Great White Shark Photography

Started Jan 16, 2014 | Discussions thread
LAHJ Contributing Member • Posts: 787
Re: Great White Shark Photography

Chris 88 wrote:

(this is reposted on recommendation from the Nature and Wildlife Forum)

In a few months I will be charting a boat out of Cape Town South Africa to photograph great white sharks. One of the behaviours I hope to capture is the famous breaching where the shark leaps from the sea. In order to induce this a fake seal will be dragged behind the boat.

What I would like is advise on what lens, settings, and techniques I should use with my D7100 (not yet got).

The variables are as follow. The rope with the decoy on is 10-15 meters so that is my distance to the subject. The average great white is 4-5.2m, so that will be the size of the subject. The subject will be moving as approximately 25mph and will be airborne (visible) for 1.2s.

At the moment I'm thinking the Nikon Af-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens. That is probably the most I can push my budget. Part of me thinks if I'm going to get an FX lens I might as well get a D610 to go with it but let me know what you think.

Chris, I've been living in Cape Town for more than twenty years and have quite a bit of experience

of being on the sea and taking pictures from boats in this part of the world.

Cape Town is a very, very windy City, but even on a "wind free" ( which is very rare ) day the sea is quite rough with big swells.

Just keeping your balance is an effort never mind holding the camera steady.

What you're set out to do is going to be extremely difficult, it's like taking pictures of swallows in flight from a show jumping horse while the sprinkler system is on.

But it's seems like good fun and a worthy challenge and the rewards could be great.

I have a few suggestions and these are much depending on what type and size of boat you're going out with.

One is to bring a monopod.

This is not to get a steady shot, it's only to rest your arms seeing you have to be ready and framed in position for maybe a couple of hours.

Next thing I would bring is a cover for your camera and lens, as sea spray can be a big issue.

Maybe something like this.

You already had some good advice, and I think your choice of camera an lens are spot on, just bring spare batteries and enough memory cards, and keep the shutter speed up - at least 1/1000 s.

Below is a link to one of my days on a boat ( on board Spirit of Victoria 60 ft ) shooting far easier targets than yours.

And this is what I would call a beautiful and not to windy day in Cape Town and I was still wet and full of bruises after.

I hope you have a good trip and get lots of great pictures.

Best Regards


 LAHJ's gear list:LAHJ's gear list
Tamron 15-30mm F2.8 Nikon D750 Nikon D7200 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D +4 more
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