National Geographic recently unveiled the winners of its annual Pictures of The Year awards. Karthik Subramaniam, a San Francisco-based software engineer of Indian origin has been named the grand prize winner for his photo titled ‘Dance of the Eagles’.
The stunning image shows a trio of bald eagles battling for a spot on a branch in Alaska’s Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, according to a press release from the outlet. The photo was selected from nearly 5,000 entries across four categories: Nature, People, Places and Animals. The photo will be featured in the May issue of National Geographic magazine alongside the publication’s leading photographers and will also get a six-month digital subscription to the magazine.
Subramaniam titled the image ‘Dance of the Eagles’ as a homage to a fictional dragon war in George R.R. Martin’s novel A Dance with Dragons. He told National Geographic how he camped out near the shore of this preserve for a week to capture the perfect shot. According to the magazine, the area hosts the largest congregations of bald eagles in the world every fall, when around 3,000 arrive in time for the salmon run.
‘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 Novembers to photograph them’, Subramaniam said. ‘Studying their behaviour patterns helped me anticipate some of their actions. For example, when an eagle drags salmon to a dry spot, other eagles in the area would inevitably fly there to claim their share, and that leads to chaotic action. They 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’, he added.
Nine other photographers also received honourable mentions for their photographs, which were taken worldwide. ‘From the discovery of the shipwreck Endurance and the impact of climate change on endangered species to the first summit of Mount Everest by an all-Black team of explorers as well as emotional and striking shots of Ukrainian refugees standing in solidarity, National Geographic captures it all in Pictures of the Year 2022’, the publication wrote, while releasing the photographs.