Tuesday, 12 January 2016

My 5 Favourite Photographs: Number 2

Aerial acrobatics

After leaving Oban and going back to University, I spent a lot of time working with the Scottish fishing industry to try and figure out ways of reducing waste in the langoustine trawl fisheries. Not surprisingly, this meant I needed to spend quite a lot of time on fishing and research boats to get good samples of their catches and turn it into the data I needed. It quickly became apparent that one of the few hobbies I could stomach while we were waiting for the catches to come aboard was photography (reading was a DEFINITE no-no!). After hours and hours of watching and practising taking photos of the seabirds following behind our boats, the gannets quickly became my favourites and I really wanted to get a good photograph of one. Unfortunately, they are damn fast and either kept too far away from the boat to shoot or got hidden in amongst the flocks of gulls that also followed us around.

This photograph was taken during a lucky break in the chaos just as we were hauling our fishing nets back into the boat with a full catch. The gulls and kittiwakes made a gap just as this particular gannet jammed its brakes on midair and twisted into some sort of martial-arts pose just before the dive, which is just the moment I caught on camera. I've taken a LOT of gannet photos since, but this one makes the favourites list because it was the first time I'd managed to get a decent action shot of a bird in flight. Also, that pose still makes me laugh!