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Under Antarctic Ice: The Photographs of Norbert Wu

Art / PhotobookOut of Print
A hidden world revealed for the first time

By: Norbert Wu(Author), Jim Mastro(Author)

198 pages, 140 colour photos, 2 colour maps

University of California Press

Hardback | Dec 2004 | #147898 | ISBN: 0520235045
Out of Print Details

About this book

The allure of Antarctica, a place still mysterious, untamed, and unspoiled, has beckoned tourists in increasing numbers as more and more people vie for a glimpse of its terrible beauty and stunning vistas. But there is one aspect of Antarctica they never see, perhaps the most interesting of all – the world beneath the ice. Under Antarctic Ice, a collection of the finest photographs ever taken underwater in deep Antarctica, illuminates a world brimming with strange and beautiful life forms. For the first time anywhere, Under Antarctic Ice brings together the stories, the science, and the natural beauty of one of earth's most vibrant and enchanting realms.

Internationally renowned photographer Norbert Wu was given unprecedented access to the icy waters off Antarctica by the U.S. National Science Foundation to obtain these dynamic photographs. In the extreme conditions that prevail in these seas, invertebrates can grow to enormous sizes: sponges are as big as bears, jellyfish tentacles extend thirty feet, and giant sea spiders crawl through beds of soft coral.

Wu has also focused his lens on the birds and mammals living at the edge of water and ice. We are humbled before mammoth icebergs, witness a killer whale stalking prey from a narrow crack in the ice, and see what penguins look like swimming underwater.

Jim Mastro's introductory text elegantly condenses forty years of scientific research into a clear and concise natural history of this unique place.

"Wu's rare and resplendent color photographs reveal an undersea world most of us will never see firsthand, all shot through with an icy blue light."
East Bay Express

"No matter what your interests are – photography, marine science, the Antarctic or mammals – this book will captivate you [...] . Five out of five gold pens!"
– Silas Spaeth, The Californian

"The southernmost continent the way very few humans have ever seen it is the subject of this stunning book of photographs [...] [Wu and Mastro] have produced a spectacular book. Nearly every page pops with eye-openers."
– David Armstrong, San Francisco Chronicle

"Under Antarctic Ice is first-rate on every level [...] Antarctica is one of the most special places on our planet, and this book goes a long way toward showing why."
– James Kaufmann, Photographer's Forum

"In this collection of glorious photographs of underwater Antarctica, noted marine photographer Wu captures the unbelievable beauty and richness of the plant and animal life both below and above the ice."
– Betty Galbraith, Library Journal

"The photos alone earn this book a place on your coffee table, and each is accompanied by a short paragraph telling the story behind it."
– Alison George, New Scientist

"All in all, I can recommend this book to a wide range of readers as an introduction to research and biology in McMurdo Sound. The combination of easy-to-read text with the photography makes the publication a pleasure to pursue. I spent days browsing through it and enjoying the beauty of nature."
– Rolf Gradinger, Qtly Review Of Biology

"A wealth of wonderful photographs [...] This top-quality hardback book beautifully showcases the images."
BBC Wildlife Magazine

"Of course, it is best to go there yourself. But sometimes that's not possible. And that's where glorious books such as Under Antarctic Ice can help us travel where we otherwise couldn't go [...] Beautiful photographs reveal a strangely beautiful place populated with many more creatures than you'd ever imagine."
– Garland Reeves, Birmingham News

"Wu's staggering beautiful images give us a view most travelers to Antarctica never see – the world beneath the ice."
Petersen's Photographic Magazine

"The images are gorgeous."
– Helen Brown, Daily Telegraph

"Simply amazing [...] A fantastic book."
– John A. Murray, Bloomsbury Review

"Breathtaking [...] stunning."

