Shin-Etsu Chemical Co., Ltd.

Font Size
  • L
  • M
  • S
TOP > Shin-Etsu Group Original Calendar > Shin-Etsu Group Original Calendar 2005

Shin-Etsu Group Original Calendar 2005

Calendar Introduction

The Great Continents Vol. 7 ANTARCTICAPhotographer : Mitsuaki IWAGO

Photographer Mitsuaki Iwago has visited Antarctica six times. When asked about his

impressions of the southernmost continent, he replies simply: "ice". The thick layers of Antarctic ice are imprinted with hundreds of millions of years of history, including changes in climate and the Earth's crust, This ice also continually affected by environmental changes like global warming and the ozone hole. When Mr. lwago first visited the Antarctic, he was amazed at its sheer scale, immeasurable by the customary yardsticks of experience, and he felt the humble joy of living in nature's embrace. Implicit in this calendar is the fervent wish that we human beings will do whatever we can to care for the sublime natural world and preserve our environment.

January & February:
Day breaks over the Gerlache Strait, Antarctic Peninsula

The Antarctic summer is short. The contrast between floating ice and sea surface changes in an instant. One gazes for a moment at the mountains, where the sun hardly dips below the peaks, only to turn back to the sea to find tide and wind have suddenly covered it in floating ice.
Traveling in a small boat, I was in imminent danger of being trapped by the ice. A beautiful but dangerous sea.

March & April:
Large glacier, Antarctica coast facing the Ross Sea

I flew by helicopter from the coast of Ross Island into the hinterland of the mainland. From the air, the glacier seemed to stretch out like a tongue.
Near the glacier was a dry valley. Walking along the valley floor, our only companion was the wind and there was not a trace of snow. We chanced upon a mummified seal.

May & June:
Mt. Erebus, active volcano, Ross Island

I once camped for three weeks on Ross Island, which lies at a latitude of about 75 degrees south. After sleeping for several hours on the Antarctic ground, I was awakened by a bright glare. Towering up at 3,794 meters above sea level, Mt Erebus was dazzling to the spirit with its pure white intensity. A plume of smoke rose straight up from its peak.

July & August:
Gentoo penguin jumping, Falkland Island

Although penguins can't fly, they move with great rapidity when swimming underwater. Spreading their wings, they literally seem to "fly" through the ocean. When this photo was taken, the penguins were returning to the island, their stomachs full of squid, krill, and small fish. Jumping out of the waves, they land on the sandy beach. From the beach they climb the slope to where their chicks await at the nesting ground.

September & October:
One of many icebergs circling the continent, Bismarck Strait

Enormous icebergs are seen only in Antarctica. They melt as they circle around the continent; angles get rubbed off and they become round. A good time to capture their size and sheer presence with a camera is when the sun's rays begin to slant across them. The rays of light and shadows form a marbling effect that seems to reveal their age.

November & December:
South winds blow in Gerlache Strait, Antarctic Peninsula

The Antarctic is a stark barometer of the changes occurring in the global environment. Signs of global warming, such as the appearance of the ozone hole, are unmistakable. When travelling in Antarctica, one's senses are not only overwhelmed by the majestic scale of the landscape, but also alert to changes in meteorological conditions. The south wind blows and snow swirls lightly--the first signs of a storm.

Mitsuaki IWAGO
Born in Tokyo, 1950. When visiting the Galapagos Islands in 1970 as a university student, Mr. Iwago was overwhelmed by the wonders of nature and started out on the path to becoming a photographer. Since that time, he has photographed various parts of the Earth. His works are highly regarded all over the world, and the magazine Life selected him as one of its Best Photographers of the 1980s. His collection of wildlife photographs, "Serengeti: Natural Order on the African Plain", which he compiled while spending time in Africa's Serengeti National park, became a bestseller, with more than 200,000 copies sold worldwide. Mr. Iwago is active in a wide range of fields, including in the production of high-definition TV programs.