Photo: Discovery Channel
Until now, even the most highly-skilled wildlife cameraman have been unable to capture a Great White shark leaping straight out of the water from a bird’s-eye view.
A mission to get the “impossible shot” was documented in Discovery Channel’s Shark Week series. We’ve pulled out the highlights.
The first overhead view of a Polaris breach was captured by the Shark Week film crew in 2001. But researchers have been chasing after one particular angle for more than a decade.
That's the Polaris breach attack from a bird's-eye perspective, which some have labelled impossible.
Photographers take a huge risk by letting the camera hang above the water without a protective container, which would be too heavy for the balloon. Any contact with the water will ruin the camera.
In order for the balloon rig to stay aloft, it has to be filled with enough helium to maintain buoyancy and be pulled into the wind behind the boat. Otherwise the balloon will plummet into the water with the camera attached.
The decoy bait also has be lined up with the camera when the above-water attack, which can be over in less than second, happens.
Finally, after several weeks of staring at open ocean, the camera captures the long-sought-after aerial breach.
Now that researchers have the aerial shot they can figure out what's happening when a Great White strikes a seal.
Seals avoid shark attacks about 50 per cent of time, which means something is tipping them off to danger.
It turns out that a seal can quickly spot the white underbelly of the shark, which looks teal under the water, giving it enough time to escape the animal's jaws.
With the new overhead views, scientists can also calculate how much time seals have to react to a Great White leaping out of the water.
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