Spectacular and Uncommon Picture of an Osprey Gliding on the Water’s Floor


Photographer Andy Woo captured the proper second of an osprey gliding on the floor of a physique of water, an uncommon and spectacular photograph of the wild raptor.

The photograph was captured in August of 2020 and is among the extra common pictures Woo has shared on his Instagram. He says that the photograph of the osprey was full happenstance and he wasn’t even attempting to {photograph} the species of raptor that day. As a substitute, his purpose was inexperienced heron.

“This shot was as unplanned because it will get. In the course of the summer season of 2020, with COVID lockdowns and work-from-home giving everybody a little bit of cabin fever, I spent nearly each night after work visiting a few of my favourite native parks and nature preserves within the Seattle space,” he says.

“On that day, I went to this specific nature protect in Seattle as a result of pal of mine — wonderful wildlife photographer Mukul Soman — informed me he’s been seeing a inexperienced heron there within the evenings. We agreed to fulfill up after work, however at first I went to the improper facet of the protect. I didn’t see a lot aside from a number of the regular birds.”

Finally he realized he was on the improper facet of the protect and met up with Soman, however they didn’t have any higher luck discovering a inexperienced heron. As a substitute, they had been greeted by the proper alternative to {photograph} the osprey.

Ospreys are identified for the dramatic, sleek dive into the water once they hunt which they will generally do from a top of 120 toes. Usually, they plunge feet-first into the water to seize their prey — fish — earlier than flying shortly again up into the air and away to their perch to devour their prey.

This time, one thing was completely different that led to Woo’s uncommon photograph.

“I don’t declare to be an osprey habits knowledgeable — and even an osprey knowledgeable normally — however this was my first and solely time seeing this occur and I believe it needed to do with the climate situation,” Woo says.

“It was a muggy day: heat, humid, and windless (to not point out mosquitoes-infested by the lakeside the place we had been). Though I couldn’t work out what simply occurred on the time, in wanting on the sequence I captured, it appears to be like to me just like the osprey tried to seize a fish out of the water, missed, after which couldn’t get sufficient carry to shortly get again within the air,” he continues.

“Pretty much as good as they’re at fishing, it’s not unusual for ospreys to overlook however, usually, they get proper again up within the air, shake off the water, and check out once more. On this case, I feel the windless day, whereas nice for getting the osprey’s reflection within the shot, additionally made it tougher for the osprey to generate sufficient carry after hitting the water to get airborne once more immediately.”

Woo says that skilled chicken photographers and birders know that birds typically land into the wind and take off into the wind as a way to get that wanted carry. However on this case, the osprey didn’t and as an alternative glided simply above the floor of the water for a second, which culminated in what Woo calls a “skimming shot” the place it was so near the water that the tip of its beak and its talons had been dragging throughout the floor.

Andy Woo Wildlife Photography

“It was then capable of lastly get sufficient carry to get again up greater into the air after which to a perch,” Woo explains, which can also be pictured above.

“Simply to be clear, I’m undecided that’s precisely what was happening, nevertheless it’s my finest educated guess primarily based on the pictures I used to be capable of seize. It additionally perched a lot decrease than what I’m used to seeing, which labored out nice as a result of it supplied us with a uncommon alternative to take portrait photographs of the osprey from a more in-depth distance and higher angle than regular.”

Andy Woo Wildlife Photography

“In case persons are frightened, the osprey didn’t look sick or injured. It flew in with fairly some velocity and banked nicely simply earlier than it went in for the dive,” Woo provides.

“It’s additionally essential to take into account that the precarious glide over the floor of the water (and the “skimming”) solely lasted for lower than a second primarily based on the digital camera’s timestamps, so it’s not as if the osprey was struggling to realize altitude over an extended time frame. It was simply ever barely longer than regular that I used to be about to make use of the digital camera to seize that fleeting second when the osprey was skimming throughout the floor.”

Andy Woo Wildlife Photography

Wanting again at how he was arrange, Woo admits that he wasn’t absolutely ready for the osprey, however managed to make it work.

“To be sincere, I hadn’t even had an opportunity to dial in my digital camera settings and needed to do it on the fly because it approached. It regarded to us prefer it was looking, so we anticipated it to dive, nevertheless it all occurred so shortly,” he says.

