Imagine there's just one appetizer left-and your friend grabs it without asking. Irritated as you may, you probably would not tear it out of their hand. But a gannet would.
Dive-bombing from heights up to 300 feet and speeds as fast as 60 miles per hour, these sharp-beaked birds do not bother with etiquette as Tracey Lund captures in this amazing image, taken near the Shetland Islands last summer. "There's almost a fight going on," Lund says. "Like, 'I've got it! Get it! It's mine!"
Lund has witnessed this spectacle at Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, England what looked like underwater.
So on July 7, she drove six hours north and took a middle-of-the-night ferry to the Shetland Islands, located in the "wild sticks," as Lund puts it where the Atlantic meets the North Sea. Gannets ̵
Once there, Lund hired a small boat to take her out near the ocean Isle of Noss Richard Shucksmith, whose own photos of gannets have made headlines. He lent Lund his underwater shooting gear-a, Nikon D4 camera with a fisheye lens, protected in waterproof housing and mounted on a 6-foot-long pole with a shutter release attached to the end. For a couple hours, Lund sat on the edge of the boat with the camera just dropped off the surface of the water, squeezing the trigger as Shucksmith threw dead bait to draw the birds. "It was quite hard," she says, "because literally as soon as they see the fish they're dive-bombing."
Among the 1,800 images she captured that afternoon, which just returned to the wildlife category the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards, which celebrates images of all kinds (see above). Lund's photo illustrating the birds' incredible speed and force as they plunge from the sky, splash bubbles exploding. Etiquette be damned.
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