DAILY SHARK PICTURE
Unless I'm at
sea, climbing a mountain, trekking through the jungle, marooned on a
deserted island, piloting a submarine (my other job), stuck on a plane,
hiding from angry shark finners (not that unlikely), in a coma (been
there, done that), in jail or just plain dead... this page will contain
a brand new shark or ray picture (and caption) everyday (or two). Enjoy!
Tiger Shark 486
This pic is from our last photo
workshop at Tiger Beach. This is Simon Ager looking for an interesting
perspective of a tiger and a lemon. He was shooting with a tiny G11
camera which is an amazing point and shoot machine that captures pin
sharp RAW files. It made me wonder if my monstrous 'state of th art'
DSLR was about to become obsolete. Simon came home with some great pics!
Join our next Tiger Beach Shark Photography Workshop
April 2-8 2011
Andy Murch is a Shark
Photographer, outspoken Conservationist, Freelance Photojournalist, and
the Creator of Elasmodiver.com
LOTS MORE SHARK PICTURES
SAVE THE SHARKS, SAVE THE WORLD
Previous Daily Shark Pics:
Barndoor Skate 048
These barndoor skates were caught
as bycatch in a deep sea squid trawl. When we released them at the beach
they swam around and then settled on top of each other. They had been
through a lot by the time they finally made it back into the sea and it
occurred to me that they may have felt some kind of comfort by being in
close proximity to each other. It is a very unskatelike thing to do from
the skates I have seen previously. Coincidence? Or an instinctual
reaction to stress? Just one more question that we'll probably never
Lemon Shark 510
You can swim but you can't hide.
A lemon shark slides past a soft coral head at Tiger Beach.
Sandtiger Shark 029
Depending where you are from, you
may know Carcharius taurus as the sandtiger shark (North America), the
ragged tooth shark (South Africa) or the grey nurse shark (Australia).
Blessed with a beefy frame, beady eyes and a jaw overflowing with
wickedly curled teeth, it is a living caricature of everything
frightening about sharks. Its habit of devouring its siblings while
still in the womb (inter-uterine cannibalism) has done nothing to
improve its reputation. In reality it is a timid, fish eating shark that
shies away from contact with divers if they make eye contact, swim too
fast or simply make too much noise.
It has been four years since I
shot this portrait above the wreck of The Spar in North Carolina and I'm
looking forward to heading back this August during Sharkfest for another
crack at the perfect sandtiger image. No chum is used on NC dives so the
encounters are purely up to the sharks. Lets hope they're feeling
particularly friendly the weekend we are there!
Lemon Shark 578
This is a shot of Photographer
Nathan Meadows working the reef to get more dynamic shots of a lemon
shark at Tiger Beach. Nate came home with some spectacular images.
Lemon Shark 515
Every year that I go to Tiger
Beach the lemons have a few more remoras in their entourage. There is a
good chance that their annoying escorts are probably there because we
have made the pickings at TB so plentiful. What may amount to just a few
scraps to a large shark is a rare feast for a remora. Is it a bad thing?
There are worse ways to interfere with nature than bolstering the remora
population - like shark fishing. This female lemon has a nasty looking
growth on the side of her jaw which is probably the result of a hook
that was lodged there.
Tiger Shark 475
The reason Tiger Sharks always
lose at 'Hide and Seek'.
Lemon Shark 511
After five trips to Tiger Beach
it was time to look for some new angles. TB has plenty of sharks but it
doesn't have that much reef structure so we spent a lot of time working
in the sea fans looking for features that the sharks could swim through.
Tiger Shark 436
I have just returned from a week
long shark photography workshop at Tiger Beach. The image opportunities
were so good that I'm dedicating the next week or two's daily shark
pictures to some of the highlights from that trip. This is the tiger
that stayed around all day every day. I guess some sharks just like
getting their pictures taken.
