Ospreys are birds of prey known for being excellent fishers. These powerful creatures dive down from up to 100 feet in the air, baring their huge claws to retrieve their next meal from the water. The way they hunt for fish is utterly fascinating, which is why they are a favorite subject among wildlife photographers.
One of them is Chen Chengguang, a distinguished Taiwanese photographer known for his amazing shots of different birds. His Instagram page features stunning images of various birds in action. Each one of his works is extraordinary, but particularly impressive are his chronophotographs of ospreys in full hunting mode.
Chronophotography traces its origins back in the mid-19th century during the Victorian era. This technique captures multiple stages of movements, and each frame is then placed in one frame to display motion. It’s the antecedent of animation and cinematography, and was initially intended to be used by scientists to inspect objects in motion.
By using this ancient yet brilliant technique, Chen is able to demonstrate every stage in the osprey’s quest for food. The photographer usually captures around three to five movements from the hunt and incorporates these shots into one astonishing portrait.
In the chronophotographs, the osprey, with its piercing eyes fixed on the prey, is seen diving into the water with its bared claws. During the first few seconds, its wings are outstretched and then pulls back in the last moments before the attack.
Incredibly, each movement of the bird is captured in vivid detail, thanks to Chen’s technical expertise. The crisp shots allowed viewers to examine the osprey’s interesting anatomy, which is suited for a skilled hunter. The large bird’s slightly oily feathers are meant to repel water, and their light-colored underbelly makes them less noticeable to their prey. Whenever they dive in to retrieve their food, their nostrils close so that water wouldn’t get inside.
But the osprey’s most fascinating body part is its huge feet and razor-sharp talons. They also have a reversible outer toe and tiny spikes called ‘spicules’ on the underside of their toes. These features help them catch slippery fish when they hunt, ensuring that their food won’t escape their grip.
Check out the gallery below to see more of Chen Chengguang’s incredible shots of ospreys.
If you’re a fan of bird photography, be sure to visit his Instagram page to see more of his marvelous works.