Viral picture of two widowed penguins comforting each other crowned ‘Best Photo of 2020’

And it's really not hard to see why.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 22nd December 2020
Tobias Baumgaertner / Instagram – @tobiasvisuals / Ocean Photography Awards

A viral picture of two widowed penguins comforting each other while staring into the distance together has taken the top prize at a prestigious photography competition.

After amassing hundreds of thousands of likes and comments on social media, the stunning shot – taken by photographer Tobias Baumgaertner at St Kilda Pier, Melbourne – has won a prize at Oceanographic magazine’s Ocean Photograph Awards 2020, with many calling one of the best photos of the year.

And it’s really not hard to see why.

Tobias Baumgaertner bagged the ‘Community Choice Award’ at the Ocean Photograph Awards 2020 for his moving photograph – originally taken in 2019 – which quickly went viral earlier this year when he shared it to Instagram.

He explained in the caption that the two penguins appeared to have lost their respective partners.


He wrote: “During times like this the truly lucky ones are those that can be with the person/people they love most.

“I captured this moment about a year ago.


“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. A volunteer approached me and told me that the white one was an elderly lady who had lost her partner and apparently so did the younger male to the left.

Since then they meet regularly comforting each other and standing together for hours watching the dancing lights of the nearby city.”

Tobias Baumgaertner / Instagram – @tobiasvisuals / Ocean Photography Awards

He continued: “I spent three full nights with this penguin colony until I was able to get this picture. 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.”

You can view the rest of the 2020 finalists and award winners here.

For more of Tobias’ photography, you can follow him on Instagram here, or head to his website.


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