Lesser Spotted Catshark 023
Six or seven years ago I was in
the UK shooting basking sharks. While I was there, I kept hearing about
the little catsharks that could be found all over the shallows so after
I'd finished the basker shoot I got the operator to take me into a river
mouth where I could go hunting. It wasn't easy because I had a big
animal lens on my camera but eventually I found one that was relaxed
enough to let me get really close for this shot.
They tell me that sometimes
lesser spotted catsharks are so docile that you can pick them up. I
didn't find any like that so I have to go back just to see that side of
their personality. I probably won't be in the UK again until 2012. I'll
bring the right lenses this time and these little guys will be at the
top of my shooting list.
Banded Wobbegong 036
This pic has been around the
block a few times but its still one of my favorites. It immediately
takes me back to Fish Rock which I think is one of the best dives on the
planet. But then again I haven't dove everywhere... yet!
Blacknose Shark 012
Blacknose sharks are born with a
distinct black smudge on the very tip of their nose. By the time they
reach adulthood (like this meter long female) the smudge has usually
faded to an indistinct shadow.
I shot this pic on my first trip
to St Maarten. The owners of Dive Safaris invited me to shoot their
Caribbean Reef Shark Feed that they believed was also attended by
sharpnose sharks. At first I wasn't sure what I was looking at but
eventually even without the black smudge I figured it out. Apparently,
the little sharks were regular visitors but shortly after that shoot the
blacknoses left and never returned.
Little Skate 010
I shot this little skate off
Rockport Beach on the Cape Ann Peninsula, Massachusetts. Next week I'm
heading back to New England to nail down some more north eastern elasmos
for the Predators in Peril Initiative. Its the beginning of a 6 week
trip to photograph as many east coast species as possible while they're
still abundant enough to find.
Great Hammerhead Shark 013
It's been a long time since I saw a great hammerhead in
the wild. I shot this one when I was out with Jim Abernathy on my first
Tiger Beach trip 6 or more years ago. I've shot a lot of different
sharks since then but there's nothing quite like sharing the ocean with
a big hammerhead. The Tiger Beach Photo Workshop is less than three
weeks off. Will there be hammers?!... Lets hope so but either way, there
will be LOTS of sharks.
Sandtiger Shark Juvenile 001
Most divers that come to North
Carolina would like to see sandtiger sharks and the bigger the better.
The sharks aren't guaranteed but they're usually pretty thick on the
ground. Considering how many sandtigers there are, you would think that
there would be plenty of juveniles too but this 3ft pup is the only one
I've ever seen. It was swimming along the bottom, twisting sideways
every now and then to scrape its flanks on the rough stony substrate.
Porbeagle Shark 030
Yesterday, on the second attempt,
the porbeagle shark Lamna nasus was finally added to appendix II
of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild
Fauna and Flora. All the other shark species were turned down but it is
still a cause for celebration. Fishing of a key shark species will now
be far less lucrative in many areas. One important battle won in the war
to save our sharks. Bravo to all those that played a part!
Blue Shark 250
Her is the answer to the question
that I posed as part of the caption for the last daily shark picture;
strangely enough, blue sharks possess papillose gill rakers that can be
used to capture krill and other tiny organisms.
Basking Shark 012
If I told you that there are four species of
sharks that eat plankton that would probably leave a few of you
scratching your heads. It is common knowledge among shark fanatics that
whale sharks and basking sharks live primarily on plankton. Many of you
probably know that megamouth sharks also eat a lot of plankton although
they are definitely more omnivorous. Does anyone know what the fourth
shark might be???
Join the discussion on
Facebook to find out the
answer or wait for the next shark picture of the day.
Smooth Hammerhead 032
Smooth hammerheads are very, very
shy. Most hammerheads are. Probably the most illusive hammer of all is
the winghead shark which lives in the Indian Ocean and Northern
Australia. It has a crazy looking swept back hammer that is half the
length of its body. No one has ever photographed one underwater. I am on
a mission to change that. I am not sure how yet but I'll find one sooner
or later. Wingheads are threatened in much of their range so the images
will be very useful for conservation campaigns but I'd be lying if I
said that was the only reason. Truth is; its an obsession.
