Encountering a pod of dolphins beneath Maldivian waters was more than a lovely experience. It reinforced my photographic instincts, and prepared me for an even rarer opportunity. Below the surface, I waited for the dolphins to pass by and focused my thoughts on the image I hoped to produce.
About the photographer
To avoid motion blur I used a faster-than-normal shutter speed. To combat exposure problems I excluded the sun. Pleased with my results and aware of this encounter’s fortuitous nature, I never wished for more. But on this special day, my expectations were exceeded.
Off the bow, the sea roiled as a whale shark fed on a swirling baitball. Heart pounding, I knew this was a magical moment, one that I had to shoot first and think about later because the giant fish’s shy behavior made second chance retakes improbable. Water clarity and perfect light allowed minor setting tolerances. In the heat of the moment, however, it was experience that helped compensate for the school’s reflectivity and size.
Fish schools are big, shape-changing objects, difficult for predators and photographers to judge on approach. If visibility and the baitball’s composition remain ideal, the trick is to frame the school so that it appears as large as possible and generates a fitting »Wow«. Moving closer to light the scene, I framed the baitball instinctually. The resulting eye contact endows this dramatic image with greater impact.