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Photographer Describes How He Captured An Image of A Rare Inverted Iceberg

By Hanssie on January 17th 2015

Perhaps the most famous iceberg is the one that felled the mighty unsinkable Titanic in 1912. Icebergs are large pieces of free floating ice that have broken off a larger glacier. The white tips of an iceberg is only about 10% of the entire thing. 90% of an iceberg sits under the surface of the water. It is a rare phenomena to see an inverted iceberg – where the translucent underside is sitting on the surface of the water, but Alex Cornell was able to capture it on a recent trip to Antarctica.

Photographer and filmmaker Alex Cornell’s video on what he thinks is the perfect travel rig was recently featured in this article: TRAVELING LIGHT: THE PERFECT RIG FOR PHOTO & VIDEO IN EXTREME LOCATIONS. While on a vacation 2 years in the making with his family in Antarctica, Alex had his camera to document the family memories created on this trip. Bringing a Canon 5D Mark II and also the Canon 1D C for land photography and video, Alex happened upon an inverted iceberg.


Inverted icebergs are dangerous as they can flip back without warning and so Alex got as close as safely possible with his 5DMKII and a Canon 16-35mm lens. Being at the right place at the right time with some good equipment, he was able to capture this spectacular demonstration of nature’s beauty.

Alex told us a little about the conditions of his trip,

It was summer when I visited Antarctica, so the conditions weren’t as bad as you might expect. It was typically a very dry 30 degrees. I never had any problems with condensation returning onto the warm ship. The most difficult part was probably eye strain from working in the extreme sunlight. I wore a baclava to prevent sunburn which was also a big concern. I found Hestra ski gloves to be the best combination of warmth and dexterity manipulating the camera. The 1DC battery is an absolute beast — I never had any problems with battery drain — I can’t imagine bringing a dinky little A7s onto the ice and expecting it to last.

Also a part of his rig was a Lowepro Paratactic 450 bag and a Gitzo Traveler tripod. He used an Ikan monitor on land to get exposure while shooting video as the sunlight made it difficult to read the LCD.

Watch the behind the scenes video below:

Here are more of Alex’s gorgeous vacation photos:

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Alex has a production company in San Francisco called Moonbase and works on many interesting projects such as his current favorite, an on-demand drone video and website  which is a great combination of design, video and copywriting. You can see more of Alex Cornell’s work on his main site, his Twitter, and his Instagram.

CREDITS : Photographs by Alex Cornell have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. J. Dennis Thomas

    Wow. That’s all I can say.

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  2. satnam singh

    Pretty cool looking.

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  3. Graham Curran

    Travelling in the cold isn’t bad if you have the right gear. I’ve visited Greenland, Lapland and Siberia and dream of visiting Antarctica some day.

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  4. Tosh Cuellar

    fantastic photos and I feel like it still probably doesnt catch the true beauty of that scene, what a wonderful place to have been. Stunning.

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  5. Diane Colquhoun

    Wow that’s really amazing. Talk about right place at the right time

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  6. Jason Boa

    Wow awesome shots – very Jealous

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  7. David Hall

    Awesome pics. I made a trip to Alaska recently and took my Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 28-300mm and my 50mm f/1.4. Never really used the 50mm. It’s so hard to make equipment decisions before a grand trip like this. I always struggle wanting to take more. Traveling as light as possible is always the best.

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  8. robert garfinkle

    With a passion I hate the cold; yet I’d make an exception – to visit these areas and somehow the cold would not phase me…

    Yet, appearing to be a dangerous venture, as Mr. Cornell said icebergs can right themselves, and that’d totally be a risk I’d take…

    Strangely enough, the camera seems to put a distance between fear and danger for me. I am more focused to capture what I want, that fear seems to melt away, almost as if it never existed…

    not sure if anyone else has the same sentiment, and maybe that’d be a great contest to have here at SLR Lounge, a “No Fear” contest – show the photography you’ve done, where normally you were fearful before or after, yet the fear was stripped during the capture…

    I’d have to dig, as it was in my infancy using a camera, but I had taken a risk climbing up a 176ft ski jump in Iron Mountain – the Pine Mountain ski jump, in the summer, and I was just petrified… Yet it was so important for me to climb up, to get a skier’s eye view of Michigan and the surrounding amazing landscape – that was dangerous for me… Interestingly enough, on that journey, encountering the strangest thing in the world I have ever seen while I was at the top of the Jump. Bees. Yes, bees, there were only four of them sitting on the railings – I have photos of them, and when I mean sitting, they were literally sitting with their butts tucked underneath them, like they were lounging around, kickin’ back, enjoying the view, hangin’…

    And that’s the other fear, is bees, wasps, hornets and the like, which freak me out, yet I go after them with a macro lens. So, for me to climb the jump and find bees up there, well, I will save the holy colorful metaphor as there maybe sensitive readers who frequent these rooms…

    anyway, I’d totally go to places with some risk… ya just gotta, right?

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  9. aaron febbo

    Never seen an iceberg upside down. Pretty cool looking almost looks unreal due to the tones and what not! really cool !

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