Whitespotted Shovelnose Ray
Whitespotted shovelnose rays are
sometimes called shark rays because of their obvious shark-like dorsal
and caudal fins. However, they are unquestionably rays. This species
lives in Australia and the Indian Ocean but I nailed this shot in an
aquarium in the US. Next trip to Oz I'll be chasing wild ones - I know
exactly where to find them!
Tiger Shark 054
Its a month away from Tiger
Beach. Will the weather hold? Will the sharks show up? Will everyone get
the shots they are after? Will we see anything special like the albino
hammer that Joe Romeiro saw in February? Will the boat sink? Will we all
come back safely... Life was so much simpler when I was just a Shark
Spiny Dogfish 062
This rushed snapshot of a spiny
dogfish tells an interesting tale. Its right side is covered in sucker
marks; clear evidence that this little shark recently escaped the
tentacles of a Giant Pacific Octopus. This isn't the first time I've
seen a GPO praying on a mud shark. I once found an octo that refused to
swim away from the reef that it was perched on because it was guarding a
half eaten dogfish.
Lesser Electric Ray 068
When people talk about sharks
being overfished, one of the leading examples is the Oceanic Whitetip
Shark population in the Gulf of Mexico which has been depleted by a
whopping 98%. Few people realize that other
species of elasmos such as the lesser electric ray (Narcine
bancroftii) are in just as dire straits. This info comes straight
from the IUCN Red List: "While specific catch
data are lacking over most of the species' range, declines to 2% of its
baseline abundance in 1972 have been demonstrated in the Northern Gulf
of Mexico. Shrimp trawl fishing is intense in that area"
The lesson is simple; trawling
has to stop.
Big Skate 001
The scruffy looking lettuce kelp that this big skate is
sitting on is typical of this particular area. I won't call it a dive
site because no one except a total elasmo-fanatic would dream of diving
there. Getting this image involved poking around in freezing cold water
for many late summer afternoons off a deserted black sand beach on the
south side of Vancouver Island. Eventually I spotted this guy in the
distance and I did my best to nail a couple of shots before it took off
for safer pastures.
For obvious reasons, few divers will accompany me if I
plan to dive this area. As well as being devoid of other notable marine
life it is also a good 20 minute kick from shore before you reach deep
enough water to start hunting for skates.
I'm planning on doing a whole lot more dives there in
September 2010. Wanna come?
Grey Nurse Shark 008
I arrived at Southwest Rocks in New South Wales a
couple of weeks after what was being labeled 'the storm of the decade'.
The waves were so big that a large tanker was rolling around on a beach
and flooding was reeking havoc on many coastal communities.
The water clarity around Fish
Rock was pretty grim. On some days there were A LOT of grey nurse sharks
vying for space in the shark gutters but the lack of viz made it
impossible to shoot the whole group. Even so, this little huddle gives
an idea of how many sharks there were floating around.
Lemon Shark 334
For the record, the only way to
get a shot like this is to dangle a fish right in front of the shark's
mouth. This is a shark that is trying to grab a scrap before the feeder
pulls it away. It is NOT a picture of a lemon shark attacking the
camera. At Tiger Beach the lemon sharks constantly weave between the
guests but unless a diver is actually holding a fish the sharks take
very little interest.
Coffin Ray 001
Among electric rays, Coffin rays
are in a class of their own. Almost devoid of swimming skills, they
carve out a living as ambush predators that disable passing fish by
discharging a high voltage electric pulse. Also called numb rays, they
can inflict a shock powerful enough leave an adult diver temporarily
incapacitated. Fortunately, they usually want nothing to do with people.
Blue Shark 111
Not all blue sharks are blue.
Some, like this 5ft female that I shot off the coast of Southern
California are very pale. Counter-shading is important among open ocean
sharks to help them hunt without being seen from below. So, animals that
lack pigment carry a serious disadvantage.
