ANIMAL ANTICS WINNER: Macaroni Penguins
Photographer: Andrew Rouse
Location: South Georgia Island
Macaronis are the most abundant of all the world's penguins and are the largest of the six species of crested penguins. Standing about 28 inches tall and weighing between 10 to 15 pounds, they have red eyes, red beaks, and elaborate crests of orange-yellow feathers. Macaronis inhabit the maritime Antarctic and sub-Antarctic regions; their massive rookeries can be found on the rocky cliffs and hillsides of South Georgia, where an estimated 5.4 million pairs live. This rugged island in the Southern Ocean offers unique opportunities to observe wildlife amid unspoiled scenery, including the vast populations of seabirds and marine mammals that breed along its shores.
"While I was hiking uphill to get into position for a high wide-angle shot of the bay, I spotted a line of penguins coming across a glacier. It made me laugh so hard-I knew I had to get a photograph to record the scene. After 30 minutes of slithering downhill on my backside (who says photography isn't fun?), I got my gear set up and spent the rest of the afternoon smiling as wave after wave of macaronis skied across the glacier in front of me."
LANDSCAPE WINNER: Edith Creek
Photographer: Daniel Ewert
Location: Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington, USA
Mt. Rainier, standing at 14,410 feet and containing 26 major glaciers, is the highest mountain in the Cascade Range, with one of the most glaciated peaks in the continental United States. Its beauty and wealth of flora and fauna led early conservationists such as John Muir to seek federal protection for the mountain and surrounding areas. Due in part to these efforts, Mt. Rainier National Park was established in 1899 as America's fifth national park. Some of the best views of Mt. Rainier can be found in the subalpine meadows at the base of the mountain. Every July and August, the heavy snowpack in Paradise Meadows melts away and a diverse array of flora burst into colorful bloom for a short but beautiful summer season. During this period, numerous wildflowers carpet the meadow floors. The abundant wildlife in these meadows include red fox, hoary marmot, pika, black-tailed deer, elk, black bear, chipmunk, and the rarely seen mountain lion.
"I arrived at this location early in the morning just as the first rays of sun were lighting up the mountain and the meadow. I used a graduated neutral density filter to balance the light in the sky and foreground and I used a shutter speed of just over one second to intentionally blur the water movement of the creek. By using a tripod, I was able to keep the rest of the scene very sharp during the long exposure."