Shot this image of our champ William Trubridge last month, but messed up a little, had the setting wrong and it underexposed quite a lot. Couldn’t really make the series work, until i finally made the switch to Lightroom, and what a joy that program is. It was still a very tricky edit, but i watched the image come alive today:
At the same time as when i saw my first tiger shark, we were surrounded by reef sharks. I was very happy to see them, for normally they are quite shy and skittish, and all i’d seen of them this trip so far was vague shapes in the distance. Which is a shame, for they have a lovely shape, all slender and sleek and powerful. If you think i carry on a bit, just check this one out:
But when i had a moment to edit the video, i caught myself on a media stereotype: i wanted edgy rock music, something dangerous and high octane. You know, the usual shit they put on TV when it comes to sharks, all teeth and rapid movement and danger danger danger! But then i thought of the reality of those moments with the sharks. At no point did i ever feel danger danger danger, all i felt was awe and joy and peace. And mind you, this was in the midst of them eating -we were with a fishing boat and the fishing and bait had brought them up. So they were chomping away and it was none of this ‘ooh, watch out, feeding frenzy’ nonsense, they were still trying to keep out of our way. There might have been some agitation on display, but hey, wouldn’t you be a bit cross if a bear turned up at your buffet?
So i decided against rock music, against perpetuating the stereotype. Instead, i edited it to this slow, dreamy piece by Arvo Pärt called ‘Spiegel I’m Spiegel’ and because i shot at 48 frames a second anyway, i slowed it right down. No frenzy, no danger, just lovely beautiful moving predators being glorious.
Also not yet part of popular opinion, sharks are not just beautiful and peaceful, they also need protection, especially when they come near Australia. If you have a moment, please help their cause:
Yesterday i met my first Tiger shark. I’d swam with hammerheads, white tips, black tips, grays, nurse and reef sharks before, but never with a tiger. I love all sharks for lots of reasons, one being very superficial and photography related, namely the way their skin plays with light, but tigers are particularly beautiful, with a strong body shape, and they have a wonderful pattern. I was very much hoping to see one in real life, preferably with a camera. So as we were playing with some reef sharks yesterday, William makes a noise and a gesture to indicate there’s something behind me. I turn and there it is, my tiger baptist. It comes directly at me to see what i’m made of:
and part of me gets slightly nervous; a combination between something like meeting an idol and something more basic face-to-face with a predator larger than yourself. But my instinct tells me there is no aggression in his behavior, just curiosity, and i stand my ground, or eh, float my water, as it were. The tiger then turns to give me a sideway glance:
It is a real shame these regal creatures are being hunted and slaughtered. Please help support the cause of the sharks:
William Trubridge holds the world record for diving without fins. The other day he was training in Dean’s Blue Hole, and there was something about the combination of really good visibility, lovely light and his immaculate technique that made me forego my training and film him instead -once again affirming i’m more cameraman than freediver. I didn’t have any ideas on what to do with the footage until i stumbled upon this hypnotic music by Nils Frahm; listening to it, i immediately visualized William’s footage.
It’s rare for new footage and new music to find each other in my mind so quickly after each other. Usually, i either already know the tune i want and sort of shoot to that, or i look at the footage and realize the tune i’d like with it. New tunes come to me much later, sometimes months after i’ve gotten the material. This tune came my way literally the day after i shot the footage. I often feel very lucky in this place -how could i not, it’s paradise- but at times it feels like it’s almost more than luck. It feels serendipitous. This is one of my more serendipitous movies.