A rare shot of seven basking sharks in one frame, west coast of Ireland
As an editor who is constantly on the lookout for new talent, it is always a pleasure to discover underwater photographers whose portfolios contain excellent images of less well-known dive destinations and subjects. Sometimes, it takes time to showcase the best of a particular region, but by diving repeatedly at the same spot for many years, you will eventually end up with an awesome collection of shots just like our latest Photographer of the Week, Nigel Motyer.
Nigel lives in Dublin, Ireland, and has been diving there since the 1980s. Although not as famous or popular as other more tropical destinations, Ireland clearly has a lot to offer, including some special big animals and a surprising number of macro subjects and colorful reefs.
The water is cold and the visibility is not always great due to large plankton blooms, but this is what drives the biodiversity and brings in seasonal visitors such as the rare and elusive basking shark. At the right time of year, there is nowhere better to swim with these gentle giants, and I have certainly never seen an image with seven of them in one frame like the one Nigel managed to capture above.
As you would expect for someone who has been diving for more than 30 years, Nigel has also traveled extensively and has visited many iconic dive destinations, including the Galápagos Islands, Cocos Island in Costa Rica, the Azores and the Bahamas. All of these destinations are famous for their abundant shark populations and he has plenty of pictures to prove it, but his most memorable underwater encounter was swimming with orcas in Norway, an experience he recalled as “two weeks of freezing my ass off for 30 seconds of pure magic”!
By combining seasonal trips abroad with regularly diving in Ireland, he has put together an impressive portfolio of images that includes both cold- and warm-water subjects and a good variety of big animal photography and macro work. I particularly like his images of gray seals and the scenic split shot of a starfish in a lake. The next time I’m back in England, I’ll be hopping across the channel and joining Nigel for a dive or two.
A firework anemone, Kilkeran Bay, Ireland
An American crocodile, Gardens of the Queen, Cuba
A slow sync shot of a silky shark, Gardens of the Queen, Cuba
Gray seal split shot, Dublin Bay, Ireland
Male cuckoo wrasse, Inishboffin, Ireland
The face of a painted goby, western Ireland
Mating Sepiola squid, Aran Islands, Ireland
Scalloped hammerhead sharks, Cocos Island, Costa Rica
Gray seal, Dublin Bay, Ireland
A starfish in the salt lake, Clifden, Ireland
A silky shark under a golden sunset, Gardens of the Queen, Cuba
A great hammerhead, Bahamas
A goby eyes its next meal, Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Nigel on a shoot in northern Norway
For more of Nigel’s impressive images, be sure to follow his work on Instagram.