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"Here is a self portrait while working at the Penguin Ranch outside of McMurdo Sation, Antarctica," writes Ed. "I think they bonded with the hat!"

We're glad Ed Stockard shares this photo with us despite the "risk to my reputation or masculinity," because it symbolizes the endless attraction and dare we say charm of the U.S. National Science Foundation's polar programs:  in the midst of the everyday, you're never far from the matchless and the amazing—the opportunity to do or see something you can do or see no where else in the world. That's pretty attractive.

If you're curious, Ed was supporting a long-term study of penguin diving physiology led by Paul Ponganis of UC San Diego. The work continues, and Dr. Ponganis has expanded it to include leopard seals. For more basic information on the Penguin Ranch studies, including exerpts from the PI's 2008 research journal, read this LiveScience piece.

We asked Ed to share some of his favorite shots with us in honor of his being selected as a finalist in the Air Greenland Photo Contest

--Kip Rithner