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Banff 2005 Photography Winners

By GreatOutdoors Staff - November 15th, 2005

The 2005 Banff Mountain Festivals (for books and films) wrapped up this month with a display of the winning images from the Banff Mountain Photography Competition. The 17 winning photographs were culled form more than 2600 entries.

This year's photography grand prize was awarded to Mead Norton's moving image, Prayer Offerings on the Shore of Namtso Lake, Tibet.

Mead Norton traveled around Southeast Asia taking photographs for the last year and is currently living in Auckland, New Zealand, where he is a photography teacher and freelance photographer. His photographic travels have also included trips to Cuba, the Caribbean and North America. Norton is currently finishing his thesis project, titled "The Hardships Faced by Students in the Khumbu Region of Nepal," for his master's degree at Brooks Institute of Photography.

He said of his winning image:
"Namtso Lake, the highest saltwater lake in the world, is considered by Buddhist pilgrims to be one of the three holiest lakes. Namtso means 'heavenly lake' in Tibetan. Each year, thousands of pilgrims from Tibet, China and other countries make the long journey to the lake in order to pray to Buddha and leave offerings of katas-white silk scarves-and strings of prayer flags along its shore. They believe that as the wind unravels their offerings their prayers are released into the heavens. I first read about Namtso Lake and became fascinated with Tibet when I read Seven Years in Tibet, so when I was in Lhasa I took the opportunity to join a pilgrimage. I spent four days camped on the shore of the lake and captured this image one day as the sun was setting. I could feel a mystical aura surrounding the lake and could imagine what it must have been like when Heinrich Harrer and Peter Aufschnaiter first explored the area. My visit was a welcome relief from seeing the destruction caused by the Chinese in modern Tibet."

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