"We wanted to bring the studio underwater. Or, I wanted to bring the great white into the studio, right? So I started looking to find some good strong lights. And you know, they didn’t exist. And I was like, 'Oh, OK.' So I set out and started meeting people and getting ripped off and having people build stuff that didn’t work and almost gave up. Then I hooked up with these two guys. And they said, 'Here’s a solution.' And now I have 1200-watt waterproof strobe lights."
"The actual strobe light is a Profoto light. We just built the housing and the way to make it waterproof. We have a patent pending on that. And so I have an assistant up on the deck of the boat or the side of a pool and he controls all the packs, and I have two to six assistants underwater holding the lights, and I have a communication system so I can talk to my guys underwater and they can hear me and I can direct them."
"There are a lot of dynamics going on. Lights, cables, and a bus with teeth swimming around that you have to keep your eye on. It makes for, without a doubt, the most challenging photo shoots I’ve ever done."
"I’m definitely going for shots that I haven’t seen before, but they’re animals. I have no control over what they give me and what they do for me, which is great. Whereas, when I shoot people I control the situation for the most part—from telling them where to stand to where to look. For the animals, they’re dictating me. I have to adapt to them."
"Most people catch them breaching from the surface when they’re shooting out of the water. I have them breaching from underwater in a 16-time sequence, a shark leaving the water and then reentering the water."
"I don’t have a favorite photo. As a photographer I have attachments to each image. Not the one photo, the experience of getting the photos is the challenge or the thing."
"The day the lights were delivered was the day before I left for the Galapagos to do an IWC watch campaign in conjunction with the Charles Darwin Foundation and UNESCO. There was a big emphasis on conservation. And when I was down there I just had a sense of fulfillment and purpose. I was like, 'This is what I want to do. This is what I need to do.'"
Great White Shark
"If I can take a photo of a shark or a stingray or a dolphin or a whale and people can look at it, and maybe look at it in a way that they haven’t seen before, and say, 'Wow, this is beautiful. What can I do? How can we save this?' Or, 'How can we change what’s happening?' That’s sort of my mission right now."
"My images of sharks are done purely so that people realize that 70 million—not 7 million—70 million sharks are slaughtered every year, for a soup, a delicacy. They are at the top of the ecosystem, and you take them out? It’s a domino effect. The collapse that’s going to happen is going to be felt in the oceans. And I just hope that people see the photos and maybe get educated in a little way about what’s happening."
"And that they realize they don’t have to be scared of them. There were two or three fatalities last year in the whole country. I want to say there were five or six worldwide. But I want to say that there were 140 people that died from bees. People don’t need to be scared. I tickle sharks. I do, when they swim by."