“Wanting again on the timestamps on my pictures, it was 9 seconds from when the osprey first appeared to the “skimming shot,” and one other 6 seconds from that shot to when it perched; so the complete sequence lasted roughly 15 seconds,” he explains. The photograph under was the primary photograph in that sequence.

Andy Woo Wildlife Photography

“In the meanwhile, I used to be largely perplexed on the habits and questioned with my pal Mukul as to what we simply witnessed. Was it getting a drink of water? Did it do it only for enjoyable? The humorous factor, and I feel a little bit of a lesson discovered for me, was that as a result of I used to be so set on getting a shot of an osprey grabbing a fish out of the water, my thoughts was nonetheless fixated on that.

“I used to be definitely glad I obtained an attention-grabbing shot, however my mindset on the time was ‘nicely, a minimum of I obtained one thing satisfactory,’ somewhat than ‘whoa, what a second, what a shot!’ For the remainder of the night we had been nonetheless eagerly anticipating and hoping that after a brief relaxation the osprey could strive once more and catch a fish this time. It’s reminder that even when we go into the sphere with a preconceived concept of what ‘the shot’ we wish ought to seem like, nature generally surprises you with one thing much more charming or distinctive.”

Observe Makes Excellent

Woo says that he has been photographing birds for the higher a part of 10 years, so when he snapped the photograph of the osprey, he had nearly eight years of expertise.

“I’ve all the time been keen on wildlife and pictures as a toddler, however by no means had entry to a “actual” digital camera (solely the household’s point-and-shoot) till I used to be in regulation faculty and obtained a paid internship within the fall of 2012 that allowed me to purchase my very first DSLR: a Canon Insurgent T6i,” he says.

“I used to be dreaming of the form of wildlife pictures you see in Nationwide Geographic, however actually the equipment telephoto lens that got here with it (a 55-250mm) was simply barely lengthy sufficient for photographing geese on the park and birds within the yard, in order that’s what I did,” he provides.

“Birds weren’t essentially an obsession again then, however I wished to {photograph} wildlife — any wildlife — and birds had been essentially the most available and accessible wildlife for somebody residing in an city space and attending regulation faculty. I truly bear in mind one of many very first birds I photographed was a gaggle of tiny, greyish birds within the yard of my household house. I went again inside, hopped on the pc, and used an internet chicken information to establish them as Widespread Bushtits, and the obsession grew from there.”

Andy Woo Wildlife Photography
Woo’s photograph of the widespread bushtit that sparked his love of birds.
Andy Woo Wildlife Photography
One other photograph of a standard bushtit, however this one captured eight years later on the similar location (and only one hour earlier than) because the osprey photograph above.

Woo says that the majority of his pictures, and plenty of of his favourite photographs, come from what many would take into account to be “bizarre” areas like native parks that he visits often. His concept of scouting areas isn’t actually the identical as what panorama or portrait photographers may do, however as an alternative is extra natural.

“Even after doing this for nearly ten years I can not declare to be an knowledgeable, however you do be taught new issues every time you exit to shoot, in regards to the location, the wildlife and their behaviors,” he says.

Andy Woo Wildlife Photography

Andy Woo Wildlife Photography

Andy Woo Wildlife Photography

“For individuals who could also be keen on moving into wildlife pictures, I feel the foremost is to develop an appreciation and respect for wildlife and nature. Within the final couple of years there’s been fairly a number of information headlines about folks getting too near wildlife (e.g., bison in Yellowstone) or photographers behaving badly as a way to ‘get the shot,’” Woo provides.

“In my expertise, chasing after the shot by no means does anybody (together with your self) any good. I’ve had higher success selecting a spot at a respectful distance and ready quietly, letting the animal come to you (or not). There can be loads of instances when it’s an entire bust otherwise you don’t get the shot for one motive or one other, however that’s actually part of this interest.”

Andy Woo Wildlife Photography

Andy Woo Wildlife Photography

Andy Woo Wildlife Photography

For extra from Andy Woo, be certain to go to his web site and Instagram.


Picture credit: All pictures by Andy Woo