Behind the Lens
Were you scared to be in the path of a 30-foot whale shark?
Fear is a good thing when working with wild animals. Whale sharks aren’t harmful to people. The worst thing is you might get bumped by one, but it’s not like a bluefin tuna swimming like a torpedo at 60 miles an hour. This thing is moving very slow and steady, kind of just mowing the grass, so my only concern was that I would bump it and somehow bother it.
What’s unusual about this picture?
Sharks are near and dear to my heart, and this is a view that many people don’t get to see. I saw behavior in this area I’d never seen before: several hundred whale sharks all feeding right at the surface of the water. It blew me away. It’s pretty rare to see more than one animal at a time.
Wouldn’t it have been safer to use a telephoto lens?
Underwater photographers don’t always have the luxury of using them. We have to get very close to our subjects to capture color and details because the water refracts and scatters light. I never cease to be amazed how these animals allow us into their worlds.