch of colour seen at the base of the neck of the king penguin. I noticed that for a short moment the kings would stretch their neck in a way that I could get this interesting diagonal of the black boarders that separate the front white patch from the grey backside.

It took many tries but in a stroke of luck I was able to get the shot I was looking for in appropriate light. Taken on a real live penguin fresh out of the water in the famous Gold Harbour of South Georgia.




King-scape – Extensive king penguin colony

Set the context for your wildlife portfolio with wide landscape shots

The great king penguins of South Georgia are a sight to behold, the air is ripe with the caustic smell of penguin guano, and saturated with the sound of the 200,000 king penguins that reside in the King colony of Salisbury plains. Seams of brown fluffy penguin chicks make up penguin rookeries (penguin daycare) that are scattered throughout the colony. Penguins and many birds identify each other by their voiceprint alone, making constant calling by many penguins a necessity to find one another amongst the crowd.

Strangely enough when I arrived here earlier in the day the ground was bare during this particularly warm summer. Soon the clouds came in, and spilled open their fluffy white contents over the land making this antarctic island feel much more like it does the rest of the year.

Photographic Details: Shot with a 16-35mm lens at f9 to create a high depth of field. I stuck with the rule of thirds and had the white mountains and sky on the upper third, emphasizing the sheer size and number of penguins in the lower two thirds. It’s important to decide where you want to place emphasis, when presented with a horizon you can choose either sky or foreground. A centered horizon can make the viewer feel awkward because of a struggle to find the emphasis or meaning in a photo. Other images with a lot of symmetry or reflections on the water can be quite calming with a centered horizon. These “rules” are meant to be broken, they just give you a good place to start when thinking about composition, and composition is 98% of a good photo!

Adelie Splash – An adelie flies out of the water

I was standing on a rock at the entrance to a penguin colony in Antarctica, watching them zip around underwater with joy. One of the coolest things is that they tend to jet out of the water onto land, but I don’t think they look before they leap. Every so often one would fly out onto my rock only to be extremely surprised to see me standing there, immediately and frantically trying to back-flap their way into the water. This Adélie was particularly entertaining!


King Penguin Landing Beach – Just law by the shore and the penguin traffic will envelop you Laying by beach.

Standing by the dramatic shores of Gold Harbour in South Georgia, you will be surrounded by a sort of organised chaos. Once penguins get to where they are going they stand pretty still and pay little attention to you. A keen observer of the shoreline would notice that waves of kings will enter from the sea with their bellies full of the days catch. Just running into the group of penguins to hopefully get an interesting shot would cause alarm and the kings would fan out away from you.

Often people think getting dynamic interesting shots that are right in the middle of the action are difficult to get. Here the more difficult thing to do is imagine how to achieve something, contrary to a lot of things the simple act of doing it is a lot easier in execution in this case.

I was using a small Samsing “point and shoot” camera for this. Often people ask what settings I use and with small cameras like these I use full automatic settings. These small cameras are famous for having really high depth of fields allowing everything in the foreground and background to be in focus at once. Even though I could optimise my exposure my motto is “if you can’t fiddle with the buttons with your gloves on, the buttons aren’t worth fiddling with” and that speaks to how good these little cameras perform on their own. The only human input I provide is getting it to the right place.

I simply laid down and composed my shot to have the snowy dramatic mountains in the left side of the frame the way I wanted, after that I just had to wait. After moments of waiting a group of penguins burst forth out of the ocean, running up the beach to envelop me as they ran past. One penguin paused to look at me with both eyes and that’s when I snapped this particular shot.


St. Andrew’s Bay 

One of the largest king penguin colonies in the world, with a count of over 150,000 breeding pairs.






Playful Gentoo  

Wading into the water in the evening this photo is delightfully peppered with water splashing lit from the sun from behind.





Molting kings 

These king penguins await a new coat while their old feathers fall off, get low to the ground and the mud puddles create fantastic symmetry.













A rest on glowing ice

Don’t forget to shoot into the sun, translucent things like ice will erupt with colour!






Curious Kings 

While attempting to get some interesting light on these Kings, they became interested in my light instead.






To adulthood 

This baby king penguin is transitioning to his adult pelage, soon he will look like a regular king penguin with his new waterproof feathers.





Rockhopper Joy 

While these penguins were afraid of me while I was standing up, as soon as I layed down they couldn’t get enough of me!






Gentoo Dive 

Despite the slippery ice their long claws grip enough to make a successful launch into the ocean.