Popular Photography Magazine Grand Prize Winner

I’m pleased to blog that I was awarded the Grand Prize in the 2005 photo contest put on annually by Popular Photography Magazine. The contest had ten categories on all subject matter, using any type of camera equipment. It received more than 10,000 entries from around the world.

I was in the town of Gansbaai, South Africa in May 2003 to photograph great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias). This is one of the most popular places in the world to photograph great white sharks. The shark photography is usually done on the surface from the boat, or underwater from inside a cage. A third method, which I was using, is via a pole cam.


As you can see from the above photo, this involves putting the camera in a waterproof housing and attaching it with a bracket to a long pole, which is then lowered into the water and fired by means of a line attached to the trigger release on the housing.


The pole cam enables you to get shark photos that are much closer than what you could normally get underwater from inside a cage. As you can see with the photos above (especially the one on the right) you wouldn’t want to be holding the camera housing with your hands when the shark is THIS close!

We had just finished our shark photography for the day, so the crew threw overboard what was left of the bait we had been using to attract the sharks. I had pulled my pole cam out of the water to start disassembling it, when my friend & pro photographer Stuart Westmorland called my attention to the commotion on the water’s surface caused by kelp gulls (Larus dominicanus) who had arrived to feed on the discarded bait.


I lowered the pole cam back to surface level and pulled the line, shooting at five frames per second to freeze the action. I had my wide angle zoom lens set to its widest setting, so the gulls were right next to the camera housing’s dome. I was pleased with several of the shots I got. Photo #004 above is the one that won the Grand Prize. I was also partial to #005 on the right, but did not enter it in the contest.
For the techies out there: Nikon F100 camera in Sea & Sea housing with 9″ dome. Nikon 17-35 f2.8 zoom lens set at 17mm and f8 aperture. TTL exposure, shutter speed unrecorded. Natural light. Fuji Provia 100F slide film shot at ISO 200 and then pushed +1 stop in processing at a pro lab in San Francisco.

Best to all,





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