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The great white shark is a predator that impresses us on so many levels, from poise to power; calculated to explosive and many hues in between. There is no other animal on earth that evokes as broad a range of emotions in us, and no other creates such frenzied feverish interest.
As a photographer, I try to create a stage worthy of a performer like the great white shark whenever I have the opportunity. As such, I pay a huge amount of attention to detail in my backgrounds, doing whatever I can to maximise the potential available on each given day. False Bay, near the South Western tip of Africa, is blessed with beautiful scenery, wildlife and vistas. The bay’s moody visage is often set alight by shafts of sunlight that squeeze through breaks inclouds as if at the hands of a stage-lighting choreographer.
Observing shafts of light dancing down on a seascape whilst waiting for a predator to spring into action is akin to watching old World War II films where huge, single-beamed searchlights were cast skywards at night, trying to unveil the approaching enemy warplanes. When I see these opportunities I therefore do everything I possibly can to position my subject in the most beautiful scene possible. There are so many days where I am lying on the deck of our boat, camera at the ready, subconsciously willing the shark to appear, only to be disappointed and left with photo dreams and ‘what if's' as my only spoils.
As a photographer, the beauty is not just in the image itself but also in all the hope and hard work it takes to make it happen, and the rush of delight felt in that split second when it all comes together in a fantastic shot.
This image symbolises one such moment. A beautiful shaft of light burst forth from behind a silver-lined cloud, and in its beam a magnificent great white shark hurtled through a glittering shower of shattered chandelier-like spray.
The star of the show had come to deliver the Final Act of the season, and all who were on board were enraptured with the performance.