INDIGENOUS CULTURES WINNER: Evenki Reindeer Herder
Photographer: Chris Linder
Location: Kystatem, Siberia, Russia
The Aoluguya-Evenki have practiced reindeer herding and husbandry in the subarctic coniferous forests of Siberia for thousands of years. The Evenki are one of the most widely scattered nationalities of the Russian Federation; their territory reaches from the Dolgans, Evens, and Yakuts in the far north all the way south to Lake Baykal and the Amur River. This region is regarded as one of the world's founding areas of reindeer husbandry.
"In March 2008, I traveled to the Siberian Arctic to document an international scientific expedition. During the expedition, we visited two small communities along the Lena River. The indigenous people who live there subsist primarily through hunting, reindeer farming, and fishing. We were honored by an invitation to participate in a traditional reindeer roundup. It took eight hours-bouncing along on sleds pulled by ancient snowmobiles in sub-zero temperatures-to reach the herders' camp.
"The next morning, I photographed an Evenki family as they drove several hundred reindeer across frozen lakes and through taiga forests to a wooden-fenced corral. While the reindeer swirled in a giant vortex around their pen, this herder stretched out his arms in a gesture of appreciation for the amazing spectacle."
CREATIVE DIGITAL WINNER: Lunar Eclipse over Mount Shasta
Photographer: Sean Bagshaw
Location: Siskiyou Mountains, Oregon, USA
Lunar eclipses occur when the Earth passes between the sun and moon, casting its shadow on the moon's surface. Total lunar eclipses are relatively rare events, occurring about once each year. They can only happen during a full moon, when the moon and sun are on opposite sides of the Earth. However, lunar eclipses don't occur during every full moon because the Earth doesn't normally pass directly between the two.
"An eclipse is only visible from the side of the Earth that is facing the moon when it takes place. If you happen to be on the wrong side, you miss the entire event. Another obstacle to photographing an entire eclipse is cloud cover. Even a single cloud passing in front of the moon for several minutes could eliminate the chance of capturing every phase of an eclipse.
"The night of August 28, 2007, a spectacular total lunar eclipse was going to be visible from start to finish from the west coast of North America-provided that there were clear skies. A friend and I decided to try our luck photographing the event from a point high in the Siskiyou Mountains of southern Oregon. I would need to take separate images of the moon and recreate the scene as a composite of many frames. This turned out to be a benefit because it allowed me to zoom in with a telephoto lens and track the moon as it moved across the sky, capturing it in great detail. Right as the predawn light began to appear on the horizon, I took a wider landscape photo, knowing that I would later place various moon images in an arc across the sky. The result tells a six-hour story of a cosmic event in a single photo illustration. I doubt that I will get such an opportunity again in my lifetime."