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Nature's Best Photography: Flamingos fly past the Paine Mountains in Chile

Here’s the next image in our presentation of the 2010 Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards. The contrasting colors are beautiful.

Ben Hall / Nature's Best Photography

Chilling winds from Antarctica roar off the Southern Continental Icefield, causing these mountain passes to be frequently shrouded with dense clouds. Chilean flamingos inhabit the shallow lakes of South America, from the coast of central Peru south to the 14,000-foot altitudes of the Andes in Tierra del Fuego. These birds withstand fierce conditions en route to feeding grounds in the grasslands and saline lakes of Argentina. During flight the Chilean flamingos make loud, deep honking or howling sounds.

Photographer Ben Hall said:
“My reward after climbing high into Chilean Patagonia was this juxtaposition of pink flamingos against the severe hanging glaciers and soaring granite spires of the Horns of Paine. I wanted to photograph the high elevations at eye level, and the trek up into the mountains required a lot of planning and logistics to battle the elements. The Chilean flamingos had been feeding in a dry lakebed nearby when part of the flock took to the sky and circled overhead. I fired off a sequence of shots in an attempt to show the relationship between the birds and their spectacular, wild habitat. My favorite image came as the birds passed an area of spiked mountain peaks against the menacing, stormy sky, with a glacier visible in the distance.”

Photographic information:
Camera: Canon EOS-1D Mark II; 100-400mm L IS lens; 1/2000 sec at ƒ/5.6; ISO 160; hand-held.

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