Photo Gallery: Best Mountain Photographs of 2005 Announced

Photo: Prayer Offerings on the Shore of Namtso Lake, Tibet by Mead Norton
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Tibetan prayer flags hang near the shore of the world's highest saltwater lake in Grand Prize-winning photograph of the 2005 Banff Mountain Photography Competition. Mead Norton, a freelance photographer from Auckland, New Zealand, took the photo, titled "Prayer Offerings on the Shore of Namtso Lake, Tibet."

"Each year, thousands of pilgrims from Tibet, China, and other countries make the long journey to [Namtso Lake] in order to pray to Buddha and leave offerings of katas—white silk scarves—and strings of prayer flags along its shore," Norton said in a statement. "They believe that as the wind unravels their offerings their prayers are released into the heavens. I spent four days camped on the shore of the lake and captured this image one day as the sun was setting."

Norton and five other winners were named last week by the Banff Mountain Centre in Alberta, Canada, an organization dedicated to promoting and preserving mountain cultures.

In addition to the Grand Prize, the jury chose winners in five subject categories: Mountain Adventure, Mountain Culture, Mountain Environment, Mountain Flora and Fauna, and Mountain Landscape.

The competition was presented in part by the National Geographic Society.

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