Gross Photographic Prints Made a Whole Lot Easier!

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I have had a lot of requests for prints of my images lately and I am incredibly grateful! I realized I needed a better, easier way to get you the prints you want. I have already added 100 images and the collection is growing. If you know of a particular image you would like and you can’t find it, please email me and I will get it to you right away.

To check out all the galleries of available prints just click right here.

Great Hammerhead Shark over the Sand

Thank you in advance, I hope you like it :)

Papua New Guinea – The Belly Button of Biodiversity

Posted by admin in Ocean Conservation, Ocean Story, Underwater Photography | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

It was really hot and humid as I unpacked my suitcases. I began sweating even more as I realized a small bag containing a camera body and lens were missing. I mentally flashed back to grabbing my suitcase in the Port Moresby airport, noticing one of the compartments was unzipped – the compartment with that small camera bag. I had been in too much of a rush to catch my connecting domestic flight to properly check if everything was intact. I searched everything again coming to the realization that I would probably never see that equipment again. The next day I would board a boat and be out of communication for the following 10 days. Welcome to Papua New Guinea.

I guess it’s not the end of the world; after all I still had my main camera, housing, 3 lenses and strobes. I could still shoot both wide angle and macro (had my 105mm, missing my 60mm). I decided to not dwell on things and enjoy the rest of my adventure. I was here to dive and shoot and that is all.

M/V FeBrina Boat

The M/V FeBrina liveaboard dive boat docked at Walindi Plantation Resort.

The liveaboard started out promising in Kimbe Bay with healthy coral pinnacles. Shrimpfish swam vertically over sea whips, trumpet fish hid behind massive seafans, pygmy seahorses clung to and looked cute camouflaged on the very same seafans. I was in a diver’s paradise!

Trumpetfish in front of Giant Sea Fans

Trumpetfish in front of Giant Sea Fans

Beautiful Coral Reef in Kimbe Bay

Beautiful Coral Reef in Kimbe Bay

Pygmy Seahorse in Kime Bay

Pygmy Seahorse in Kime Bay

Then we went to the Witu Islands and I got my first taste of muck diving. I found it incredibly challenging and fun! We got to see ornate ghost pipefish, snake eels, octopus, crabs, anemonefish, mantis shrimp, crocodile fish, gobys, ribbon eels, and the list could keep going!

Snake Eel with Cleaner Shrimp

Snake Eel with Cleaner Shrimp

Shy Octopus in the Witu Island

Shy Octopus in the Witu Islands

Ribbon Eel at Night

Ribbon Eel at Night

Ornate Ghost Pipefish in Crinoid Host

Ornate Ghost Pipefish in Crinoid Host

Crocodilefish Eye

Crocodilefish Eye

Next stop was fathers reef. Dominated by large schools of barracuda and jacks, punctuated by grey reef, whitetip reef and silvertip sharks. These dives got the blood flowing! Then the weather turned and we had to head back into Kimbe Bay, which at first was disappointing, but every dive that followed was simply stunning. There were no bad dives. The area is simply incredible with macro and wide angle opportunities like crazy!

Silvertip Shark

Silvertip Shark

Whitetip Reef Shark

Whitetip Reef Shark

Schooling Barracuda

Schooling Barracuda

Goby on Seafan

Goby on Seafan

I was out on the M/V Febrina operating out of Walindi Resort. It was interesting to hear the captain/owner Alan Raabe talk about why the reefs and wildlife are in such good shape there. The locals fish the reefs, but once in the mid 90’s a foreign commercial fishing vessel came into their waters. Alan reported the intruder to the authorities who swiftly arrested the crew. The boat was stripped of anything of value (including many metallic walls) losing the fisherman a great deal. Since then no one has entered their waters to commercially fish (that we know of). Although this has certainly helped the area’s reefs remain resilient they are still under threat.

Many tropical fish

Enough fish to almost block out the sun

Climate Change, commercial crop runoff, deforestation, and sedimentation have significant impacts on the reefs and other ocean ecosystems. As we are consistently becoming more aware, everything is connected. For more information about these issues visit The Nature Conservancy website who have been working to protect the area and it’s people.

Papua New Guinea mother and child in dugout canoe paddling over a pristine coral reef.

Papua New Guinea mother and child in dugout canoe paddling over a pristine coral reef.

My 10 day liveaboard came to an end all too quickly. I left with new friends and thousands of images to sort through. When I got back to the Port Moresby airport I asked the man behind the tiny kiosk in baggage claim if they have a “lost and found”. I described my little black bag containing a camera and lens. To my astonishment he said “Yes, I found it. I was working that day. Let me go get it for you”. It was that simple! I had thought it was blatantly stolen, but it was returned to me safe and sound. Many people were scared for me when I told them where I was going. As so often happens we fear what we do not know. I’m sure PNG has areas that are not safe (as almost any country would), but I would feel great about going back again. In fact, I’m going to make it a priority.

