16th Annual Smithsonian.com Photo Contest
Animal: Magellanic Penguins
Location: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
Look into the love Magellanic Penguins display as you gaze at this photograph. Every year Magellanic Penguins navigate the seas back to a small island between South America and Antarctica to reunite and raise the next generation of penguins. Magellanic are some of the most affectionate animals on the planet. The male arrives back to the same burrow each year and he waits to reunite with his same partner year after year.
To photograph these loving penguins I traveled on a solo expedition to a small island in order to camp for one and a half months living side- by- side with penguins. Camping feet away from Magellanic Penguin burrows allowed them to warm up to me as we both spent each day fighting to survive against the harsh and unpredictable weather. Living with Magellanics as my neighbors helped me gain their trust allowing for rare opportunities to photograph natural behavior of these skittish penguin.
As the sun rose above the horizon on a cloudless summer morning, two of my neighbor Magellanic penguins emerged from one burrow. Magellanic Penguins are some of the most affectionate animals in the world and show their love to each other each and every morning and night. I quickly got into position as the two stared into each others eyes. I anticipated them to preen each other like Magellanic Penguins normally do, but suddenly one hugged the other slowly resting its beak on the the top of its partners' head. This moment shows why Mother Nature is truly the greatest artist of us all.
© Thomas Chadwick.
All rights reserved.
||July 4, 2018, 8:46 p.m.