Photo of a Lifetime

This is so spectacular that I couldn’t not pass it along to RBCers. The photo was taken under thick ice by George Karbus as the Arctic was being bathed in the colors of aurora borealis. Courtesy of the UK Telegraph. Wow.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

11 thoughts on “Photo of a Lifetime”

  1. Maybe I’m too cynical, but I just don’t know. I’ve seen auroras, but never like that, esp. through a foot of ice. Maybe with an extra long exposure it might work, but otherwise I think there was some type of manipulation/fakery.

    1. I’m with Brian on this one – auroras are too dim, and ice too opaque for this to be completely real. It has to have been *very* heavily processed, to the point where it’s much closer to “digital art” than “digital photograph”. (The blown out highlights in spots lend additional credence to that belief.)

    2. Can’t be a terribly long exposure, really – the diver can’t be holding still, and you’d get blurring, especially of the fin visible edge-on. But they may have cranked the gain and played with the brightness and contrast.

  2. Given extended sensitivity of (ISO Eqiv.) 25K- you have 6 stops above what was once considered “fast” – Tri-x @ 400 ISO – and you can figure at least one more stop for easily corrected underexposure. Of course the joker is “thick ice.” Ice that I could skate on on a lake could be quite clear and called thick. As to Auroras brightness – they are quite a bit brighter in the arctic – so I don’t see a reason to conclude that this is photoshopped – somehow the fact that it can be done easily has come to imply that it must have been done.

    1. I’ve seen auroras in central Alaska. Again, not like that. Also it’s sea ice, not crystal clear freshwater ice from a motionless pond somewhere. Not really buying it.

  3. Other locations of the image describe it as “A diver swims beneath thick ice while the sun shines above the White Sea in the Arctic Circle.”

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