Note: Full-res version HERE.
This is 'Sardine Run', a shot captured by photographer G. Lecoeur that was just announced as National Geographic's nature photograph of the year. Congratulations. I can't help but look at it and hear David Attenborough's voice narrating in the background. 2016 -- don't you even f***ing think about it.
I captured this image during the migration of the sardines along the wild coast of South Africa. Natural predation, sardines are preyed upon by cape gannet birds and common dolphins. The hunt begins with common dolphins that have developed special hunting techniques. With remarkable eyesight, the gannets follow the dolphins before diving in a free fall from 30 to 40 meters high, piercing the surface of the water head first at a speed of 80km/h to get their fill of sardines.
I've always found those birds that dive underwater fascinating. It's like, hey, you can fly, but you can swim too? That's some serious overachieving right there. If I was a bird I'd just post up near a restaurant and poach uneaten French fries. Actually, that's what I do now and I'm not even a bird. Are you going to finish that?
Thanks to Stephanie B, who informed me beauty is all around us. Just not in my neighborhood, my neighborhood is full of ugly.