Shortfin Mako Shark 365
This has to be the beefiest looking mako that I've ever
shot. The shark's stubby appearance is really just the effect of it
turning right in front of my fisheye lens. This particular shark was
only about 6 or 7 feet long. As sharks mature to their full size (at
least twice this length in makos) they generally get proportionately
girthier in order to counteract their natural negative bouyancy. The
extra width is mostly taken up by liver which is filled with oil. The
oil is lighter than water so the sharks do not have to work so hard at
swimming in order to avoid sinking.
Lemon Shark 258
I wrote an article the other day
about how difficult it is to decide which destination has the very best
shark dive on the planet. It really depends on your interests but if
your primary goal is to find outstanding photography opportunities with
big predatory sharks then Tiger Beach will win hands down. I probably
have enough good pics from my last trip to create an entire year of
daily shark pictures. What other dive destinations can trump that?
Hammerhead Foetuses 001
This is the other side of
chasing rare sharks. A few years ago I went on an expedition to El
Salvador to try to track down the mallethead shark which is a type of
hammerhead that is rarely seen anymore. The trip was tough on many
levels. At one point I spent time in a remote fishing village on an
island named Tesajera. The local fishermen came home with a very large
hammerhead and cut these pups out of its uteri. The foetuses were
destined for cerviche (seafood salad). How do you tell people with very
little money that they shouldn't do what they've done for generations?
After a while I just went through the motions - don't think, just shoot.
Record what you can, smile and make friends. Nothing you can say will
help these sharks right now. The images are important and maybe on the
next trip when they trust you more you can start to discuss the issues.
Sandtiger Shark 024
I think I took this sandtiger
shark picture on the wreck of the Spar but not being a "wreck diver" the
big rusty metal boats tend to merge into one all encompassing shark
diving memory in my head. The shallow sand bars off the North Carolina
coast are very treacherous. The Outer Banks jut way out into the wild
Atlantic where immense storms can lift a boat high into the air and then
pull it back down and break its back on the sand. Many ships and sailors
have met their demise on the Diamond Shoals inadvertently providing
hundreds of micro-habitats that sandtigers eventually colonize.
Whale Shark 214
The white patch on this whale sharks lower lip
is comprised of many rows of tiny rasp-like teeth. The teeth are
vestigial and have no apparent value as feeding tools. Its possible that
whale sharks use them like Velcro to hold on with while mating.
Green Sawfish 058
I've never seen a sawfish in the
wild and that's not likely to change any time soon because sawfish are
on their way out. Their impressive rostrums which they use to slash into
schools of fish and possibly to uncover animals in the sand, are proving
to be their downfall. Sawfish regularly get tangled in discarded or lost
fishing nets where they die a slow death. When tangled in working nets,
the fishermen often cut off their saws in order to avoid injury while
trying to extricate them. It is illegal to collect the saws in most
countries but they still find their way onto the black market where they
end up in curio shops.
Tasseled Wobbegong 026
This is the first wobbegong I
ever saw. I had just enough time to dial in my exposure and nail
this shot before it took off for somewhere more peaceful. Six years on,
I have images of six species of wobbies on elasmodiver. Hopefully, I'll
continue to shoot one a year. Once I've shot the three new ones that
were recently described from Western Australia, I will have to head to
Japan to complete the set. Japan has a similar mix of tropical and
temperate zones so it is not surprising that wobbegongs managed to
settle there at some point.
Spotted Ratfish 016
Ghost sharks also known as
ratfish or chimeras are not true sharks but they do have a lot if
similarities and they may be descended from some of the early shark
prototypes. The males have claspers and just like male sharks. Unlike
sharks, they also have little Velcro covered appendage in the middle of
their forehead that they use to hold onto the female with.
