MattMcGee PRO
MattMcGee

great hammerhead shark



Great hammerhead shark in Bimini, Bahamas. These sharks are pretty much solitary, but for some reason the congregate around Bimini in the winter months....
Read more

Great hammerhead shark in Bimini, Bahamas. These sharks are pretty much solitary, but for some reason the congregate around Bimini in the winter months.
Read less

Views

3762

Likes

Awards

Contest Finalist in Picturing Aquatic Animals Photo Contest
Contest Finalist in Animals In The Wild Photo Contest
Contest Finalist in Endangered Species Photo Contest
Contest Finalist in Colossal Wildlife Photo Contest
People's Choice in The Animal Eye Photo Contest vol1
Winner in Sharks Photo Challenge
Contest Finalist in The Animal Eye Photo Contest vol1
Featured
Contest Finalist in Underwater Games Photo Contest
  View more
Peer Award
Cade1 arcrem franklinabbott Macpwm TrueHeartedGirl janerikengan joybello +1k
Absolute Masterpiece
andjelaborovcanin A_elizabeth christiantriffitt davepiel citystarsanddust Karl-Heinz Devanpayne +35
Top Choice
nesner laurieleigh_0232 Cinderprints mrmacca BLAKSTEEL geoffreynash Sangeethapiratheep08 +35
Superb Composition
basemwest aleksandradynas JanHrischenko wideopenspaces hammertool richadave michaelevans +32
Magnificent Capture
pamelamoresby FrancoisHorne philipdrispin Vernie Free-Spirit jasonzinsmayer UPbyVeronica +29
Superior Skill
mcasella NejcDraganjec minjejo iwangroot myerscreativephotography visualambassador sskyrm +4
Outstanding Creativity
alk_minie Vitaliy_SN ronkline Jdmccranie marietataneva ChrisHPhotos provatkumarmukherjee +4
All Star
barbarabrock jamesjohnston_3471 estercastillo08 johannesoehl shawnmurphy_7890 SandyPictures mosheharboun
Virtuoso
lorraineevanoff RobynC

Emotions

Impressed
tommylightfoot freelancejim EuroBen janapretorius mcampi dantaylor_3680 sterretje +4
Happy
sharingabl

Top ClassTM

Tracking Wildlife Photo ContestTop 20 class
Tracking Wildlife Photo ContestTop 20 class week 1
Discover The Wildlife Photo ContestTop 10 class
The Animal Planet Photo ContestTop 10 class
Color Explorer Photo ContestTop 10 class
Color Explorer Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Picturing Aquatic Animals Photo ContestTop 10 class
Picturing Aquatic Animals Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Animals In The Wild Photo ContestTop 10 class
Animals In The Wild Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Endangered Species Photo ContestTop 20 class
Endangered Species Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Colossal Wildlife Photo ContestTop 10 class
Colossal Wildlife Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Wildlife And Water Photo ContestTop 10 class
Wildlife Photo Contest 2018Top 10 class
Wildlife Photo Contest 2018Top 10 class week 1
The Animal Eye Photo Contest vol1Top 30 class
The Animal Eye Photo Contest vol1Top 20 class week 1
Underwater Games Photo ContestTop 20 class
Underwater Games Photo ContestTop 20 class week 3
Underwater Games Photo ContestTop 20 class week 2
Underwater Games Photo ContestTop 30 class week 1
Evocative Wildlife Photo ContestTop 20 class
Evocative Wildlife Photo ContestTop 20 class week 3
Evocative Wildlife Photo ContestTop 20 class week 2
Evocative Wildlife Photo ContestTop 20 class week 1
Wildlife In Remote Places Photo ContestTop 20 class
Wildlife In Remote Places Photo ContestTop 20 class week 2
Below My Knees Photo ContestTop 20 class
Below My Knees Photo ContestTop 30 class week 3
Freshmen 2016 Photo ContestTop 20 class
Deep Blue Photo ContestTop 10 class
Deep Blue Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Below My Knees Photo ContestTop 30 class week 1
9 Comments | Report
dmitriyfd
 
dmitriyfd October 30, 2016
Such a cutie :) Well done!
MattMcGee PRO
MattMcGee October 30, 2016
Thanks! So much fun diving with these sharks...
FredericMONIN PRO+
 
FredericMONIN March 09, 2017
Great capture !!!! Whowww ...
dougplume PRO+
 
dougplume April 17, 2017
My dream to dive with these amazing creatures
Alwolfe Premium
 
Alwolfe October 04, 2017
Awesome capture!
sskyrm Platinum
 
sskyrm April 22, 2018
Beautiful photo! Congratulations!
texaaronpueschel PRO+
 
texaaronpueschel April 25, 2018
Outstanding. A majestic shot of beautiful fish.
bartlandersen
 
bartlandersen May 09, 2018
Yikes!!! That's a Scary/cool capture!!!
JM18Photography PRO+
 
JM18Photography May 09, 2018
Congratulations!
MaryAnne306 Platinum
 
MaryAnne306 May 15, 2018
Fabulous photo. Congratulations on all your awards and thank you for the tutorial.

Behind The Lens

Location
This photo was taken off Bimini Island in the Bahamas. Great hammerhead sharks are usually solitary animals, but they congregate around Bimini in winter and early spring, and I believe it's the only place in the world that this species of hammerhead comes together like this.
Time
The sharks don't seem to be active until after noon, so this image was taken at about 3:00 in the afternoon. You basically take the boat to the areas where the sharks are frequently seen, drop the anchor, and wait. And wait. Fortunately the water is crystal clear, so when sharks approach, you can see a big dark shape in the water, and that's when you put your gear on and get in.
Lighting
The lighting is VERY tricky in this shot. It's challenging because the sand is very fine, so you have to take great care not to stir it up, because if you do, all those fine grains will show up as backscatter in your photos. Even if you are still and don't brush up the sand, the sharks will. Additionally, the sand is very white, and can act like a reflector. It can be very easy to get the white underside of the shark blown out if you aren't careful. The best technique is to position you strobes out wide from the camera, point them out and up, and use diffusers.
Equipment
I shot this with a Canon 5d mark 3, with a Sigma 15mm fisheye. The camera and lens were in an Ikelite underwater housing, and I used 2 strobes connected to the camera hotshot with a sync cable. This was at about 20 feet in depth, and I was on scuba the whole time.
Inspiration
I've always been fascinated by sharks. When I first got scuba certification, I couldn't decide if I was afraid that I would see a shark, or excited to see one. Hammerheads are such a unique looking species, and the great hammerhead is the largest of them all. I wanted to see these magnificent sharks firsthand, but they are solitary and hard to find in the wild. When I heard that they were seen around Bimini frequently in the winter and early spring, I had to go. That dorsal fin that is so disproportionally tall is so distinctive on this shark, and I think makes for an amazing image.
Editing
I try to get everything correct in camera, and try to not do a lot of post processing, but I removed some sand backscatter, and desaturated the image. Otherwise, that's pretty much what I got.
In my camera bag
I guess what's in my bag depends on what I'm shooting. When you are shooting underwater, you pretty much have to decide if you are going to shoot macro or wide angle. For wider angle, like this shot, I take the 17-40 4L, and 15 mm fisheye. For macro I usually shoot the 100mm 2.8L, but sometimes use the 50mm macro. I also like to use a snoot a lot on my strobe for lighting macro. It's a cool effect, but lately everyone is doing it.
Feedback
If you want to photograph sharks, I usually start with the species I want to photograph, and then start trying to find out where they live. After that, it's a matter of finding a dive operator who can get you up close and personal with the sharks. The Bahamas has lots of sharks. You can see multiple species on one dive, so it's a great place to start. Cocos Island in Costa Rica, and the Galapagos have lots of sharks, but they are remote and hard to get to, but if you can handle the journey out there, it's pretty special. South Africa also has lots of different species of sharks, including some rare ones like 6 gill and 7 gill sharks. Fiji is another location with sharks, but it also has some nice macro stuff so it's a nice combination destination. Photographing sharks is a little difficult sometimes. You don't really need to be spending a lot of time looking at your LCD screen, because you need to be aware of your surroundings. I've never had any problems with aggressive sharks, but if you don't follow protocol, you could arouse their interest and they might want to check you out a little closer. Species like tiger sharks can be a little curious and come close to see what you are. I found that if you just stand your ground and give them a slight push, they will get the idea that you don't want them in your space. The great hammerheads like in this photo, are slow to get comfortable, but once they don't see you as a threat, they come very close and you will often get bumped, especially by their tail. Obviously wide angle lenses are required for these shots. Position your strobes out wide, and get down low. And have fun!!!

See more amazing photos, follow MattMcGee

ViewBug
Join to share your photos
Already have a ViewBug account? Log In

*By signing up, you agree to our Terms of Use and to receive ViewBug emails & updates and acknowledge that read our Privacy Policy.