“What can you shoot with that thing?”
“What can you shoot with that thing?” This was a question that photographer Doc Jon was asked when a passerby noticed his Canon 6D camera with 500mm lens attachment as he was walking along the boardwalk of Madeira Beach in Florida. What happened in the next moments were the capture of what Doc called a “one-in-a-trillion shot,” as he lifted his lens to the sky after spotting an Osprey flying at approximately 400 feet over his head. This would prove to be a perfect example of what his powerful equipment could achieve.
The resulting photograph, though, wasn’t just a shot of an Osprey, though. What resulted was an image of a small fish within the jaws of a small shark which in turn was being clutched by the Osprey as it flew through the sky, action showing a living example of the food chain. To reiterate, it was a closeup of a fish, visible in the jaws of a shark, which was in turn caught in the talons of the Osprey.
“I started shooting and my settings were off. I had no tripod. I was trying to hold it steady, but it was windy out,” Doc said. “I could see the osprey had a fish, but it was far away. It wasn’t until I got home, cropped in on it, lightened the shadows, and applied some sharpening that I suddenly saw. ‘Oh my god, that’s a shark’s tail.’ Then I saw the fish in its mouth and I knew it was going to go viral.”
Initially, the photo didn’t garner much attention when Doc Jon initially first posted the incredible photo, mainly because the details are easy to miss upon first glance. The photo only began to gain momentum when Doc commented on his own photo pointing out the fish in the shark’s mouth. But the photo really took off when a local news station got wind of it. Eventually, the word spread worldwide as multiple news outlets made sure that the photo received thousands of shares. Places as far afield as India, Israel, The UK, and Sweden have approached Doc requesting interviews which he has been fielding.
“The fun part for me is some people are commenting that it’s Photoshopped, and obviously, those people don’t know the limitations of Photoshop,” he said. “Then, other people are telling me I should have sold it instead of sharing it online. I’m laughing, because really, it’s not a good photo. The photo itself kind of sucks. But it tells a great story and it’s getting me a lot of recognition for my other work now.” Though some online commenters accused Doc Jon of Photoshopping the osprey image, he said the multiple angles he captured of the bird are proof enough of its authenticity.
Doc then arranged some of his best work into a Facebook album when he realised how widely his image was being shared. Images that had barely gotten noticed before are now being shared far and wide as well. A predator eating prey that is eating prey has a singular uniqueness, a great photographic achievement, but many of Doc’s other images include examples of the circle of life. The photographer said that there was more involved in the shot than just mere serendipity: “I’m out all day every day shooting as much as I can,” he said. “I take a thousand shots and may only post one, but I’m always out shooting.”
More and more people are beginning to notice who Doc Jon is since the photo went viral. “I was out shooting great horned owls the other day and there were a bunch of other photographers there,” he said. “A woman asked me about what I shoot and I said that I got a shot the other day you may have seen. She said, ‘Is it the one with the osprey, the shark, and the fish? You’re Doc Jon!’ It was like, holy cow, these other photographers out here know who I am now. That was a pretty cool moment.”
Words by Elijah (Content Marketer).