Sandtiger Shark 057
Sandtigers are often used on the
covers of books because they look so ferocious. But not this guy. Who
could possibly be afraid of a goofy lovable sandtiger shark like this
Thorntail Stingray 007
This enormous thorntail stingray
was hanging around the beach waiting for scraps from the fish cleaning
table. It was approaching two meters wide and very friendly. While I was
composing this shot, its identical twin sister was slowly sucking my
foot into its mouth.
Cobbler Wobbegong 035
Its not surprising they're still
discovering wobbegong species in Australia. This 4ft long cobbler wobbie
is bright orange against a pink reef and its still really hard to see.
Spiny Dogfish 096
Spiny dogs have one of the longest gestations of any
living vertebrates. They can remain pregnant for more than two years
before their young are ready to be born. They also mature very slowly
and may not be ready to mate for 20 years. Fishermen say there are too
many dogfish on the eastern seaboard and they want the dogfish quotas
increased. Dogfish were so heavily fished on the west coast and in
European waters over the last few decades that they still haven't
bounced back so lets hope that any plans to deal with the latest dogfish
problem are drawn up by scientists that pay attention to history.
Tiger Shark 160
Shhhh! She's had a long day.
I guess I should point out that this is not a sleeping
tiger shark. I took this image right as the tiger pushed up against my
dome port and reflexively rolled her eye to protect it from harm. You
can just about see where her snout is flattened against the glass.
Sharks don't sleep in the same sense that we do but there is evidence to
suggest that they may 'switch off' while swimming slowly along. Cute pic
Lemon Shark 385
For the most part, lemon sharks are very careful,
intelligent creatures. To get this shot at Tiger Beach and many like it,
I was holding position about a meter under water right where the crew
were throwing in chunks of fish. The sharks constantly had to navigate
around me while accelerating at top speed in order to beat their
siblings to the bait. A lot of the time they were quite agitated,
bumping into and sliding over one another but they never once made
contact with me. It would have been easy to bowl me over but at some
fundamental level the sharks realized that they needed to avoid me. As
soon as I grabbed a piece of bait that all changed.
Chain Catshark 016
Chain catsharks live from about 250ft downwards. That
puts them in the category of 'tec sharks'. To shoot tec sharks you don't
need a submersible or an ROV but they're too deep to expect to see one
on a Sunday afternoon shore dive. Actually that's exactly what we did
but we took our own shark which is a whole other
Usually getting shots of sharks like this involves strapping on a set of
double tanks after completing a lengthy course in decompression theory
and then selling your car so that you can afford the helium or other
exotic gases that you need to visit tec depths. Now you begin to see why
there aren't many pics of tec sharks kicking around.
Great White Shark 227
These are the kind of conditions you get at Guadalupe
Island. If you're looking for opportunities to photograph or view great
white sharks up close (really close) in bottomless, sapphire blue water,
why would you go anywhere else? I sound like I'm selling tours but I
promise I'm not on commission. I just can't get over how perfect
Guadalupe is for shark shooters.
Porbeagle Shark 018This is the shark that changed my reason for being a
photographer. This image was used by the Shark Alliance and a number of
other lobbying groups to try to push through a CITIES proposal. It is
not the greatest shot but people wanted to use it because it was the
first really close up image of a porbeagle shark in the wild. Once I
realized how important it was to have images of endangered species, I decided to commit the bulk of my time to
photographing sharks that have never been shot before. For some species
there is an urgent need for images. Other species need to be recorded
'just in case'. This line of thinking ultimately led to the 2009
Shark Diving Tour and the Predators
in Peril Central American Expedition I have planned for
Tiger Shark 057
If you've ever wondered why you never see pictures of
beach chairs and sun umbrellas at Tiger Beach its because Tiger Beach
isn't a beach at all. It is a shallow sandy lump that rises to within
20ft of the surface about a 2 hour boat ride from West End.
2001 Jim Abernathy was chumming all over the Bahamas. He was looking for
the sharkiest place in the whole island chain to take divers to and he
soon realized that this
was the sweet spot for tiger shark encounters. Jim coined the name Tiger Beach
and the rest as they say is history.
