Underwater…and under scrutiny

September 18th, 2008

I photographed this beautiful female tiger shark on Wednesday.


One of the most beautiful creatures on the planet.  Taken with a Lumix TZ5 and an underwater housing.

One of the most beautiful creatures on the planet. Taken with a Lumix TZ5 and an underwater housing.

I wanted to shed some positive light on these magnificent animals despite all of the media coverage and scrutiny in lieu of the recent shark attack and even more recent sightings.  This photograph, with one of the boat’s propellers framing the dorsal fin, represents the relationship between humans and shark.  The dorsal fin has been a symbol synonymous with fear and terror, and I feel this picture acknowledges and disintegrates that.  Sharks, like any other top predators, have been doing what they do for millions of years.  When we enter the ocean, we enter their world, and they are in control.  

Before photojournalism, I was initially going to become an ichthyologist–the study of fish–with an emphasis on sharks, so it’s actually a privilege for me to be able to photograph a shark in the wild.

7 Responses to “Underwater…and under scrutiny”

  1. Kent:

    i agree with you man. hurrya shark week on discovery. they should make it shark month! LOL

    nice photo. love the blue.

  2. Andy:

    Beautiful image. I’ve always loved the markings on the tiger sharks. Like you, I’m puzzled why people freak out about sharks in the ocean. That’s equivalent to walking into someone else’s house and posting warnings because there were… (gasp) PEOPLE inside!

    Is the vignetting in the photo because of the underwater housing?

  3. jammaquino:

    Thanks Andy for your kind words and mutual admiration for sharks. As for the vignetting, yes, the housing vignettes when I’m pulled back all the way wide for some reason, even though it’s only a 28mm equivalent. I don’t tone my images much, if at all. Just a minor exposure adjustment in Photoshop curves if needed. There’s already enough controversy surrounding the validity of images and image manipulation that I would gladly stay away from. The vignette makes for a neat effect, I guess, but wouldn’t be good if the subject were to fill the whole frame.

  4. Andy:

    It’s definitely a cool shot. The boat, surface, and rays of light (as well as the vignetting) help to make it real for me. If it was just the tiger on a blue background it would have a very… “clinical” look to it. I’m not sure if I chose the right word there, but it wouldn’t seem as real to me.

    Thanks for taking up the Photo Blog torch for us. It takes guts to post your photos (and exif data) for the armchair quarterbacks to dissect. Thankfully we seem to have a pretty appreciative bunch here. :)


  5. Freddy:

    Lovely photo of an amazing beastie.

  6. patrick Ching:

    My Friend,
    I love this picture. I am a wildlife artist and former ranger on the Northest islands. I was in with tigers often as they ate albatross on East Island and I love them. Would you be interested in allowing me to paint a shark inspired from one of your photos? I want to paint a nice tiger shark.
    Patrick Ching

  7. jammaquino:

    Hey Patrick,
    By all means, I’d be honored! I’m quite jealous you got to observe the tiger sharks in the NE islands. Laysan? I know they come right up to the shore to grab the fledgling albatrosses. Thanks for checking out my blog. I think I’ve photographed you a few years ago at your studio in Waimanalo (if you’re the same Patrick Ching writing this, that is). Aloha!

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