A place of extremes, of vulnerability, of vastness, of unknowns. Yet teeming with life. Emperor Penguins are magical. The ecosystem that supports them is fragile. The journey to experience it all tested my determination and fortitude. I did it because it matters. So do the penguins; so does the Antarctic. I’ve had a lot of help and support throughout my life. Now perhaps it is they – the penguins, their land – that need help and support. Because it matters. And a Lone Star Emmy confirms it…“Against All Odds” tells the story of why.


About the Film

“Against All Odds: Emperor Penguins of Snow Hill Island, Antarctica” reflects my love as a nature photographer for our polar regions. In its 15 minutes, photographs, video clips and story are woven together into a tapestry depicting the majesty, fragility and balance that define this surreal land. Sharing and producing a meaningful, educational, beautiful piece about nature has been my utmost objective with my photography.
About Dee Ann Pederson

“I’ve loved nature all my life. With a few ‘detours’ along the way, travels as a child have grown into a career of meaning and purpose.”

Dee Ann is an award-winning nature photographer and field tour leader who shares her passion for nature through her images and leading photographic journeys across the globe. Her abundant energy and “wanderlust” have led her across our planet for 20 years in search of nature’s splendor. She is as at home in the frigid Arctic or Antarctic as she is in the heat of the Serengeti. Photographs from her journeys have been published and honored by National Geographic, the North America Nature Photography Assoc., The Smithsonian (Nature’s Best/Windland Smith Rice Int’l. Awards) over six separate years, including the 2016 “Wildlife” category winning image, and most recently, the 2020 Lone Star Emmy for her short film “Against All Odds: The Emperor Penguins.” Dee Ann’s images are sold as fine art prints as well as for editorial and commercial use; she has published her “Nature’s Inspirations” calendar since 2004.

“My message is perhaps low-key and simple, yet powerful and crucial: our planet is a place of staggering variety and beauty, yet it’s the only one we’ve got, and it needs us more than ever – to nurture the tapestry that supports us all.”
The Emmy

September 2020 delivered a nomination for a Lone Star Emmy award. Then an article honoring my journey and film by the Dundee (Scotland) Courier. The “virtual” program for this year’s Lone Star Emmy Award Show did not reduce enthusiasm or calm any nerves, yet to hear: “And the winner is: ‘Against All Odds’” was the highlight of my career. An instant flashback of my past 20 years as a photographer brought me to tears, with a confirming reminder of why I do what I do … why the rigors of 100+° in India or -20° in blowing snows of Antarctica seemed to melt away in that “one special moment” - a glimpse into what makes it all worthwhile.

The film won in the category entitled: “Health/Science: Program Feature”



--- 15 Minute Film: “Against All Odds” Full Film
--- Film Trailer: “Against All Odds” Trailer
--- In The News: Dundee Scotland “Courier”  
--- Downloadable: Press Kit PDF
--- Website, Windows of Nature:
--- Youth Version of Film (5 min.) also available



"Against All Odds" is a magnificent visual story of one of the most amazing species on our planet, the emperor penguin. Rarely has anyone captured the magic of a breeding colony of these beautiful and tough animals in such an inspiring composition of images and narrative. The emperor penguin is truly the crown jewel of the White Continent and Dee Ann Pederson is their ideal ambassador.

~Rick Barongi, Former Director of the Houston Zoo; Former Director of Animal Programs for Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Founder of Longneck Manor, a conservation park.

A love letter to the world if ever there was one, “Against All Odds” has the potential to inspire whole new generations. Dee Ann Pederson is driven by a deep yearning passion to seek out remote and challenging photography opportunities while connecting with, and respecting, nature. When she speaks to young people about nature photography, she always emphasizes that it’s possible only because the wildlife allows her to be there. For that, she always says “thank you” when she walks away from a habitat. How fortunate that her passion for the Antarctic is now inspiring her to bring her educational message to the world.

~Michael Alexander, The Courier, Dundee, Scotland

When I watched "Against All Odds", I thought about how much preparation went into making this one-of-a-kind adventure come true. A feeling of excitement rushed through me when I heard Dee Ann’s narration; it was as if I were there, hearing the sounds of the Emperors myself. I find it amazing to think about the real-life harshness of this land, how early explorers survived, how penguins thrive here, and also what attentive and affectionate parents they are to their young. The film made me curious to know more about those early explorers and the fragile habitat that is so important to these special penguins.
Thank you, Dee Ann, for inviting me to share your amazing journey through the Antarctic.

