About the photo: Puffin’s moonrise

02.23.2015

Puffin's moonrise

Last year I had the chance to visit this small, but absolutely beautiful island called Runde which is situated in the Western coast of Norway. I have always found Norway as a sympathetic place. You can’t say that Norway is known for it’s rich birdlife, but nevertheless, you could see some birds that you can’t find in Estonia. For example, the Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica). Puffins are like Runde’s heraldic birds. There are thousands of pairs of Northern gannets, Common guillemots and Razorbills as well, but people tend to visit that island mainly because of the Puffins.

On the first evening me and my fellow hikers decided to get to know the island a little bit better. We had to do some groundwork in the beginning, so we asked the locals where we should go. We had to walk a bit until we were at the right place. At least we thought so. The best time to photograph Puffins would be around 8 PM. That’s the time when they come back from the sea with plenty of fish to feed their chicks.

Another interesting fact -the best months to shoot Puffins are May and June. That’s because it’s the time when their beaks are most colourful and it’s their breeding season. There’s only one chick that comes out of the burrow when it’s grown-up. You can smell the fish stench coming out of the burrow and this takes you back to earth.

In the first place, we took our positions and then just listened to that annoying shutter sound that many Germans and their cameras made. Seriously, there was nothing to shoot, nothing. They had their big 500mm lenses and back-up cameras with them, but hey, I guess that photographers need to be ready for everything. But then it hit me – we were at the wrong place.

The sun had just set, although it was still white. The Germans and the Dutch were leaving and I was thinking about climbing higher. To be honest, it was a pretty dangerous path. At least for me, because I’m kinda afraid of heights. Beside those heights there were some abysmal pits between large boulders. It’s quite difficult to describe it, but there were some rocks that have broken apart, some bigger than houses. It shows how tiny and helpless a person is compared to nature.

I saw some Puffins in flight and some were trying to land on rocks. They’re not that good on land, so it’s kinda funny and sad at the same time. Instead of making hundreds or thousands of pictures I just observed them and they made me giggle a lot. Their daywork was done and now they had a moment for themselves. Suddenly, I saw a full moon peeking behind the mountain and a small Puffin walking to the front of it’s burrow.

So this was the time that I had to react fast and….the price was high. I almost fell. I haven’t talked about it a lot, but if I’d fallen, then firstly I would have hit those sharp rocks and after that I would have been taken by the salty Atlantic ocean. My shoes were appropriate and I was not out of my mind, but I just risked too much this time.