16th Annual Smithsonian.com Photo Contest
Animal: Gentoo Penguins
Location: Falkland Islands, (Islas Malvinas)
Feel the dramatic sunset illuminating vibrant hues as the sand reflects purple all around. The Falkland Islands features some of the longest days in the summer creating sensational sunsets illuminating the penguins. The dramatic days over sixteen hours long are created by the island being located east of South America and North of Antarctica.
Off the beaten path, the Falklands during breeding season offer solitude. The only sounds heard are the strong gusts of wind whipping through the island as well as thousands of penguins vocalizing. The long days were extremely hard. Waking up every day at 3:30AM and going to sleep at 10:30PM really took its toll as I camped on the island for one and a half months. Resting was an afterthought because the rewards from time spent in the field were well worth it.
After navigating my way down a steep mountain dodging penguin burrows I finally reached a pristine white sand beach that spanned for hundreds of meters. As I watched the sun slowly fall in the sky I felt like there was going to be a great sunset. Following my prediction, I walked out onto the wet sand and laid down waiting for penguins to arrive back from the rough sea with a belly full of fish to feed their chicks. As the sun touched the horizon the most vibrant colors of a deep purple hue were illuminating all around me. As a Gentoo waddled back from the ocean with a belly full of fish it stood on the vibrant purple sea as I captured its image. This moment shows why Mother Nature is truly the greatest artist of us all.
© Thomas Chadwick.
All rights reserved.
||July 4, 2018, 9:06 p.m.