Leopard Shark & Cherie

30-Mar-2011 Back to Image Gallery

Leopard Shark & Cherie

Leopard sharks are the most graceful and harmless sharks in the sea. Although their distribution is the world’s tropical zones there are only a small number of locations they can be reliably encountered in large numbers. One of these dive sites is North Stradbroke Island were they congregate in summer, possibly to mate. During winter they migrate north to the Great Barrier Reef and disperse. Armed with this information I organised an expedition to North Stradbroke to capture images of this beautiful animal. I allowed two weeks as I wanted to ensure I had time to deal with all the variables that apply to marine life photography. These include variable wind and sea conditions, visibility, currents, weather conditions and the fact that large marine animals appear on their own timetable not ours. Allowing enough time was the key to success in getting my Leopard Shark pictures as we were subjected to all of the above variables during our time there.

Photo Data: Location: Manta Bommie, North Stradbroke Island, Queensland, Australia. Genre: Wide Angle Sunlight & Strobes. Photo Data: Nikon D200, Nikkor 12 – 24 Zoom lens, Seacam Housing & Dual Seacam Strobes, ISO 100, Manual Exposure Mode. Exposure f11 @ 1/60th second. Image by Kevin Deacon.

Photo Hints: Shoot some trial sunlight exposures that render the water column a nice blue. Then adjust your strobe power settings by shooting a test subject at a similar strobe to subject distance as your intended subject. If you are familiar with your strobe performance you are probably already aware of the correct power settings. Only then should you move carefully into position and minimize your movements while close as you do not want to disturb the shark. Do not approach the animal head on or directly side on, instead move up alongside on a diagonal approach from the rear while staying more or less parallel to the animal. This will be interpreted as a less aggressive approach by most marine animals

Interesting Facts: Leopard Shark, Stegastoma fasciatum, average size is 2.35 meters; the tail is one third of the shark’s length. Baby leopard sharks are zebra patterned hence the other common name of Zebra shark. I have never seen a baby leopard shark in the wild or any images of them other than aquarium shots.

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