In the realm of the clowns – Iceland’s Atlantic Puffins
In June 2014 I saw puffins for the first time and was lucky enough to photograph them. Photographing atlantic puffins in flight proved a bit more difficult than the gannets I had photographed in Quebec. On one side, the puffin is much smaller than a northern gannet, on the other, flapping its wings at up to 400 times a minute, they reach speeds of almost 90 kilometres per hour. So hand holding a 400mm 2.8 lens at a flying puffin and trying to track it can be rather tricky. I was lucky enough to nail a few in flight and also got some nice shots of them in their habitat. Unfortunately, while I was there there were no sand eels, so I did not get any shots of the sea clown with a loaded beak.
The first series was taken at Höfn in Borgarfjörður in the north-eastern fjords of Iceland, the second series was taken at the Látrabjarg cliffs in the Westfjords. I wish I had had more time to dedicate to photographing puffins, but I am happy with the results the few hours spent with these sea parrots.
In Iceland atlantic puffin is served in restaurants. While the puffin population is still rather large, its future is uncertain with the Norwegian fishing fleets competing for its main food source, the sand eel.
At Latrabjarg I also got a few close-ups of the elegant razorbill: