ryansnodgrass
ryansnodgrass

Blacktips - Breaking Formation



We were diving with blacktip reef sharks in Bora Bora on our honeymoon. Was trying out a new housing I had constructed for my Sony SLT A65... I think it works....
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We were diving with blacktip reef sharks in Bora Bora on our honeymoon. Was trying out a new housing I had constructed for my Sony SLT A65... I think it works.
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24 Comments | Report
njkerosky Ultimate
 
njkerosky February 11, 2015
Incredible Capture!!!...Congrats!
ryansnodgrass
ryansnodgrass February 22, 2015
Thanks! You can't always tell in that situation what kind of shots you have until you get home. It was like a second Christmas.
ryansnodgrass
 
ryansnodgrass June 26, 2015
Wow, featured on the cover... if that's not fun to wake up to I don't know what is!
Remraf
 
Remraf June 26, 2015
Great shot!
doinarussu
 
doinarussu June 26, 2015
compliments!! excellent phototure!
sweetpea72
 
sweetpea72 June 26, 2015
incredible shot..Congrats! (:
tetvet PRO+
 
tetvet June 26, 2015
nice shot, hope you were in a cage. nice grouping and detail, congrats
ryansnodgrass
ryansnodgrass June 26, 2015
Nope, these were only about five footers so they weren't too interested in me... which is good because they're about 2' away in this photo!
rosannaeve
 
rosannaeve June 26, 2015
wow amazing!!!
chuckrickman
 
chuckrickman June 26, 2015
Awesome capture. Congrats on being featured.
AWAAphotos
 
AWAAphotos June 26, 2015
Amazing shot. Love it!
ryansnodgrass
 
ryansnodgrass June 26, 2015
Thank you everyone, made my week!
wendelldominey
 
wendelldominey June 26, 2015
awesome
Ange28
 
Ange28 June 26, 2015
Brilliant shot, crispy clear !
bartwebb
 
bartwebb June 26, 2015
Wow the water is so clear!!love it...
bugsysposy
 
bugsysposy July 03, 2015
Protecting their young . Great shot , stay safe now .
magicframes
 
magicframes July 10, 2015
Beautiful????
latebloomer
 
latebloomer August 04, 2015
this is just awesome
ryansnodgrass
ryansnodgrass August 04, 2015
Much appreciated!
Firenze_1 Ultimate
 
Firenze_1 August 14, 2015
Both stunning and gorgeous phototure : you are my first "peer reward" , i am new on viewbug ^^
ryansnodgrass
ryansnodgrass August 14, 2015
Heck ya and welcome!
suzannesingleton
 
suzannesingleton September 14, 2015
Glorious photo, so clear, so vibrant. What a thrill, and you have captured it so well. Nice one.
ryansnodgrass
ryansnodgrass November 05, 2015
Thanks Suzanne, it was thrilling... as if a shark wasn't enough the zoom effect from my mask really adds to it!
Merbert
 
Merbert September 02, 2016
Great shot!
Good to see that they are still around.
Well taken.
Norbert
Photo-Shelly
 
Photo-Shelly October 19, 2016
Incredibly beautiful!
ryansnodgrass
ryansnodgrass October 19, 2016
Thank you Robin.
cjalessandro
 
cjalessandro March 26, 2017
beautiful!
ryansnodgrass
ryansnodgrass June 08, 2017
CJ thanks for your feedback!
clarababobabo
 
clarababobabo August 06, 2017
Estes não têm fome ? ?
ryansnodgrass
ryansnodgrass March 07, 2018
They're always looking for something to eat but are small... only ~5' long.
susieboard
 
susieboard November 07, 2020
wow!
Chefmedsaid Platinum
 
Chefmedsaid August 26, 2021
AWESOME !

Behind The Lens

Location
Bora Bora on a fantastic day in the lagoon area between the center peak of the island and the outer rim. We were surrounded by about 25-30 female blacktip reef sharks. Each one is about 5' in length. My favorite part is how they peel out from the center and only the two main subjects are looking my way. It happened so fast you'd never catch it in real life.
Time
This was taken late morning on the verge of lunch time with sun high in the sky which can be a blessing and a curse.
Lighting
The lighting on days like this is feast or famine. Normally when diving you're either facing at the sun with strobes or away from it and if you're shallow you are facing down not horizontal. This makes it easier to control the lighting but at the surface with the sun overhead the ripples of light haphazardly dance across your sensor and can easily mess up a shot. A twitchy trigger finger can go a long way in making sure you get one where the sensor isn't being blinded. The payoff is nothing short of spectacular lines and great movement!
Equipment
I was using a modified Ikelite housing, a Sony a65, and a shaved down Sigma 10-20mm, constant aperture, wide angle, rectilinear lens. That is a mouth full... I had to shave it down to fit inside the port and having a constant aperture underwater is really nice. Everything is low light and having the artificial color of a strobe isn't always what you want. The housing was modified so the zoom ring would work. Oh and I had on a weight belt to hold me down.
Inspiration
I absolutely love sharks and unfortunately they can be very hard to find anymore. I dove in the Philippines for two weeks and didn't see one because the local population had all been killed. What's amazing is that they remind me of cats. When they are happy they gracefully cruse along like cat's slowly waving tail. However, when they get worked up or irritated by you they arch their back and start whipping their tails or twitching. Once you know how to read them there are many species which are a joy to see up close and personal... close enough to watch them look you up and down!
Editing
I'm quite proud of this photo because post processing is practically a requirement in underwater photography and I only slightly touched up the color to look like it did in person. It's vivid because it was vivid! I only regret not cropping it so it would show better online.
In my camera bag
I almost never bring anything on the boat that isn't going down with me because it's too risky (for me) opening up the housing and letting in moisture that could damage equipment or fog the lens. Back on land I have a waterproof sd card holder, spare o-rings, and lots of silica packs... everything else is pretty standard.
Feedback
Get close, then get closer! I was only about 4' from the closest shark and should have been 2' away. When there is less water between you and the subject there is less chance for particles being in the way. Unlike normal photography you really have to plan what environment you're going to shoot before the dive. This is because it's harder to change settings underwater and by then you've missed the shot or your group left. Having everything set before a dive and only adjusting the aperture as a way to control how bright a background is, is a good place to start. I often will adjust my stobe power as well to change the foreground. Everything else (iso/shutter speed) is on lock down. For reference think twilight photography as a starting point for anything 30' or deeper when picking iso and shutter speed. Underwater setups are not very customizable and often companies have only fine tuned a hand full of options (which still may not be what's best). As a result try to work the problem backwards starting with the style of lens and then find which body, housing, port, lens combo others are using and copy it. The risk doing it of something that's not standard is more blurring on the edges. Wide angle lenses are my favorite because you can still take ok close ups but be able to back up for a big shot. Also the distortion you see above the water isn't noticeable underwater (except fisheye) because your eye doesn't know what it's supposed to look like anyway.

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