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Picture of the day - February 16, 2009

A pair of Iceland's Arctic Puffins

Photo of a pair of beautiful arctic puffins on Iceland.
Photo courtesy of Markus Horsch.         (Click on the photo for a larger view)

The penguins of the southern hemisphere come to mind most often when people think of birds that live in cold climates, and yes, they are indeed very beautiful creatures. But in my opinion their counterparts in the northern hemisphere are even more beautiful.

Photographer Markus Horsch took this wonderful photograph of a pair of arctic puffins on Iceland's Latrabjarg cliffs, and as you can see these magnificent birds have quite colorful beaks and feet in addition to a black and white "tuxedo" that is very similar to those of penguins. Puffins are numerous on Iceland, and the island's human inhabitants love them dearly and go to great lengths to protect them from harm whenever possible.

The following is Mr. Horsch's story behind this image:
    "When this picture was taken my wife was trembling and howling
    behind me like a regular Swiss mountain storm for fear I was on
    the literal edge of falling down from this majestic cliff. I could
    calmly proceed with taking the picture because the regular
    Icelandic sea storm that was blowing at the time was many times
    stronger than that. The discrepancy of what met the eye and
    ear respectively could not have been greater."
       --Markus Horsch
The camera and settings used to capture this lovely image:
    Camera: Nikon D70s
    Focal length: 105mm
    Shutter speed: 1/500 second
    Aperture: f/5.6

Visitor Comments...
    Name: Phyllis Helton
    Town: Bristol, VA

    They look like they posed for him in a very beautiful spot. Great photo.
    Name: Henrika Fasjovk
    Town: Malmo, Sweden

    Very, very pretty birds. The flowers are pretty also.
    Name: Ed Hendrick
    Town: Charlotte, NC

    I was stationed in Iceland when I was in the Air Force, and I can tell you that puffins are everywhere on that island. They are rather messy birds if you know what I mean, but they sure are pretty!
    Name: Winston Rockwell
    Town: Kirkland, WA

    A terrific photo, the flowers add a touch not often seen with puffins. I'd love to get a chance to photograph these birds... they look like sad little clowns in black suits!
    Name: Robert Schwarztrauber
    Town: Buffalo, NY

    What a beautiful photo captured by Markus Horsch. Great clarity, color and contrast in that shot. How very fortunate he was to be able to get that photograph of the puffins. And how fortunate are we that he shared it.
    Name: Ladislaus
    Town: Budapest, Hungary

    One is shaken by emotions and delight seeing the unsurpassed beauty of nature, taken in the right moment and with great artistry. Thank you!!!

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