Anatomy of a photo #53: Osprey and fish

Osprey flying by me with a fish

I was out kayaking one day when I saw an osprey on the rocky shores of Tomales Bay feeding on a decently sized fish. I got up a little speed while still a distance away so that I would have enough momentum to drift closer without having to scare the osprey off by using my paddle.

As I was drifting closer, a vulture clumsily landed a five or six feet fro where the osprey was tearing off bites of fish.

The osprey repositioned itself towards the vulture, mantling slightly over its prey, before tearing off another bite.

The vulture took a couple small steps closer. (It’s hard for a turkey vulture to take large steps. Short legs.) encroaching a little on the osprey’s comfort zone.

The seahawk picked up the fish with one scaled talon and began shaking the fish at the vulture, almost as though it was trying to say, “It’s still moving, it’s alive. You don’t want any of this, your a vulture. You like dead things. It’s alive, so leave me alone to eat in piece.”

The vulture wasn’t buying though. It moved closer, raising it’s wings a little, possibly to catch its balance, possibly to be a little larger and a little more intimidating. The osprey raised its wings back.

They stared at each other. A step closer by the vulture. And the osprey had enough. Grabbing its prey, it took off from the shore, the fish trailing from its talons and dipping in the water. It flew nearly straight towards me.

Of course I obliged and took its picture. I had been photographing the entire exchange on the shore, watching as it all played out. The photographs of the osprey carrying the fish, however are the most dramatic, and so the one I am sharing with you today.

I took this photograph from my kayak, using a 300mm lens. The settings largely followed the recommendations of my cameras built in light meter.


For an images of an osprey catching a fish, you can check out this post- Osprey’s catch of the day

About Galen Leeds Photography

Nature and wildlife photographer, exploring the world on his feet and from his kayak. Among other genres, he is one of the leading kayak photographers in Northern California. To learn more about him, visit him on his website-
This entry was posted in Anatomy of a photo, birds, kayak photography, marine life, nature photography, photography, SLR, wildlife photography and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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