Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Weak Weekend Saved by Sharks

This is why we came to Oahu!! Unfortunately the conditions for waves were poor. High winds knocked most of them over before a shot could be taken. We spent many days in the water with few successful wave photos taken.

We even tried to shoot multiple locations each day. I was lucky and able to pull a few shots from pounders in between wind gusts and clouds.

Saving the whole trip was our buddy Juan Oliphant, who had inited us to shoot sharks with him. We were stoked as long as we didn't have to be in a cage. Juan did not disappoint we got some great shots, no cage involved. Juan has an amazing portfolio and has shot sharks for years. I would love to have been in the water with half as many sharks as him. Check his site here: www.waterinspired.com. Juan is an amazing photographer and doesn't truly know it yet. He shoots for the love of it and does weddings to pay the bills.

Below you will see the empty cage and a few images of us photographing. We were in the water with upwards of 20 Galapagos sharks, one silky shark and a rare pelagic black tip shark.

It was a fantastic time in the water the only thing that could have made it better would have been a tiger shark. I  put together a short video of our hour or so in the water. The video was from my go-pro mounted on top of Nicks camera. Due to the number of sharks we were constantly spinning circles to see what was coming up behind us. The uncut video was dizzying I spent hours on the computer making a 15 minute video. I know now why I shoot stills I hate being in front of a computer for that long. You can watch the video here:

The number of sharks made for great shooting. Many of them would come within inches of me, making for amazing shots.

So yes our photographic weekend was saved by sharks. My thanks go out to Juan for the invite and hook up. It was a pleasure shooting with him and I can't wait to do it again.

Day with Aussies

What a fantastic day!! Had a photography workshop of the underwater kind. It's not to often that I get do underwater photography work shops. Not too many people travel here with a full underwater photography set up. Leave it to the Aussies! David and Melanie did travel all the way from Australia packing gear. After a disappointing few days in the water they met up with me and we changed all that.

First we got in with this amazing spotted eagle ray. Trying to see dolphins at this spot didn't go to plan but we were rewarded with this ray and our next spot was the winner for dolphins.

I'm sure David got some great shots. The dolphins were totally checking him out.

After dolphins we headed to see turtles. The turtles were amazing as usual. David and Melanie Both were great in the water and were greeted by many turtles. Many opportunities to take epic turtle photos.

I even got a few gems. 

Finally a quick check to see turtles on the beach and we called it a day. What a fantastic workshop. Anytime I get great photos on a workshop it a good one. I had a lot of fun with David and Melanie and hope to see them again soon.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Playing with sharks

Had a great day on the water first with dolphins then with the sharks. Above is a photo taken by Don Hurzeler of me surrounded by oceanic white tip sharks and a few pilot whales. These were all taken off of China Mikes trip Sunlight on water. First off as usual we started off in the water with Hawaiian spinner dolphins.

The dolphins were very active and swam by in large groups quickly and then they would come back for pass after pass. There seemed to be about 20 groups in the pod that would swim by at different times.

Don and Linda both got some great shots of there own and even the crew was enjoying themselves playing with these beautiful mammals. 

After a great swim with the dolphins we headed out to sea looking for pilot whales. Mike always aims to please and impress and he never seems to let us down.  On the way out I spoke with mike about how I like to get in at the back of pods of pilot whales rater then the front or middle as pilot whales are always followed by oceanic white tip sharks. I like to photograph these sharks because on most occasions in the water I am shooting very wide angle so I can get close. The further away a subject is underwater the more red is absorbed out of the color spectrum of light and the subject then turns blue. With oceanic white tips they may not be as big as a tiger shark but they are more prone to rush at a human then swim away. Sometimes this is curiosity and sometimes it is aggression but it always makes for a good close photo. We didn't see any until the trip back when off in the distance I spotted them and Mike sure enough let me off right at the back and as always there were many oceanic white tips. 

It seemed every where I looked there was a shark. Final count was either 5 or 6 sharks. I had to keep my head on a swivel as they always try to approach when and where your not looking. The close shot above was taken as I felt the pressure wave off this shark as he tried to bump me. I turned just in time to put my camera between the shark and I and have him ver off so I could snap this shot. The neat thing was everyone got in the water as it was a more experienced group and even the inexperienced were guests of the experienced. Everyone stayed by the boat as instructed. I was the only one off in the distance other then Don who followed me until he realized just how far from the boat he was and just how many sharks there were. Don later joined the group by the boat putting the deckhand Gabe between themselves and the sharks.

Above you can see the group by the boat and the sharks between us. In the bottom photo you can see Mike's deckhand Gabe defending the group as a shark neared them. What a great day on and in the water my thanks as always go out to China Mike and Sunlight on water. Below is my favorite shot of the day and probably the best photo I have ever taken of a Oceanic white tip shark. Thanks Mike!!