Pic of the Day – Galapagos Whale Shark

I have a couple of thousand images filed in my Image Galleries. Every now and then I contribute to photo themes on the Diver to Diver forum on Scubadiving.com, and several images have been published in various locations, but for the most part, the images languish in their virtual photo albums, collecting virtual dust.

So I thought, hey, why not peel out some of my favourites, and tell a bit of a story about them?

So here is the first one, to start the ball a-rolling…

Twang & The Whale Shark

This image was taken on the first of my three trips to dive in the Galapagos Islands (2003). I was still pretty new to underwater photography, and I will admit that this capture was pretty much plain dumb luck.

We had just come up from a dive at the infamous Darwin’s Arch. There were sharks a-plenty – including schooling hammerhead and Galapagos sharks. I believe that most of us also sighted a whaleshark or two on this particular dive, at a distance.

When we surfaced, we were picked up by the panga (a Zodiac) – the small tenders that most live aboard boats run to ferry divers to and from the dive sites. The driver spotted a whaleshark swimming at the surface, and scooted over. Most of us rolled in – no scuba tanks, just masks, fins, and luckily (for me), I had a folding snorkel in my drysuit pocket. It leaked like a sieve (and I subsequently lost it a few days later), but it helped to prevent me from drowning while I was trying to take pix of the whaleshark.

The whaleshark seemed oblivious to our presence as it casually fed near the surface – so much so, that shortly after I framed up and took this shot, I found myself trapped between the panga and the big fish. With no where to run, I felt myself being whacked by the huge tail fin of the shark (which was taller than me) – I was nuttin’ but a piece of flotsam in its wake.

I did see the possibility for the composition of this shot, as the whaleshark swam towards me, with Twang (Todd Graham) flanking the huge fish, also in the hunt for some shots. When we returned to the boat after this exhilarating interlude, I downloaded the camera to my laptop. One of the Dive Masters on the boat was cruising by, stopped when he saw the image, and said “Wow – you should enter that in the Aggressor Photo Contest”. So I did. And I won a free trip. Not bad for a newbie ;^)

Fast forward six years. I got an excited e.mail from one of my dive buddies congratulating me on having my image purchased to use in Aggressor advertising – it was the cover shot for that year’s brochure (which they composited with a coral reef shot underneath it), and as well it appeared in many dive magazines as a major ad for the company. I was a little choked – zero credit given to me as photographer, and zero compensation. I wrote to Wayne (“Sue Me”) Brown, and asked him what was up with using my shot for a major advertising campaign without contacting me. He suggested that I had given the Company permission for unlimited usage of the shot when I signed on for their photo contest. I replied that I thought it was pretty cheeky to use photo contests to garner free photo stock, and left it at that.

The image was shot with an Olympus 4040Z.

If you would like to read about this trip, you will find it here —–> Hitting The G Spot – A Galapagos Photo Essay.

About Judy G Diver

Born and raised on the west coast of Canada, I have always felt a strong connection to the sea. But for many years, I stayed on the surface, afraid of what lurked down deep. When I was in my early 30's, with three young children (aka the P's), my husband (aka Mr G) signed us up for a SCUBA certification course, as a surprise. Although I had my fears, my stubbornness prevailed, and somehow I made it through four murky, frigid, cold water dives in Vancouver to successfully pass the course. Soon after we went diving off the west coast of Mexico, in the Sea of Cortez, where my eyes were opened to the beauty and other-worldliness of the life down under. And the rest, as they say, is history. I currently have well over 2000 dives under the belt, and I have been fortunate to travel extensively in Asia, Australia, Fiji, Galapagos, Costa Rica, California, the Caribbean, Mexico and here in British Columbia. After shooting hefty DSLRs for many years, I just switched over to a groovy Olympus Micro Four Thirds camera, in a Nauticam housing, with dual Sea & Sea strobes and a bag full of lenses. In addition to this blog and my personal website (Awoosh.com/Directory), which is linked at the top of the blog, my stuff has been widely published in a variety of magazines and websites, including an ongoing regular monthly feature on Scubadiving.com. All links to this work can be found in this blog.
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