Wet Life / 08 September, 2013
Rhythm of the Blues
Blue sharks | Fast & elegant swimmers
For me, photographing blue sharks was a dream come true. It involved a special trip to Faial Island in the Azores, and then a two-week wait for a sunny day with water clear enough to photograph the sharks. The location was several kilometres off the coast, as it was where shark-migration researchers had submerged a container of bait, but it was still a photographic gamble. Blue sharks travel vast distances – commonly up to 3,000km (1,700 miles) – utilizing major current systems, such as the Gulf Stream, to undertake their clockwise transatlantic migrations. They are also the most heavily fished sharks, with an unsustainable annual catch estimated at 20 million (mostly as longline and driftnet fishery bycatch), their fins being sold to the Asian market. I especially wanted a view looking down on them, to illustrate the beautiful, sinuous movement that characterizes their elegant swimming style. The water clarity was perfect, but I had no point of reference, and while waiting for sharks to pass beneath him, it was a struggle to maintain his position and depth against the strong currents. Finally, two blues swam gracefully past, pilot fish in attendance, just 8 metres (26 feet) below, presenting him with the composition I had been waiting for.
Highly Commended. Underwater category. WPY 2015 - Wildlife Photographer of the Year.