Photographer Chase Jarvis was sailing about an hour south of Cape Town, South Africa, when he first saw the fins. They broke the surface of the ocean dozens at a time. The fins belonged to common dolphins, and soon Jarvis noticed hundreds, and then thousands, of them, "...so thick you could have walked across their backs had they been game for it," he wrote on his blog. Instinctively, everyone on explorer Mike Horn's 110-foot boat, Pangaea, grabbed their cameras and started shooting photos and video. Then, Jarvis did something unexpected for someone in his line of work. He stopped taking pictures. Instead, he just took things in.
Here is an excerpt of that moment from his blog:
As they approached our boat and quickly surrounded us, our cameras were blazing ... every camera, iPhone, point-and-shoot, DSLR, GoPros, every camera imaginable was firing off frames ... until we realized that they were with us, and that the moment was actually too rare to shoot photos. After just a few minutes, we all put down our cameras, we stopped talking, and we simply took in the beauty with our eyes. In all of my days as a photographer, there have only been a handful where I’ve been witnessing/participating in an event like this and simply stopped shooting to take it in. This was one of those moments.
In the few minutes we did shoot, we were able to get the footage to make this video above. And while it’s impossible to truly convey the magic of this experience—I hope these clips give you just a little sliver of what it’s like to encounter something so rare and stunning—especially when you least expect it. I think Mike does a good job of trying to communicate this with his little voiceover we cut into the video. Once you see something like this, you are truly marked for life.
To read more about how the moment affected the photographer, check out the original post at ChaseJarvis.com.