Smooth Hammerhead Shark 007
This is one of the very few
smooth hammerhead shark pictures in existence. Too shy to approach
divers of their own volition, this animal was captured by longline
fishermen in La Paz, Baja California. La Paz Bay is devoid of reefs and
generally too murky to interest divers. However it is a nursery ground
for young smooth and scalloped hammerheads which made it worth the trip
to a remote fishing camp 20kms north of town even though I destroyed my
suspension in the process.
Whale Shark 075
This is a shot that everyone that
has tried to shoot whale sharks has in their portfolio. Invariably, when
you're snorkeling or diving with whale sharks you start in front of the
shark. Either the boat drops you off or you inadvertently intersect a
shark underwater. Either way, the shark keeps going while you
frantically kick to stay in position. Whale sharks don't particularly
enjoy having divers buzzing in front of their faces so they speed up
just enough to outpace you. Sometimes it happens in an instant and
sometimes you manage a valiant spurt of energy and spend five minutes or
more losing ground inch by inch. Inevitably, you end up avoiding
the tail and blown away by the sheer bulk and majesty of the animal you
turn and fire a parting shot of its enormous caudal fin then hang
prostrate in the water while your heart slowly quiets.
Great White Shark 234
Shark photography is like life.
The white sharks at Guadalupe can be challenging subjects even though
the water is generally crystal clear. Sometimes they like to keep their
distance which makes it hard to really bring out their contrasting
colors. Sometimes the boat swings and you spend all day with the sun in
your eyes or bubbles from the exhaust wreck every shot. My advice is the
same as it is for every other diving location. Stay in the water and
keep trying. If the sharks don't want to play or there is lots of wave
action or the light is in the wrong direction, you may not get the shot.
Sit on deck whining and I guarantee you wont. Nothing ventured; nothing
Atlantic sharpnose shark 050
This little Atlantic sharpnose shark is one of many
thousands that migrate into the Mississippi Sound each summer. The sound
is an inhospitable place with low oxygen levels, low salt levels and not
much food. There are also big bulls sharks and blacktips swimming around
that are very partial to sharpnose sharks. Even so, the sound is still a
much safer place for a 2 to 3 foot shark to hang out than the deep
sharky waters of the greater Gulf of Mexico. If I was reincarnated as a
shark I wouldn't want to be a sharpnose.
Bull Sharks 027
I got sucked into an argument on scubaboard the other
day. Some divers that had recently returned from Playa Del Carmen were
talking about how awesome it was being circled by bull sharks. There was
no one feeding the sharks and it was their opinion that 1, it wasn't
necessary and 2, anyone who did, was an irresponsible fool. I tried to
point out that the only reason that they had such a cool encounter was
that they were diving in an area where other dive operators feed sharks
every day. The sharks approach divers to see if they'll get fed. This
concept met with disbelief, they were happier to believe that the bull
sharks had circled them out of curiosity or because they naturally swim
around close to people. Funny that bull sharks only do that in Playa
where they get fed everyday. Some people are so anti shark feeding that
they just won't listen to reason.
Greenland Shark 114
This greenland shark picture reminds of the JAWS poster
but how could anyone be afraid of such a goofy looking shark? No offence
to puny little great whites but these guys are the largest predatory
sharks in the world and they sometimes swallow caribou.
Tiger Shark 315
I don't know my tigers. Some
people that visit Tiger Beach more regularly than me have names for
every tiger shark that swims by. There are some that are famous for
their gentle disposition and others that are partial to diver's cameras.
One named Emma even has her own fan page. They're all beautiful animals
and even if they are not really there to hang out with the monkeys, at
least they're amiable enough to let us take photos while they're looking
for a snack.
Blue Shark 040
This was one of the first blue sharks I ever saw. Still
one of my favorite pics.
Port Jackson Shark 004
Port Jackson sharks are members
of the bullhead shark family. The juveniles like the one in this image,
have a beautiful dark bridle over their head and shoulders which fades
as they mature. When they're young they hang out in the sea grass so the
counter shading works well. The adults live under ledges where darker,
drabber coloration makes more sense.
