Overlooking the Southern Ocean from their cliff-edge perch on Auckland Island, New Zealand, these white-capped albatrosses were totally engrossed in tender preening and crooning courtship rituals. They were oblivious to the wind and drizzle - and to my presence. To get there, my partner and I outfitted our own yacht and spent four months exporing these islands. I camped among the weather-beaten tussock grass near the colony, but even in such a wild setting, the birds aren't safe: I saw a feral pig devour a fluffy albatross chick on a nearby nest, and at sea, adults fall victims to longline fishing gear. The knowledge of their vulnerability made me savour even more deeply the profound peace that this devoted pair exuded to one another.
(Winning image from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition 2004)