Shark Pictures   Leave a comment

I am back from the last official SDM shark photography trip of 2006. Last week in the Bahamas we were surrounded by big Tiger Sharks and hungry Lemon Sharks. On one day we actually had five different species of sharks show up including a Great Hammerhead. They were attracted by the scent of blood in our chum slick that had drifted many kilometers down current. Now, back in BC with no concrete plans to go after more sharks, I have a major case of SDW (shark diving withdrawal).

Eli (the editor of Shark Diver Magazine) is busy cherry picking through all the shark pictures from this year’s adventures to decide which shark images will be used for feature stories in upcoming issues of SDM, which will be stored as stock images to illustrate unforeseen future articles, and which pictures will be filed away on CD until the writing becomes illegible and Eli’s kids use them as Frisbees.

With no more shark dives to look forward to until next year, I am faced with the laborious task of formatting all of this year’s shark pictures ready for submission to the various agencies that want them. It’s a slow and arduous process. Firstly, I have to be ruthlessly honest about which images to delete completely and which to keep and submit. Then its time to fire up Photoshop and remove any blemishes or offensive backscatter from the shark pictures that I like. It’s easy to get carried away in Photoshop. Remove a few grains of particulate here and there, maybe get rid of that diver’s arm that is messing up the composition, change the tone to make the colors a bit warmer, delete those overexposed fish, bring out the contrast a little, remove that bait crate, and before you know it, an action filled shark picture becomes a sterile composition. I’d like to be able to say that I don’t Photoshop my images but I’m as guilty as most other digital photographers.

Next comes the digital labeling, copyrighting, and reformatting to pander to each agency’s specifications. I find this job really grueling and it takes forever.

Finally the files get burned to disc and mailed away.

Then, critical eyes at the various agencies go through the same process of selecting, storing, and deleting pictures, depending on their preferences and needs until my year’s adventures and memories are reduced to a manila envelope of shark images stored on each agency’s super computer. It’s a funny job.

Then, if I’m lucky, sometime next year I’ll be leafing through a fish book and I’ll see one of my forgotten shark pictures staring back at me and I’ll get a big smile on my face. It’s pretty cool getting published but also, when I see a shark that I photographed, swimming across the page, I’m transported back to the adventure and reliving the moment helps me survive my shark diving withdrawal until the next chance I have to get back in the water with the sharks.

For the sharks

Andy Murch

Andy Murch is the staff photographer at Shark Diver Magazine and the creator of the Elasmodiver Shark and Ray Field Guide which contains Shark Pictures from around the world.

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Posted November 22, 2006 by Andy Murch in Nature, Photography, Sharks, Uncategorized

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