Talk about being in the right place at the right time. Recently, Stephanie Faust was in awe of the wildlife she photographed when she captured a once-in-a-lifetime shot of an osprey flying off with its prey. However, its dinner was an animal you’d never expect. As it turns out, the osprey was the proud hunter of a dogfish shark.
When Faust, a seasoned wildlife photographer, stood at a lookout point near a bay on Aug. 2, she focused her camera on a Delaware lighthouse. As she aimed her lens over a nearby family, she heard someone yell, “Oh wow, I think he has a shark!”
As she turned her head up to the sky, she caught a glimpse of an osprey flying through the clouds. She quickly snapped two pics before the bird disappeared behind the clouds.
However, she failed to realize that she had captured much more than just a fish hawk. Later, when she looked back at the photos, she saw the sea hawk with its long, narrow wings outstretched and something quite significant in its talons: a dogfish shark.
Initially, Faust was disappointed in herself for not positioning herself better for the action shot. She nearly chose not to share the images online. However, she reconsidered.
“Haha, wish I was in the right camera setting,” she admitted after taking the now-viral pic. “I was focused on one last capture of the lighthouse, looked up and he was over my head.”
Wildlife photographer on rare osprey photo: ‘You never know what you’re going to see’
Once she posted the photo online, it immediately blew up across the internet.
“It was pure luck,” said the 50-year-old photographer. “In the many years I’ve been chasing osprey, I’ve never captured a shark and osprey. But it was low tide, so there were sand bars out there, and I think [the bird] was able to snatch one up.”
Faust has been a photographer for nearly a decade, but it wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic hit that she shifted her focus to nature and wildlife.
Today, she shares most of her work at a local art gallery in Lewes, Delaware. In addition, she shares her work and an accompanying story online with her followers.
“I can’t help but tell the story that led up to the picture,” said Faust. “My stories have touched so many people. Honest to goodness, when I meet people, they almost want to shed a tear because they remember some exact pictures and stories that I’ve shared.”
Via her photographs, Faust wants viewers to enjoy a moment of the coastal life that she is lucky enough to bear witness to every day.
“When you spend time out with nature, you just never know what you’re going to see.”