Photographer Neil Ever Osborne photographed king penguins in the Falkland Islands at the height of breeding season. (Neil Ever Osborne)
King penguins are a highly social species, gathering in breeding colonies that range from 30 to hundreds of thousands of birds. (Neil Ever Osborne)
During pair formation, king penguin couples engage in an elaborate display of head shaking, strutting, bowing and calling. (Neil Ever Osborne)
A single egg is laid between November and April, with both parent birds splitting incubation duties in two- to three-week cycles. (Neil Ever Osborne)

Shooting Penguins in the Falkland Islands to Save Them

Photographer Neil Ever Osborne hopes that his work helps save the species

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Its unmistakable shape and crisp color scheme make the penguin one of nature’s most effective ambassadors—a fact not lost on Neil Ever Osborne, whose photograph of king penguins in the Falkland Islands emphasizes the sinuous lines and sculptural form of this second-largest penguin species. “My primary focus was the geometry of these animals,” Osborne says. This colony of kings, which the Toronto-based photographer visited at the height of breeding season in February, exists at the northern extreme of the species’ range, where warming oceans threaten the krill that form the base of the marine food chain—and thus threaten the penguins, which mostly eat fish. Osborne is planning a speaking tour with the photos to spur conservation efforts. The scientific argument for tempering our impact on the planet is crucial, he says, but he prefers reaching out “in a way that’s less about statistics and pie charts...and more about heartbeats and goosebumps.”

About Amy Crawford
Amy Crawford

Amy Crawford is a Michigan-based freelance journalist writing about cities, science, the environment, art and education. A longtime Smithsonian contributor, her work also appears in CityLab and the Boston Globe.

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