Common Angel Shark 010
This casual looking shot of Claire swimming next to a
common angel shark was actually a mad dash followed by a hypoxic bout of
breath holding while I snapped away before the shark sped up disappeared
over the horizon. If you look carefully you can see the rooster tail of
sand that she has kicked up behind her in order to get into position.
Its all about perception.
Great White Shark 208
So, there I was at Guadalupe
Island, hanging out of the cage as far as my umbilical would allow. I
was busy waiting for the money shot and I'm sad to say that the most
profitable shots are still the scary ones. The beauty and grace of
sharks are still somewhat lost on the general public.
While pursuing a hang bait, this
particular white shark finally swam straight towards the cage, mouth
gaping. I framed the shot hoping for the best and presto; another goofy
shot of a grinning white shark saying "Hey, let's play". The moral of
the story is that unless you get the perfect angle great white sharks
just aren't that scary but they're SO cute!
Spiny Dogfish 054
One of the most controversial shark species is the spiny
dogfish. A few years ago, researchers on the US east coast suggested
that female spiny dogfish were getting heavily over fished. Like many
sharks, dogfish segregate by sex for much of their time so it makes
sense that just the females could be depleted. Strict quotas for dogfish
were put in place to protect the remaining stocks but if fishermen can
be believed, this has led to a plague of male spiny dogfish which is
depleting other fish stocks. The fishermen say that the answer is to
cull the males but removing more sharks is a band aid solution at best.
This may be a radical view but a moratorium on all fishing on the east
coast until all the fish stocks find a natural balance is the only real
Banded Wobbegong 164
When I first started shooting wobbegongs I would sit in
front of them for many minutes getting just the right angle and playing
with exposures. Every now and then one would stretch its mouth wide
open. I thought it was the shark equivalent of a yawn until I learned
about threat displays. In retrospect I'm lucky one didn't latch onto my
head which was often only a few inches in front of its face.
Banded Wobbegong 039
This banded wobbie was shot at Fish Rock in New South
Wales. He was good enough to sit and pose while I took a whole slough of
images. He was there every day in the same spot patiently waiting for a
fish to wander into his strike zone.
Dead Pacific Sharpnose Sharks 004
In a twisted way, this is actually quite a good shot. A
solid blue border surrounding a well arranged heap of sharks. It reminds
me of a dark version of one of those still life paintings of fruit in a
bowl. Sitting on the panga while they hauled in their longlines was a
tough gig. 1400 hooks. Four km of lines. Seven tiny sharks. One empty
ocean. Not such a pretty picture. Support ocean conservation.
Bluntnose Sixgill Shark 001
This snapshot was the culmination of about 200 dives
around Vancouver Island. While my diving buddies happily snapped away at
nudibranchs, octos and rockfish, I floated around patiently with a wide
angle lens and no subject. On my last dive of the summer back in 2005 (I
think) I was diving on my own at 100ft when this guy swam up behind me.
I managed to fire 4 hurried shots before he descended back into the
black. I was ecstatic. I had finally encountered my first sixgill - it
was worth every freezing cold deco stop.
Lemon Shark 227
Today's shark pic goes out to all those people that added
their support to stop the lemon shark fishery in Florida State waters.
News quote: "The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)
on Thursday approved a series of rules to enhance its long-standing
policy to protect stressed shark populations in Florida waters"
One for the sharks. Well done everyone!
Blind Shark 023
Blind sharks are quite common along the east coast of
Australia. Normally they only forage at night but if you're lucky you
can occasionally find one hunting at dusk when there's still enough
light to snap a few pics. Contrary to what their name suggests, blind
sharks have impeccable vision but they have a habit of closing their
eyes when they are pulled from the water by fishermen. So would I.
