“I love lines,” said Sisse. She, along with her husband Cotton ( has some of their fantastic photography), are National Geographic photographers. There are few sexier job titles, to be honest. And there are few kinder and more interesting people than Sisse and Cotton- they were generous with their time and advice and companionship to all of the people aboard the Orion. One of their many contributions to life aboard the ship was their lecture series, showing their photography from this trip and others, discussing artistry and technique and serendipity in prints and digital images. But I chose to interpret some of their advice rather differently than they may have intended.

Lending organization out of chaos, a focus and easy pattern of movement for the eye, a bold graphic statement- lines are great. Sisse and Cotton used snowbanks and sheer-sided icebergs, mountain ridges and the curves of women’s dancing arms in their photos. But I went a little bit more literal:


Our orange coats made a great contrast with the snow and blue sky, but the real interest for me was the linear movement of all of the passengers. With all of that ice to explore, why follow precisely in a line?


Maybe the penguins can answer that question. They, too, lined up quite nicely as they proceeded across the fast ice. Maybe the implied changeability of this environment made all the living things want to follow in the footsteps (or slide trail) of someone before. Maybe it was just that the ice was easier to navigate once packed down by others. Maybe it was the universe, coalescing into patterns for a brief moment, to allow two-dimensional captures of a three-dimensional existence. Maybe it just happened, just because. Anyway, I too love lines.