BY LINDA GOLDSTON
ABOUT this time last year, I told you about a wonderful book called ``Eye to Eye: Intimate Encounters With the Animal World'' by Santa Cruz photographer Frans Lanting.
Today I get to tell you about his newest, titled simply ``Penguin.''
Lanting has spent the last 20 years researching and photographing the worlds of wildlife and his books are gifts to the rest of us.
They take us up close to animals in their habitats, help us see in new ways how much we all have in common. The difference, of course, is that we get to learn these things while looking at his books in the warmth of our homes.
Lanting goes to the source.
``It hurts to breathe at minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit,'' he writes in ``Penguin.''
``Even if you are an emperor penguin, you have to hunch and huddle. If you are a human, you have to hide.''
At the time, Lanting lay inside a tent in Antarctica ``holding on to the poles. The blizzard outside has pushed the ceiling down to a few inches above my nose.
``I am uncomfortably aware that only a thin membrane of nylon separates me from conditions I could not survive. Yet outside there are baby birds. They are emperor penguin chicks, and I am here to document their lives.''
As a former photojournalist, I have no problem saying that Lanting's work is very special.
From the cover photo of an emperor penguin family to the series of king penguin chicks and numerous others in the book, ``Penguin'' is a celebration of the uniqueness of each bird, no matter how alike they might seem to the rest of us.
``There's a lot more than meets the eye,'' Lanting said. ``A penguin is not a penguin, is not a penguin.''
I've seen two of Lanting's books and quickly added both to my list of favorites.
Lanting is a photographer with a purpose. He won the Sierra Club's 1997 Ansel Adams Award for using his photography to further conservation.