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Whale shark poo, a photo essay

:: Saturday, August 14th, 2010 @ 1:25:03 am

:: Tags: , , , , ,


Whale shark poop

A couple weeks ago, I posted images from my first attempt to capture a whale shark silhouette with a sunball behind it. The attempt produced a decent photo.

The following few days presented many more opportunities to go after such a shot.

First, here’s the original image, which I shot on July 31, 2010:


A silhouette of a whale shark (Rhincodon typus) feeding in
a bonito spawning event off of Isla Mujeres, Mexico

I thought this was a pretty good image shot, but I knew I could do better. I dove down a few more times the next day and managed to get a silhouette with the sunball directly above the head of a shark:

I also captured a sunball image with two sharks in the frame:

… but this wasn’t enough.

On August 3, 2010, Wired Science News posted a story about a scientist’s exciting first glimpse of whale shark poop. A blurry aerial photo accompanies the article.

Big deal — we swam through tons of whale shark poo on a daily basis! And the blurry photo? Scientists should partner with photographers; the article should really have used my image of a silhouetted whale shark pooping:

It has a sunball and God rays in the frame, which makes it artsy. To mix it up, I also shot a horizontal version:

When we were in the water with the whale sharks off of Isla Mujeres, we saw whale sharks poop constantly. I swam though huge clouds of the stuff and pretended that it was just light-brown sand in order to make being in a giant cloud of poo seem less disgusting.

After I captured about a dozen whale shark / sunball images, I switched to video. Shooting video with an underwater camera’s dome port pointing into the sun does not present a forgiving scenario, but it was worth a try. Every fingerprint and little piece of dust will show up in your footage and cannot easily be removed.

Below are some more photos of whale shark poo. Enjoy. :)





And so you don’t have to leave this page only thinking about whale shark poop, here’s one of my favorite splits from the trip.


Split image of a whale shark (Rhincodon typus) feeding in a bonito spawning event off of Isla Mujeres, Mexico

| San Francisco, CA | link | trackback | Aug 14, 2010 01:25:03
  • Debbie

    I glad some else noticed, I mention the poo but no one on the boat said anything. I wasn't going to say anything about the poo in my video and just say is was pretty eggs. Deb

  • Christa

    I'm sure that at least, no one on your boat cried out that the whale was bleeding because we hit it, which is what happened on one of my trips when humpback whales defecated right by the boat after eating krill…

  • http://echeng.com/ Eric Cheng

    Your boat hit a whale? Or… they thought it was blood?

  • http://ihatepink.myopenid.com/ Caroline :)

    Maybe I don't know what to look for – is the poop that big white cloud coming off the tail end of the shark?

  • Christa

    Sorry for phrasing it so ambiguously. They thought the red poop was blood, so they assumed we hit a whale, which of course we didn't! The engine was off, anyway.

  • http://www.gw2gold.org/ Guild wars 2 gold

    It has a sunball and God rays in the frame, which makes it artsy.

  • lala

    these shots are great!!!

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