Hope Springs Eternal
Image Source: Tobias Baumgaertner
As 2021 isn’t exactly off to the rosy start that we were all rooting for, hope and comfort remain at the top of the list of things we’re collectively seeking from anywhere and everywhere. Recently I came across Oceanographic magazine’s selected winners for its annual Ocean Photography Awards, and one image in particular filled me with a rare (at least these days) sense of joy and warmth: Tobias Baumgaertner’s winning photo for the publication’s 2020 Community Choice Award category.
The photo features two widowed penguins looking out at lights along the Melbourne, Australia skyline. According to Baumgaertner, the two Fairy penguins — one an elderly female and the other a younger male penguin — would stand flipper in flipper for hours each night, comforting each other after having lost their respective partners. Their shared solace is captured so exquisitely and beautifully in the photo that it instantly stopped me mid-scroll amid my usual daily doomscrolling.
Baumbaertner had a lot working against him when trying to capture this shot (including not being permitted to use lighting, which would understandably disturb the penguins’ natural habitat) and has said that he spent several nights following the colony which was constantly on the move. In the end, his patience and unwillingness to give up paid off in spades as he snapped an unforgettable and touching photograph reflecting compassion and hope – and earning him a notable photography distinction in the process. A good reminder to all of us that patience and perseverance in the larger context of our world can make all the difference, even when the odds seem stacked against us.
Posted by Karen