While on an expedition in Antarctica, photographer Alex Cornell had the rare opportunity to photograph a recently flipped iceberg. Defining to the old adage “just the tip of the iceberg,” it turns out the underside can be illuminated with unbelievable bright blues and striation that reveal visually stunning secrets of these sleeping giants. Witnessing a flip is uncommon, and moreover the surreal texture and colors distort the scale making it a truly incredible encounter.
“Antarctica is one of those places where you can point the camera in any direction and come away with something spectacular,” says Cornell in a discussion with Fstoppers. “Typically icebergs are white, with blue accents near the water — this by contrast one was alien-blue. More like a galactic artifact than anything terrestrial. These shots were taken at water level from a little Zodiac cruiser. Most likely, this was a very old glacier — the blue basically being the glacial equivalent of aging white hairs.”
Calving from glaciers as ice formed from freshwater, icebergs begin their journey of slow salinization floating upon surface. The salt water, much denser than fresh water, allows these massive sections of distorted shapes to float precariously until the weight distribution at the tip of the iceberg supersedes the underside. Once this balance shifts, they flip and reveal an area of beautifully polished ice worthy of incredible photography.