Announcing the winners of our first Patagonia Photo Contest

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In his description of the striking image above, the photographer Mariano Peppi writes:  “A young 11-year-old crosses the rapid waters of the Baker River, accustomed since a young age to help his father transport wools and grass that they trade each year in exchange for food and other items.
Entitled “The boy of the Baker River,” it has won first place in the Travel & Culture category and the overall, grand prize in our first Patagonia Photo Contest.
Congratulations to Mariano, originally from Santiago, who says he became interested in photography when he went on a bike trip down the Carretera Austral (Southern Highway in Chilean Patagonia) in 2005 together with his wife, Andrea Marcos. Even sweeter for Mariano, he has dedicated his award to their daughter Pascale Peppi, born almost two days after we notified him that he won.
Three years ago, Mariano became the administrator of Green Baker Lodge, located on the Baker River close to Puerto Bertrand, Aysen. He says that this fortunate location has given him unique access to the people and culture of Aysen, as well as allowed him to frequently observe the endangered huemul deer that inhabit the area. Mariano, who also won second place in the Environment category for his photo of a huemul crossing the Baker River, a river endangered by the possible construction of large-scale hydroelectric dams, says he has fallen in love with this animal.
“This is a species that all Chileans must get to know,” he says. “The majority of the time I am in the field and when I find one of these animals I like to stay for around 40 minutes or so and they now are very familiar with me. I have even been able to touch them and get within a meter of them,” he said.
Mariano shot both of his winning photos with a Sony Alpha 100, though he has since moved on to a Nikon D600 and aims to publish a book in the future highlighting the nature and culture in the Baker River and Aysen region.
We received photos from more than 350 participants, both professional and amateur photographers, from all over the world in the four categories: Nature, Environment, Travel & Culture, and Outdoor Sports. It was an awesome display, one that made for a difficult judging process.  Patagon Journal’s editors chose four category winners, four second-place photos in each category, and three honorable mention photos based on content, composition and originality.  Three “Reader’s Choice Awards” were selected by public vote over a period of three weeks this past February.  
Patagon Journal would like to thank everyone who participated, as well as our sponsors: Patagonia, Mall Sport, and Puyuhuapi Lodge & Spa. The 14 winning photos will be on display in a month-long exposition at Mall Sport in Santiago beginning this Friday, March 8. If you’re in Santiago, we hope you can check it out. We hope to later bring the expo south to Patagonia.
Here are the rest of the winning photos: 
 First place, Nature category: Swimming between the clouds - In this image, you can see dolphins and the partly cloudy sky reflected in the completely still water like a cup of milk, as well as the small drops of water that fall from the boat or the blowhole of the dolphins. (José Manuel Jiménez Ríos)
First place, Environment category: Overfishing - An image that attempts to represent the overexploitation of the ocean in the Lakes Region of Chile, both ecological catastrophes on the marine floor provoked by the salmon farming industry, or on a lesser scale, due to the lack of ecological conscience of people who do not give back to the sea what they take from it. (Pablo Santa María)
First place, Outdoor Sports category: Trekking to Cavernia de Hielo - Cayuqueo Glacier hangs off the southeastern face of Mount San Lorenzo, at 3700 meters of altitude, located 50 km from Cochrane in Chile's Aysén region. This is a highly visited place by mountaineers and tourists from around the world, especially since the glacier is easily accessible for ice trekking. (Jimmy Valdés)

 Second place, Nature category: The stubborn one - This photo of a 3-year-old puma in Patagonia Park, located in Chacabuco Valley, Aysén region of Chile, was taken during a study of these animals which live freely in the park. In 2004, a plan for creating a national park there was launched, which will give permanent protection to the habitat of threatened species such as puma by combining Chacabuco Valley with two national reserves: Jeinimeni and Tamango. (Jimmy Valdés)


 Second place, Environment category: The crossing of my life - A huemul deer (Hippocamelus bisulcus), an endangered species, desperately crosses the turbulent waters of the fastest-flowing river in Chile, the Baker River in Aysen, a river which is also endangered by plans for a large-scale hydroelectric dam. The deer finally achieves this feat after a long period of fighting against the current. (Mariano Peppi)

 Second place, Travel & Culture category: The band - In Palena, Chile, local musicians perform at an eco-fair to promote sustainable farming and local handicrafts. (Heather Morgan

Second place, Outdoor Sports category: Climbing Cerro Castillo - Climbing Cerro Castillo in Aysen, Chile, on a marvelous spring day. (Nicolas Palma)  

 Honorable mention: Ice - Traveling on a boat in Laguna San Rafael, we viewed this classic wall of ice. It was almost surreal with rarely seen colors. (Francisca Diaz)   


 Honorable mention: Sheep coming down from the hills - In Tierra del Fuego, while traveling by car, we were stopped in our tracks by this incredible scene, thousands of sheep coming down from the hills.  (Miguel Angel Miranda


Honorable mention: Cerro Torre - I left El Chaltén, Argentina, in the morning and after four hours of hiking, I arrived at Laguna Torre.
I was interested in seeing where the Fitz Roy River begins, and when I arrived to the bank and saw the strength of the melting glacial water, I was so deeply affected by its beauty that I could not leave without this image. (Norberto Ismael Cafasso

 Reader's choice: Fearless - On the way to Victoria Island in Lake Nahuel Huapi, Argentina, aboard the boat Modesta Victoria, we were accompanied on our trip by seagulls. Among them, one in particular was chosen for its fearless flight in a photo that seeks to transmit the sensation of the pure nature found in Patagonian landscapes. (Julian Waimann)


 Reader's choice: Signs of retreat - Hiking over rocks with markings from the shrinking Viedma Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park, Santa Cruz, Argentina. (Pablo Salgado

Reader's choice: Ascent of Cerro Onteaiken - Última Esperanza Province, Magallanes region, Chile. (Francisco Rodríguez)