The Californias - Project
Florian featured in the Natural History Museums coffee-table book - Unforgettable Behaviour
Florian was selected as one of 57 photographers worldwide for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year - Unforgettable Behaviour coffee-table book of the prestigious Natural History Museum. On a spread the book shows his award-winning image "The flight of the rays”. It was captured in Baja California, a region of Mexico, for whose protection Florian works for with his project B2B - Baja to Beaufort.
The story behind the image
It’s April, and the weather is sunny and calm. As we glide with a bushplane along the coast over the southern tip of Baja California, my pilot Sandy and I suddenly see a big disturbance on the water in the distance. Small waves seem to break over a reef just below the water’s surface. But as we get closer, we realize that the suspected reef is in motion. It is actually thousands of rays jumping out of the water and creating waves. The ocean looks like it is boiling. I am beside myself with excitement to see such an enormous school of rays. Will I be able to capture it? I grab my telephoto lens, hoping to photograph their sheer number and unusual jumping behaviour. I quickly tell Sandy the position I need to be in, and she says, “Here we go,” starting to bank and turn. The 10-pound (4.5-kilogram) weight of the lens and camera seems to double with the g-force of the turn. I try to focus and maintain a desirable composition. Then a ray at the edge of the large congregation makes a leap and plunges below the surface, only to leap at a greater velocity a second later. Click, click, click—another burst from my camera as the ray soars over the water. Sandy levels the plane, and I quickly review the images on the camera’s display. I see Sandy’s questioning look out of the corner of my eye. “Did you get it?” she asks. I smile and shake my head:“Unbelievable!”
Impressions of Baja California
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