I was in the cage on the second day of a five night liveaboard trip to see great white sharks in Guadalupe island (Mexico) onboard the Solmar V.
The boat was anchored at the Northeast side of the island, protected from the trade winds and where a lot of sharks gather between August and November. Huge sea elephants and the numerous colonies of sea lions resting on the rocks remind us why there are so many sharks around this island.
I had been in the stern cage for 3 hours, and was enjoying every single minute admiring these powerful sharks. Late in the afternoon the light was changing quickly and just before the sun sets behind the island there are a few precious minutes of beautiful sunbeams glimmering through the calm and clear surface. Everybody else in my group had enough shark time for the day and was getting ready for a panga (dingy) ride along the coast.
All day long the friendly crew of the Solmar V had been taking care of the bait to lure the sharks closer to our cameras. The purpose of the bait is not to feed the sharks, but to keep them interested and around the boat. When a shark gets closer to the bait, it is pulled away and the shark gets closer to the cage, and hence the lens, producing the most intense moments for the photographers. The skill and patience of the crew to get the sharks close to your camera is essential to obtain good shots. And I can say the Solmar V crew are very skillful and know how to create the ideal conditions for your perfect shot.
The large female sharks had already retired for the day and there was only one young very active male around. Sometimes it would disappear for some minutes and left me wondering if it was time to call it a day. However I had to be ready for the unexpected and adjusting the camera settings for the changing light. The youngster showed up one more time at the right moment and this time it came closer than usual letting me capture this graceful portrait.
It was time for hot chocolate and quesadillas.
Equipment Used: I used a Nikon D7000 camera in a Nauticam housing. I chose a 12-24mm lens set at 12mm. F6.3, 1/400 sec. ISO 200 and two Inon S2000 strobes triggered by Glowdive microflash.
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