"A fascinating look at an ecosystem that virtually no one has ever seen."
– Nancy Bent, Booklist

"A spectacular new book."
– Margot Petit, Nichols Carmel Pine Cone

"Biologist Jim Mastro fills the captions with scientific factoids that will keep an audience captive at any cocktail party [...] In 140 surreal and enchanting photos, Wu exposes the outer limits of nature on planet earth."
Audubon Magazine

"Norbert Wu's Under Antarctic Ice is crammed with images that I wish I had taken, many of which will inspire feelings of awe and disbelief in those unfamiliar with Antarctic marine biology."
– Lloyd Peck, Nature

"Few people ever make it this far south, and even fewer get to see what lives in the sea beneath the ice. But Wu's photographs, along with Mastro's background text, provide access for the armchair traveler. What better way to spend a winter hour than to visit this forbidding place – sitting by a warm fire, with a glass of sherry close at hand."
Natural History

"There is a plethora of information that will be of interest to the general public [...] " "This book will remain a staple on my coffee table and on my scientific bookshelf for years to come."
– John C. Priscu, Bioscience

"An exceptionally beautiful and interesting book."
Marine Mammal Science

"There's no place on earth more remote than below Antarctic pack ice, and thankfully, someone had the cojones to take a camera down there. In Under Antarctic Ice: The Photographs of Norbert Wu, the noted shooter captures everything from whales to penguins to jellyfish in photos that become even more breathtaking when you read the text. The ambient air in Antarctica averages 58 degrees below zero and the sea water 28 degrees Fahrenheit (yes, that's below freezing temperature). Taking off your hat in that kind of weather is serious business; now think about snapping photos underwater while wearing giant gloves and hundreds of pounds of equipment. Cojones indeed."
Playboy Magazine

"This visually stunning collection of photographs is also an excellent source of information about Antarctica's unique wildlife and environment."
Outdoor Photographer

"With his rare eye for stunning photographs and important biological stories, Norbert Wu offers the most spectacular collection of underwater images ever published for Antarctica. Jim Mastro gives virtuoso explanations of the biological or scientific context for each photo. Under Antarctic Ice is a remarkable collaboration between one of the world's very best underwater photographers and a superb science writer."
– Paul K. Dayton, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

"Working underwater in conditions of mind-numbing cold and often dangerously separated from the surface by six-foot- thick sheets of ice, Wu somehow managed to create photographs that transcend technical perfection to become art. This is an amazing book."
– Howard Hall, natural history film producer and author of Secrets of the Ocean Realm and Successful Underwater Photography

"Antarctica literally takes your breath away, exciting the senses and quickening the heart with its austere beauty. So too with Norbert Wu's images and Jim Mastro's prose in Under Antarctic Ice. It is a remarkable underwater journey that takes you within a whisker's breadth of diving Weddell seals, leaves you bobbing in awe in the wake of soaring emperor penguins, and invites you to join in their discoveries without ever having to get wet."
– Terrie M. Williams, author of The Hunter's Breath: On Expedition with the Weddell Seals of Antarctica

"This book is not only pleasing visually but is also an excellent reference source for the identification of common invertebrates and for photographic ideas. With its exceptional photographs and lucid text, it is about as close as you can come to visiting Antarctica without actually going there."
– Gerald L. Kooyman, author of Diverse Divers: Physiology and Behavior


A Natural History of McMurdo sound
Under Antarctic Ice
Photographic Notes

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Norbert Wu is a photographer and filmmaker specializing in marine environments and issues. His writing and photography have appeared in feature articles in Audubon, GEO, National Geographic, and other magazines; his films have aired on WNET/Thirteen New York's Nature series, which airs on PBS. His many books include Splendors of the Seas: The Photographs of Norbert Wu (1994) and Diving the World: Photographs by Norbert Wu (2003).

Jim Mastro is a freelance writer and photographer. He is the author and photographer of Antarctica: A Year at the Bottom of the World (2002). He worked in Antarctica from 1982 to 1996, including five years as manager of the U.S. scientific diving program for the National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs.

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