Whale shark 106
The visibility wasn't great in
Holbox when I captured this whale shark image but the water was really
calm which allowed me to take advantage of the reflections. Vertical
whale shark images are hard to find which is probably why this one has
been published quite a few times.
Common Stingray 013
Its time to get you thinking about what a shark really
is. 200 million years ago sharks were busy filling every niche that they
could find. Possibly through selective reproduction (no offence meant to
other beliefs) some sharks got more and more streamlined and became the
fierce predators that we have today. Some developed spikes on their
fins, some grew enormous and learned how to sift plankton like the great
whales, others slowly flattened to adapt to a sedentary life on the sea
floor. Their gills moved under their disc shaped torsos, their spiracles
grew bigger to help pump water over their gills while they were laying
on the sand, and some of their dermal denticles lengthened into
defensive tail stings.
Strangely, some narrowminded taxonomists decided that
they were so specialized that they could not be considered sharks
anymore but if you think about it, that's ridiculous. This cute little
common stingray is one of about 1200 species of sharks and they all need
protecting, not just the ones with big teeth.
Blue Shark 435
Blue sharks have an iridescent quality to their skin that
mesmerizes me whenever I'm around them. I wish I could show you the hi
res image without all the graininess. Early next year I am planning to
have an exhibition of my favorite shark images somewhere in the Pacific
North West. This will be one of the archival prints.
Banded Wobbegong 003
Its easy to see how wobbies can
be mistaken for rocks. This banded wobbegong may look pretty conspicuous
resting on grey sand but if you're not paying attention it soon becomes
just another boulder. And if you're a small fish that hasn't figured out
that some rocks have teeth, then life can be... short.
Gulf Smoothhound Shark 008
This image was taken next to an
oil rig right at the edge of the continental shelf while I was on a week
long expedition aboard a commercial fishing boat in the Gulf of Mexico.
Initially I thought that it was a dusky smoothhound which is hard to
photograph but common along the eastern seaboard. I sent the pics to a
smoothhound expert after the shark tour and she told me that it was
definitely a Gulf of Mexico Smoothhound which is only found in two small
pockets in the northern gulf. I was thrilled. One more never before
photographed shark for Elasmodiver!
Blue Shark 269
This was a very bold blue shark. He was only about 5ft
long but he was happy to swim straight up to me and nose my dome port.
In this picture his snout is about an inch in front of my camera which
is why it looks like his head is so enormous compared to the rest of his
Tassled Wobbegong 007
This is one of the first tassled
wobbegongs I ever saw. It was under the navy pier at Exmouth in Western
Australia with many others. Interestingly, at the time, Exmouth was
beyond the known range of the tassled wobby so when I showed this image
to the late Aiden Martin, he decided to write a paper about it. Sadly,
Aiden passed away unexpectedly before the paper was written which was a
big loss for science, sharks and all his friends like me. This image
once ended up on a set of playing cards. Wobbegongs are still my all
time favorite sharks.
CALIFORNIA SWELL SHARK 016
This is a popular swell shark
image that has appeared in a couple of books. I took it at Refugio Beach
near Santa Barbara. I know that sharks have tough denticle covered skin
but when I look at this little guy I wonder how he can possibly be
comfortable perched on a bed of urchins.
SHORTFIN MAKO SHARK 352
This is a picture of a mako and
me. It was shot mostly with natural light with the sun behind me. You
can clearly see the shadow of my camera housing and strobes draped
across the mako's body.
Common Angel Shark 014
I followed this common angel
shark around for about an hour before it would relax enough to let me
snap an image from straight in front of it's mouth. This was shot on a
very productive week in the Canary Islands. FYI, common angel shark's
are anything but common these days. They have been almost completely
eradicated from the North Sea by shrimp and other trawlers.
White Shark 210
This is my favorite Great White
Shark picture from our trip to Guadalupe Island with Great White
Adventures this summer. You may think its pretty easy to get close up
shots of a great white shark when you're hiding in a cage. If you want
to see a really cool customer, check out the sea lion casually swimming
around in the background!