SHOOT LIKE A PRO TRIP REPORT
trip leader Terry Steeley asked to run a photography
workshop with shallow reefs, warm water, lots of bottom time
and an abundant supply of sharks; Tiger Beach was the
obvious destination. The Bahamians claim #itsbetterinthebahamas
and it’s difficult to disagree! From the moment we dropped
anchor, we enjoyed sharks from dawn to dusk; tiger sharks,
countless carribean reef & lemon sharks, bull sharks, the
über cute nurse sharks and an occasional cameo appearance
from a shy great hammerhead. Did I mention the warm water
Winter temperature was 26˚C/78.8F?
Check out dive
Our check out dive was at the anchor, home of
the original Tiger Beach shark encounters. Lemon sharks are
virtually guaranteed here and it’s the perfect location for
divers unfamiliar with sharks to get acquainted, adjust dive
weight and ensure that camera issues are identified and
resolved. We had hoped to shoot some ‘lemon snaps' at sunset
from the back of the boat, but the ocean was too lumpy for
the largest of domes, so we conceded defeat and vowed to try
again later in the week. To moor overnight away from the
wind, we retreated to a sheltered spot 40 minutes away.
Following the excitement of day 1 diving with
lemon sharks, it was hugely disheartening to discover that
bad weather had blown in overnight reducing the water
clarity. This meant that we needed to hide from the wind for
day 2 and all diving activities would be suspended. The
unwelcome change in the weather proved to be a great
opportunity to sit down with the guests and enjoy a day of
learning. Discussing the principles of creating the ‘wow
factor’ in our images, we also had the freedom to get ahead
with post-processing, exploring the benefits of Adobe Bridge
CC and Adobe Lightroom Classic.
The following morning delivered favourable
diving conditions and we moved to Fish Tales, the
‘go-to-spot' for reliable encounters with tiger sharks.
Surprisingly, none of the guests had ever successfully dived
with tiger sharks, and the crew were feeling the pressure to
deliver a positive experience. Thankfully, the first feed of
the day ticked the ‘bucket-list’ tiger shark box. Our luck
continued throughout the day and the week, as we shared the
ocean with as many as 8 tiger sharks on many of our dives.
It’s not just about the Tigers
Large numbers of tiger sharks are clearly the
star of the show, but it would be a crime to miss out on the
other fabulous encounters that the Bahamas can offer.
Caribbean reef sharks remain a firm favourite amongst the
group. Their sleek torpedo shaped bodies and rapid turn of
speed establish them as an iconic shark and a real crowd
Lemon sharks are everywhere and can often be
found hanging around the bait crates for a cheap meal.
They’re super relaxed and gracefully meander around under
the boat. The biggest challenge with the lemons is capturing
the opportune moment to photograph one in isolation.
Patience is key and for those prepared to wait, the money
shot will often be the reward.
Nurse sharks are plentiful on almost every
dive. They’re an unassuming shark and frequently seen lying
motionless on the seabed. However, due to their docile
nature and tendency to hang around divers looking for a free
meal, they’ve been labelled the ‘puppy dogs’ of the ocean.
Their distinctive sucking sound is a huge giveaway when
they’re searching for prey in the sand or attempting to
vacuum fish heads out of the crates.
And, there’s more...
You can always find a friendly black grouper
at Fish Tales.
After the weather hiccup of day 2, we enjoyed
wonderful shark dives every day for the remainder of the
trip. During the evenings, whenever the conditions were
favourable we attempted to shoot ‘lemon snaps’. With two
wranglers on the back deck, we were able to get 4
photographers at a time hunting for the elusive shot. The
ocean wasn’t always as kind or as flat as we would have
liked, but a few of the guests were lucky and bagged some
terrific half and half shots. Persistence is the key for
great split shots.
Once again the crew of the Dolphin Dream and
the Bahamian sharks delivered us a great week. We can easily
forget a single bad weather day after so many incredible
shark encounters. A truly spectacular week of diving,
photography and learning. We may have started the trip as
strangers, but we certainly departed as friends. After two
wonderful trips to the Tiger Beach in 2017, it’s difficult
not to be excited for our 2018 trips.
If you'd like to join our next
Bahamas Shark Safari,
please let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org