The osprey — also called sea hawk, river hawk, and fish hawk — is a fish-eating bird of prey with a cosmopolitan range [covering most regions of the globe). It is a large raptor, reaching more than 60 cm (24 in) in length and 180 cm (71 in) across the wings. It is brown on the upper-parts and predominantly grayish on the head and underparts.
When it spots its prey while in flight over a body of water, it can dive 100 feet to capture fish for dinner. Simultaneously, while not missing a beat a photographer was able to capture each phase of an osprey's plunge on camera.
Photographer Chen Chengguang
Photographer Chen Chengguang (aka Joinus 12345) and his photography is a virtual sensation online. On Instagram alone, he has attracted over 225,000 followers and today's photo [see above) has receive over 30,000 likes.
According to Chen, he has been “obsessed” with the opportunity to capture photos birds with photography for decades. His goal is to show “the most beautiful aspects of flight." He points out that his work as a photographer is full of “toil, frustration, excitement,” but that all of this is worth it because it makes him feel like he achieved something.
To capture the osprey in full hunting mode, Chen uses chronophotography, a type of photography that was made popular in the mid-19th century.
Chronophotography's unique feature captures moving objects in several frames. The photographer is able to line them up side by side or affix them in one frame to demonstrate motion. The technique is the predecessor to animation and cinematography and was originally used by scientists to examine objects in motion.
By resurrecting this 170-yr-old technique, Chen permits viewers to absorb every detail of a hunting osprey. From the start, we can see the osprey's eyes fixed in total focus. With his claws outstretched and wings pulled back at the last moment, we are then able to take in the final preparation of this osprey's snatch for a tasty breakfast, lunch or dinner, with precision and expertise.
In Crisp Detail . . .
My Modern Met contributor Jessica Stewart hits the mark with her assessment. She states that "each movement of the osprey is captured in crisp detail, a testament to the photographer’s technical abilities. As such, it’s a delight to examine the large bird’s anatomy, which has been adapted to make it a skilled hunter."
Osprey Dive like a Ballet Dancer . . .
The dive is like the precision of a ballet dancer in motion. To some degree, ospreys have oily feathers to help them repel water in a dive. Their light-colored underbelly makes them less noticeable to their prey as they fly overhead. Their closed nostrils prevents them from taking in water when they zero in on their target with their razor-sharp talons.
All of these characteristics ensure that once spotted from above, even the most slippery fish is unable to escape the might osprey's grasp. Like a ballerina, they are graceful, strong, athletic, elegant committed and dedicated to its goal. Similar to the seven movements in dance they demonstrate how Plier (to bend), Étendre (to stretch), Relever (to rise), Glisser (to slide or glide), Sauter (to jump), Élancer (to dart), Tourner (to turn), to Repeat.
Primary Source: My Modern Met