Top Finalist in Smithsonian Magazine’s 10th Annual Photo Contest

My photograph, “Breeding penguins”, was selected by Smithsonian Magazine’s as a top 10 finalists in their 10th annual photo contest. The judges looked through over 37,600 photo submissions from photographers in 112 countries to find their finalists.

Here is the shot along with an interview I had with the Smithsonian.

When did you visit Antarctica? How long were you there?
I visited Antarctica in February of 2012 and was there for 12 days. I have always been fascinated with penguins and dreamed of visiting Antarctica to see them in their natural habitat.

Can you describe where you were standing to take the shot? And where Damoy Point is, and how you got there?
Damoy Point is located at the entrance of Port Lockroy which is an area in Antarctica owned by the British. I traveled 3 days to get there through the Drake Passage, the worlds most dangerous sea passage, on an ice breaker boat. Upon arrival, I took a small motorized raft to get across the icy waters to land. There I pitched a tent and spent the night on the mainland so I could study the breeding colony of Gentoo penguins located in the area. Although it was a bitter cold evening, I woke up to a beautiful sunrise. The snow was glimmering upon the majestic mountains. I looked over at the colony of Gentoo penguins and saw a few of them overlooking the cliff, almost as if they were enjoying the view. I grabbed my camera and watched them for about an hour until one of the adults and newborn chicks looked into the horizon. I knew right then I had the shot. After taking the photo I looked down at the viewfinder and instantly smiled. This image is especially important to me because I have always dreamed of visiting all 7 continents, and that’s when I realized I had fulfilled my dream. This is my favorite photograph from the trip because it brings me back to Antarctica every time I see it.

Was there an interesting fact you learned about Gentoo penguins while in their presence
I learned that Gentoo penguins have funny personalities. After studying them for a week, I discovered that they are very loving and protective to their newborn chicks. To build their nests, they pick up rocks with their beaks, usually stolen from another nest, and place them on their own nest. Once the perpetrator places the rock on its nest, the victim often reclaims it and places it back on its own nest. It was a very entertaining scene and I was lucky to see them interact in their natural habitat.

Click below to see other photos from my expedition to Antarctica.

 

Neal Piper Photography Featured on CNN’s Homepage » Neal Piper Photography

[…] fortunate to work with the media a lot this year.  Among the highlights was being selected as a top 10 photo finalist by Smithsonian Magazine and being featured by Fotoweek in Washington DC. If you are here for the […]