~Enzo S., Age 14-Freshman High School Student, Houston, Texas

Dee Ann has been a force in the wildlife photography world for years. We have had the privilege of traveling with Dee Ann to Tanzania, Iceland and Alaska on wildlife photography expeditions. As she won wildlife photography awards and began to hone her vision and message, we felt the accolades were well deserved. The film “Against all Odds: The Emperor Penguins of Snow Hill Antarctica” is a culmination of years of determination on Dee Ann’s part to not only take meaningful, wellcrafted photographs and videos, but to share her passion for animals with others. The location and conditions during filming speak to Dee Ann’s will power to both witness the Emperors and to share their glory. The film provides an effective and exciting tool to educate both children and adults about the magic of remote Antarctica. Be prepared for “wonderment” when you watch this unique and riveting film.

~Martha & David Moore, Pictura Gallery/FAR Center for Contemporary Arts

Why I Do It: FAQ
Why it matters. It’s about reciprocity. We need the Penguins; the penguins need us. We need the penguins … so as to remind us of what is real and wild and precious and meaningful and sustainable in this world. The Penguins need us … to make sure we don’t destroy all of that – for them and for us. Reciprocity
What it involved. Aboard the Russian ice breaker Kaptain Khlebnikov … crossing the Drake Passage for two days, with the ship rolling, often to 26° … breaking through the thick ice of the Weddell Sea … landing by helicopter near Snow Hill Island … hiking two miles across the ice through snow to our knees, all at -20°, limited visibility and snow. And it was worth every moment of the challenge. There were moments I found myself wondering, “Will I make it?” And then … long before I could see them, I heard them – adults and chicks. Adrenaline pushed me the last hundred yards. There are no words to express the majesty of these creatures. I could not have asked for a more rewarding experience in nature.
An historical perspective. As difficult as the conditions were, I could not stop thinking about early explorers here – Shackleton, Mawson, Ross, Amundsen, Scott – and how they held the determination and courage to brave this part of the world, with gear far inferior to ours today, with travel technology largely unavailable, and in a land that was still largely unknown. Their achievements deserve praise and honor.
About the penguins. Emperor Penguins hold many records … including the record of holding more records than any other bird. They’re the tallest (4 feet), heaviest (up to 90 pounds), the only bird to breed on sea ice, and to do so during the Antarctic winter, the deepest diver (800 feet or more), the only bird whose incubation is the male’s responsibility, and more.
The Exhibition
Let me share a recent example of my vision materializing. In December 2021, the FAR Center for Contemporary Arts in Bloomington, Indiana, invited me to be their honored artist for the “Bloomington Arts Weekend,” devoting their gallery to an exhibit of my Emperor Penguin and Antarctica photographs, as well as a showing of my film program.  The event included:

display of 18 of my images from Antarctica, each printed in large format on metal, and set against the beautiful brick walls of the gallery
during the reception a looping slide show of images from my 2018 Antarctica journey  
showing of my Lone Star Emmy-award-winning short film, “Against All Odds: Emperor Penguins of Snow Hill Island, Antarctica” 
a short lecture about Antarctica and my journey, with a guest scientist speaking to issues of environmental impact
audience questions and interaction
printed flyers available for guests
3 youth educational and art project events including a viewing of a shortened 5 minute youth version of the film. 

What better way to bring my work to the public – for learning, for inspiration and for enjoyment.

Other Recognitions

Against all Odds combines Dee Ann Pederson’s passion for nature with her extraordinary skills as an award-winning photographer and filmmaker to communicate the beauty, diversity, and importance of the natural world. The narrative immediately took me into the field alongside these magnificent birds, inviting a better understanding of this challenging environment and the need to protect it.

— Steve Freligh, President and CEO, Nature’s Best Photography Fund

All photography and videos in “Against All Odds” are from my 2018 expedition to Snow Hill Island, Antarctica. The message that accompanies them is my perspective on this time and place, and is a reflection of how these special moments touched me. I solicited the expertise of David Alexander of Houston Creative Media as Editor/Motion Graphics Artist/Sound Engineer.
Contact Info
Dee Ann Pederson