Karthik Subramaniam, an Indian-origin software engineer in the US and a hobbyist photographer, has won the prestigious National Geographic’s ‘Pictures of The Year’ award with his photograph titled “Dance of the Eagles”.
Selected from nearly 5,000 entries, Subramaniam’s picture won the grand prize on Friday, earning him a feature in the magazine’s May issue alongside Nat Geo’s leading photographers.
The award-winning photograph captured a bald eagle intimidating its peers to claim a prime log while salmon hunting in the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve in Alaska.
“Every year in November, hundreds of bald eagles gather at Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve near Haines, Alaska, to feast on salmon. I visited there last two November to photograph them,” Subramaniam was quoted as saying in the statement.
Camped in the preserve, waiting for the perfect click, Subramaniam’s motto was, “Wherever there’s salmon there’s going to be chaos.” The California-based software engineer started experimenting with wildlife photography only after being grounded by the pandemic in 2020, before which he used to capture landscapes and his travels.
The prize-winning picture was captured on the final day of his week-long photography trip to Alaska, in Eagle Preserve, where he watched bald eagles catch salmon from the water.
“They (the eagles) also seemed to have some favourite spots to hang out, and usually, commotion ensues when an eagle wants an already occupied spot. This photo was taken during one such commotion,” Subramaniam was quoted as saying in the statement.
“Hours of observing their patterns and behaviour helped me capture moments like these,” he added.
According to the statement, he titled the photograph “Dance of the Eagles” as a homage to a fictional dragon war in George R.R. Martin’s novel ‘A Dance with Dragons’.
In recognition of his work, Subramaniam also received a six-month digital subscription to the magazine.
Tied to the annual ‘Pictures of the Year’ list featuring National Geographic’s top images of the year — 118 out of more than 2 million total — the photo contest invited aspiring photographers from across the country to submit the favourite image they captured in 2022, broken into four categories: Nature, People, Places and Animals, the statement said.
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