Tiger Beach, Bahamas

If you want to go on a dedicated shark diving holiday in the Bahamas the choice of liveaboard boats seems to be either Dolphin Dream or Shear Water. Chris and I opted for Dolphin Dream because of availability and our preference for the bigger, more comfortable boat.

The style of diving on both boats appears to be very different. Dolphin Dream was very relaxed with few rules – you could dive when and where you wanted, which was great for photography and meant it was easy to avoid other divers in your shots. The minus points were that the larger boat could only anchor in certain areas, and that perhaps the chumming/shark wrangling wasn’t always as organised as it could be. Shear Water on the other hand appears to have stricter diving rules, but was probably better organised at attracting in sharks.

The aim of my holiday was to get some classic shark portraits, and I found the 3/4 angle showing eyes and teeth to be the most effective. I also wanted to use the Magic Filter to bring out the colours of the sand and sharks and minimise the blue/green hue of the water. The filter worked well, was very forgiving in the strong sunlight and I found it easy to set the manual white balance on the sandy seabed. Lenses used were the fisheye 10.5mmn - although I wasn’t always happy with the amount of distortion - and the 12-24mm. I used strobes to help bring out the colour of the sharks. It was quite comforting to have a camera and twin strobes between you and a large tiger shark!

We had a couple of calm, sunny days with good visibility, ideal for making the most of the sun’s rays using a fast shutter speed. I also had a go at some shark silhouettes and motion blur, which I found frustratingly difficult – I should have practised first.

The sharks were never frightening or intimidating. The numerous lemon sharks were like inquisitive puppies and sometimes you just couldn’t get rid of them. We saw tiger sharks three days out of four. They were much shyer, but did come very close. We also dived in another area with Caribbean grey reef sharks. For most of the time the boat was moored over a large old anchor chain festooned with corals and shoals of fish that gave opportunities macro and wide angle shots.