Herbert George Ponting, A Cavern in an Iceberg; Scott’s Last Expedition, The British Antarctic Expedition, 1910
Herbert Ponting was the official photographer for Captain Scott’s tragic final expedition, enduring sub-zero temperatures to document this uncharted environment. In The Great White South (1921), he recalled discovering this cavern: ‘A fringe of long icicles hung at the entrance of the grotto and passing under these I was in the most wonderful place imaginable. From the outside, the interior appeared quite white and colourless, but, once inside, it was a lovely symphony of blue and green.’ (source)
The photographer’s daughter Christina at Lulworth cove, Dorset in 1913
The dawn of colour
The images defy the decades, but these remarkable pictures date back almost 100 years to the Edwardian age and the dawn of colour ‘autochrome’ photography. They are part of the exhibition The Dawn of Colour: Centenary of the Autochrome at the National Media Museum
When hunting whales, particularly sperm whales, the most dangerous part of the hunt was what was called the Nantucket Sleighride. Once a whale was spotted from the ship, crews would board small boats and sail close to where the whales were spotted. When they got close to their prey, the sails were taken down and the men would row the rest of the way. The men would sit facing the boat header, who would shout at them to row faster. Once they were close enough to strike, the boat header would shout, “Stand up and give it to him!” The harpooner would quickly drop his oar and snatch up a harpoon and launch it into the whale with great force.
The frightened whale would then take off or dive down. At this point the rope tied to the harpoon whistled through the air as it unwound from its tub at the stern of the boat. This was very dangerous because men could easily be caught by the rope or thrown overboard as it snapped taut. The rope was tied to a large cleat, called a cat-head, at the stern of the whale boat. Pulling the boat at up to 25 kilometers per hour, the whale would drag the boat behind it as the men gripped the sides with their heads down on what would be called a “Nantucket Sleighride.” Once the whale was exhausted, the men would haul themselves closer to the whale, where the harpooner would pierce the whale’s heart with a lance, killing it.