Photographer captures two humpback whales creating a perfect Fibonacci spiral
In the icy waters of Antarctica, photographer Piet van den Bemd captured a sight you don’t see every day – but in a pattern you probably do. While filming with his drone, he captured two humpback whales demonstrating a unique and sophisticated feeding technique called bubble-net feeding. But what makes this footage truly extraordinary is the unexpected appearance of a perfect Fibonacci spiral!
]Related reading: What is the golden ratio and how to use it in photography?]
Humpback whales are known for their complex behaviors; and bubble-net feeding is a prime example. This technique involves a pair of whales diving beneath their prey and creating bubbles from their blowholes to form a net. This net traps fish closer to the surface, allowing the whales, known as “gulp feeders,” to rise with open mouths, engulfing everything in their path. This method doesn’t only demonstrate the whales’ intelligence but also their ability to coordinate and communicate effectively.
But what makes Piet’s footage special is that it offers more than just an insight into whale behavior. It shows a mesmerizing glimpse of the Fibonacci spiral in action. The Fibonacci spiral is a geometric pattern that grows by a factor of φ (the golden ratio; 1.618034) with every quarter turn it makes.
“The Fibonacci spiral shape executed perfectly made it incredible,” the photographer told Storyful. He added that it was a moment he’d “absolutely never forget.”
Why is the Fibonacci spiral so special?
The Fibonacci spiral offers several advantages in nature. In seeds and leaves, it maximizes space utilization and minimizes overlaps. The logarithmic nature of the spiral also allows for continuous growth without changing the basic shape. This helps plants to minimize energy expenditure. Moreover, Fibonacci branching patterns create solid and stable structures in trees and other organisms.
But as photographers, let’s not forget the aesthetics. The Fibonacci spiral’s pleasing proportions and graceful curves are considered aesthetically pleasing to humans. They appear in the arrangement of leaves on a stem, the spirals of seashells, and even the human body. It’s a natural and pleasing pattern since it’s all around us.
Some researchers believe that the golden ratio’s proportions align well with the natural scanning patterns of our eyes. It allows us to take in information efficiently and effortlessly. No wonder it’s called the “divine proportion” and many Renaissance artists have incorporated it in the composition of their work.
The prevalence of the Fibonacci spiral in nature is a testament to its power and efficiency as a design principle. And Piet’s aerial video is one of the beautiful examples of how mathematics can be seen not just in abstract equations but also in the very fabric of life itself.
[via IFL Science]
Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.