Tiny Shrimp on Soft Coral

Tiny Shrimp on Soft Coral

Cuttlefish

Cuttlefish

Shark tooth found on the reef

Shark tooth found on the reef

Reef and Rainforest

Reef and Rainforest

Upside down Reef

Upside down Reef

Curious Hawksbill Sea Turtle

Curious Hawksbill Sea Turtle

Shrimpfish over gorgonian coral

Shrimpfish over gorgonian coral

False Clown Anemonefish

False Clown Anemonefish

Wreck of the Zero - Japanese WWII plane

Wreck of the Zero – Japanese WWII plane

Trip Report – Bimini, Bahamas – January 2015

Posted by admin in Shark Trips, Underwater Photography | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The tiny island of Bimini in the Bahamas has exploded onto the shark diving scene in recent years when word of the big great hammerhead sharks got out. The 2 small islands (North and South Bimini) have been attracting big names for decades due to both it’s sheer beauty and close proximity to the USA. As you walk around the island you will see monuments to Ernest Hemingway and Martin Luther King Jr who both famously visited Bimini regularly.

Today, Bimini is an adventure divers dream! It is easily the best known place on Earth to encounter large great hammerhead sharks. Our group of divers and photographers joined shark diving operators Epic Diving to spend five days on Bimini and found there is a lot more to these tiny islands than we thought. Here is a very brief day-by-day of our adventure.

Day 1- Blowout

It is winter in the Bahamas and cold fronts are difficult to avoid. Our first day saw huge winds and that meant no hammerheads for us. Bull sharks are a pretty damn great second choice though! We were staying at the Bimini Big Game Club which is home to large bull sharks in the winter. As many as a dozen are swimming beneath the marina docks at any given time. It proved very fruitful photographically to simply stick our cameras in the water when they were coming close.

 

Two Bull Sharks in Bimini

Bull Sharks of the Big Game Club

Day 2 – Blowout Redux

Yes, the weather was still not cooperating. Spirit was still high among the group and no visit to Bimini is complete without a visit to the world famous Bimini Biological Field Station, AKA Sharklab. We got to hear all about our precious hammerheads and, my favourite photo subjects baby lemon sharks. A big thanks to the wonderful folks at Sharklab for the tour.

 

Sharklab baby lemon shark

Zach Parker of the Sharklab tells us about a baby lemon shark

Day 3 – Hammertime

The winds died down just enough to get out on the water. We had to go to a little deeper (about 35 feet vs. the usual 20 feet) to find better visibility in the chop, but we got sharks! And how magnificent they are. This isn’t the first time I’ve dove with them, but I had forgotten just how big they are. So impressive!

 

Diver with hammerhead shark.

Anita interacting with her first great hammerhead shark.

Day 4 – Predator and Prey

The great hammerheads favourite prey are stingrays so we decided to split our day among both the sharks and the stingrays. The north end of Gun Cay is home to friendly southern stingrays. According to lore it used to be a calm place for fisherman to clean their catch and the stingrays got accustom to getting food from people. Now they will swim straight to you and even suck on your wetsuit or dome port. They are a lot of fun to be in the water with!

 

Southern Stingray

Snorkelling with Bimini’s Stingrays

Diver and Great Hammerhead Shark

Mark watching a great hammerhead

Day 5 – Bimini’s Famous

The final day brought flat calm seas. Finally! So, we set off to the north to swim with Bimini’s most famous residents, the friendly spotted dolphins. Within minutes of reaching the area we spotted some spotted dolphins and began driving the boat in circles to peak their interest. We then hopped off the duck board of the Thresher (Epic Diving’s epic boat) to swim with them. On the first jump my fin came off, but I recovered and a mother and calf took interest in us.

On the second jump my mask popped off, but I recovered and had one of those unforgettable encounters you always hear about. A dozen spotted dolphins swam right up to us and stayed with us. I am a huge supporter of the “look, but don’t touch” mentality when encountering wildlife, but on this rare occasion the dolphins chose to touch us. One in particular swam to me and pressed his or her body against my camera lens. I reached my hand out to gently push her away and she stopped swimming and leaned into my hand. I am not a “dolphin whisperer”, but I believe she wanted that contact.

Snorkelling with Spotted Dolphin

Debbie and Carrie interacting with a Spotted Dolphin

On that massive high we spent the afternoon diving with and saying goodbye to the great hammerheads.

Great Hammerhead Shark over the Sand

I need to extend a huge thank you to Vinnie and Debbie of Epic Diving for making this an unforgettable experience. Thank you to all the people who joined us for making both the in-water time and out-of-water time a real pleasure and keeping a positive attitude during those tough weather days. Thank you to the Sharklab and Grant, Sean and Katie for making this site what it is and helping us to make our experience as good as it was.

Sharing the ocean with great people like this makes the experience more than just a dive trip. Thank you!

Sharing the ocean with great people like this makes the experience more than just a dive trip. Thank you! Image by Andrew Sallmon.

One more note: if you are thinking of going to Bimini to see their wonderful animals please keep in mind that using a local operator and staying at the local hotels and eating local food will spread the message that these natural resources bring in tourism dollars – a major economic reason to keep the animals and their habitats protected.

© Shane Gross - hammerhead shark

Behind The Shot – Hungry Shrimp

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I have spilled the beans to Dive Photo Guide about how I achieved my winning shot of the hungry shrimp. Click here to check it out.

Cave Shrimp feeding on Crab

Goodbye Print – Whale of a Tail Image

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I can think of few things that make me feel more humble, grateful and just plain awesome than when someone reaches out to me asking for one of my images to hang on their wall. That means someone really, truly likes my image. So I just wanted to say thank you to those who have reached out and purchased one of my prints. Thank you so much!

Fine Art Whale Tail Print

 

Whale tail photographic print