Photographer Explains How He Captured This Image of a Seagull Flying Straight Towards His Camera
Brutus Östling is a professional photographer from Sweeden who specializes in nature photography. In 2007, Östling was named “Nature Photographer of the Year” and he is currently an ambassador for Canon in Europe. I came across this photograph while browsing the “Pics” section of Reddit and immediately wanted to know how Östling captured such a powerful image. I caught up with him via email to get the story behind the photograph.
Where was the photo taken?
Ten years ago I was working a lot along the Norwegian coast on two books. One was about the white tailed eagle, the European and Russian twin species to the bald eagle. When the eagles didn’t show up I had to do something else, so I started photographing gulls.
Describe the scene before you took the photograph. Were the birds flying that close to you while you were on the boat?
I was leading a workshop group and we were shooting eagles going down for fish while on the boat. I was photographing the gulls following the boat as we fed them bread. I had all the photos I needed of the white tailed eagle so I was enjoying photographing the gulls.
How did you take this amazing photograph?
I had a piece of bread in my hand just beside the wide-angle lens that was 14mm, which gives a photographing angle of 114 degrees in the diagonal.
Did the bird hit your camera? What happened after you took the photo?
The bird took the piece of bread from my hand. As I did this repeatedly, some of the gulls landed on my lens when I was shooting upwards. The lens was expensive but to be honest, I didn’t care.
Ed note: Östling is currently preparing for an exhibition set to open in Stockholm on Saturday at Jakobsberg’s Art Hall and the gulls will be one of two main themes in the exhibition. He also writes a newsletter and a blog.
Want more great nature photography? Check out the winners of the Nature’s Best Photography competition.