Big Animals – Ragged Tooth Sharks, USA
Lovingly nicknamed “raggies,” the ragged tooth shark, or sand tiger, will make any photographer’s day with a shot of their many rows of fang-like teeth. Raggies take part in an annual migration covering over 600 miles. They mate in warmer northern waters, moving briefly even further north during the summer months and then returning to their nursing grounds in cooler waters in the south.
NORTH CAROLINA, USA
During the summer months, divers flock to North Carolina for the opportunity to dive countless wrecks. However, it’s what’s inside those wrecks that brings big animal photographers: dozens of sand tiger sharks.
When to Dive
Ragged tooth sharks can be seen all year round but the summer months are best.
Another reliable destination for Ragged Tooth Sharks in Australia’s Byron Bay. Located on the east coast of the country, Byron Bay regularly features dozens of these sharks along with manta rays, and leopard sharks. Go with Byron Bay Dive Centre or Sun Dive.
Do not swim after the sharks to get your photos. Wait patiently for them to swim to you, or swim slowly and steadily at an angle aimed ahead of them to intercept. Relax, breathe easy, be calm, minimize motion and do not make sudden movements with arms or feet. Getting close will be difficult if you do.
Do not touch the sharks. They may be lethargic and in a trance like-state, but will come to life quickly and dart from the area in a split second if you startle them.
Wrecks make excellent backdrops for your shark photos. Get the shark between you and the wreck in your viewfinder. Find where the sharks are loitering, compose your shot using an interesting part of the wreck as a background, and hope one (or more) will swim into your scene. This approach doesn’t always work, but when it does, your efforts will result in compelling images.
Be patient! Book as many days of diving as you can. Your first or second attempt diving North Carolina wrecks might not yield great sand tiger shots due to adverse weather, poor dive conditions or poor shark numbers. But persistence will pay off in the end.—Mike Gerken
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