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Indian origin engineer wins NatGro award for 'Dance of the Eagles'

Dance of the eagles

Washington: Indian-origin engineer Karthik Subramaniam has won the grand prize of National Geographic's annual Pictures of The Year awards for his photo called 'Dance of the Eagles'. It will be featured in the May issue of the magazine along with its leading photographers.

The San Francisco-based software engineer won the prestigious prize for capturing three bald eagles competing for a spot on a branch in Alaska's Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve. During the fall, the area hosts the largest congregations of bald eagles in the world because around 3,000 birds arrive just 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. 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," said the photographer.

He chose the title as a tribute to the fictional dragon war in George R.R. Martin's novel A Dance with Dragons. Subramaniam said he camped out near the shore of the Preserve for a week to get the perfect photo. He will be getting a six-month digital subscription for the win.

NatGeo's press release said the photo was chosen from around 5,000 entries across four categories - nature, people, places, and animals.

Nine other photographers received honourable mentions for their photographs. "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," wrote National Geographic.

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