The Luckiest Penguin by Paul Souders
This week, the California Academy of Sciences will open its first official photography exhibition since it’s re-opening in 2008.
The show will display spectacular images from the Academy’s inaugural BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition. The competition received over 6,300 entries from award-winning nature, wildlife and conversation photographers around the world. Just 45 were selected as finalists and included in the final exhibition.
The grand-prize winning image, pictured above, is entitled “The Luckiest Penguin” and was shot by Paul Souders of Seattle, Washington. It depicts a Gentoo penguin narrowly escaping a leopard seal near Cuverville Island in the Antarctica. Leopard seals are known for being brutally efficient hunters in the Antarctic waters, frequently ambushing penguins as they enter or leave the water.
“I love photographing in the Antarctic. The wildlife there are quite comfortable with (human) presence. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see the world in a near pristine state,” Souders said. He has also won a National Geographic Photo of the Year award.
Another first place winner is a stunning, stark image of a mountain lion on the steps of a home in Boulder, Colorado where about 70 mountain lion sightings are recorded every year. Photographer Morgan Heim captured the great image with a camera-trap technique, which reminds us of the close proximity of human and animal habitats.
BigPicture is the Academy of Science’s first photo exhibition since it opened in Golden Gate Park nearly 100 years ago. Spokeswoman Elena Fuhrmann says the exhibit came about because of its synergy with the Academy’s mission.
“The Academy has the unique advantage of being home to both a public science museum and institution of active research. This exhibit is designed with both of those qualities in mind—presenting both the art and beauty of compelling nature photography and the critical sustainability challenges we’re working to address, so that moments like the ones captured in these photographs can continue to be appreciated for generations to come.”
The winners of the BigPicture competition will be honored at a special Nightlife on Thursday, July 31 where attendees can see the exhibition before it opens to the public on August 1. The exhibition runs until November 2, and is included with the price of admission to the Academy.
Beast in the Garden by Morgan Heim
Attack by Pål Hermansen