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  • Writer's pictureCristina Mittermeier

Exploring the Depths

Unveiling the Beauty of Sharks through Underwater Photography

Being a photographer is not an easy job. Although I would not trade it for anything, I feel like this profession is very romanticized.

Photography is emotionally, physically and mentally demanding– and that is when it’s on dry land.

I want to share with you my experience as an underwater photographer, with special emphasis on one of the ocean's most captivating and misunderstood creatures: sharks. With shark week playing on screens across the world, I wanted to share my personal experience as an underwater photographer documenting these captivating and misunderstood creatures.

Underwater photography is an extraordinary art form that allows us to witness the wonders of the ocean like never before. It is, however, an extremely technical discipline that requires you to be pulled in several directions. Not only do you need to have the physical endurance to dive into unpredictable waters, but also the mental capacity to pay attention to multiple things going on around you. You need to keep an eye on your scuba equipment, how much air you have, and your scuba partner, who hopefully has your back as much as you do theirs. Then you need to pay attention to your camera. The lighting is different at varying depths; the colours change the deeper you dive. Is your white balance correct? Is your camera properly sealed in the underwater cage? Finally, and maybe most importantly, you must be aware of your surroundings–especially in the company of wildlife like sharks.

Sharks have long been both feared and admired, evoking a sense of mystery and awe. These apex predators play a vital role in maintaining the balance of marine ecosystems, making them essential guardians of the deep. I have had the privilege of capturing the essence of these magnificent creatures, showcasing their strength, grace, and beauty.

It is no easy thing to dive with a shark, to enter its realm and not be intimidated. If I told you I was never scared, it would be a lie.

Diving with wildlife will always carry some uncertainty, but there are steps you can take to minimize any risk. Acquainting yourself with the many species of sharks and what their temperament is like and asking for help from those who may know these creatures better than you can help immensely.

Every shark is different, every dive is going to go as well as you prepare for it. It is important that you take control of the situations you find yourself in by going in prepared and not feeling discouraged should you not get the shot you want. We need to respect the safety of both ourselves and the marine life we encounter.

People have often told me I am lucky; lucky to do what I do, lucky to be alive because my job can be dangerous. But as the old saying goes: luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

I hope this bit of advice serves you well in whatever you endeavor to do in your life, if it is underwater photography or anything else you may find yourself feeling uncertain about. So go out there and be confident in what you do, the results will speak for themselves.


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