Every year, ocean photographers from all around the world compete in the Ocean Photography Awards by submitting their best shots demonstrating the glamour and splendor of water-based ecosystems.
On their website, the OPA (Ocean Photography Awards) team explains its goal:
"The Ocean Photography Awards are a celebration of our beautiful blue planet, as well as a platform to highlight the many plights it is facing."
When the winners of the most recent awards were announced, they had a number of great surprises for their fans around the globe.
However, one particular photo got a lot of attention and even managed to win the Community Choice Award. The award-winning photo was taken by Tobias Baumgaertner, a German photographer.
The shot features two fluffy penguins hugging and comforting each other.
The Photo Was Taken In Melbourne, Australia
The brilliant photo was taken in Australia, and in the photo's description on Instagram, Tobias writes:
"During times like this, the truly lucky ones are those that can be with the person/people they love most."
"These two fairy penguins poised upon a rock overlooking the Melbourne skyline were standing there for hours, flipper in flipper, watching the sparkling lights of the skyline and ocean."
Apparently, there is truth to the touching scene the two penguins depict: both had lost their partners and were often comforting each other.
Tobias was approached by a volunteer who explained that the white penguin was an elderly lady who had lost her partner. The other penguin was a younger male who had also lost his partner.
After the tragedies they experienced, they met often and comforted each other while hugging each other. They would spend hours standing and watching the dancing lights in the city.
The Penguins Were Comforting Each Other
Tobias went to a lot of lengths to get this shot. Apparently, he spent 3 nights with the penguin colony until he could get this unique picture.
The process was not exactly easy:
"Between not being able or allowed to use any lights and the tiny penguins continuously moving, rubbing their flippers on each other's backs and cleaning one another, it was really hard to get a shot, but I got lucky during one beautiful moment. I hope you enjoy this moment as much as I did."
People certainly shared the photographer's feelings and totally enjoyed the photo.
The Perfect Picture
The photographer was touched by the love and care the lovebirds showed each other. Apparently, while other penguins were having fun and running around, the two just stood side by side and enjoyed each other's care and comfort in each other's flippers.
According to the photographer, the penguins were "holding each other in their flippers and talking about penguin stuff."
Usually, Ocean Photography Awards have six categories. They include The Ocean Conservation, Young Photographer, Adventure, Community Choice, Exploration, and Collective Portfolio awards.
Other award winners are listed in the OPA official website.
Here are the first placed winners in the other categories:
The Ocean Photographer Of The Year, Nadia Aly
Conservation Photographer Of The Year, Matt Sharp
Adventure Photographer Of The Year, Jason Gulley
Exploration Photographer Of The Year, Ben Cranke
Young Photographer Of The Year, Cruz Erdmann
Collective Portfolio Award, Nadia Aly
People's reactions to the iconic photo.
As you can see, it is not just us humans who go through hard times after losing our loved ones.
Penguins also feel the desire to feel loved, cherished, and cared for after losing their partners, just like us. Isn't that amazing?