By Alex Jones
A BRITISH photographer has spoken out about getting up close and personal with great white sharks – even building a ‘connection’ with ocean’s apex predators.
Exhilarating photos include an epic close up with a sunset glinting off a great white’s imposing black eye; a shark ‘grin’ as it’s just inches away from the unflappable underwater photographer’s lens; and a huge shark showing off its fearsome array of razor-sharp teeth.
The exceptional images were captured by Euan Rannachan (34), a London-born photographer who now lives in California, who has spent much of 2019 getting intimate with massive sharks off the coast of Guadalupe Island, the westernmost point of Mexico.
Although he has spent many hours in the water with the phenomenal fish, and says he has no fear of the impressive animals, only respect, the 34-year-old photographer still has his breath taken away each time he gets in the water with his toothy subjects.
“There is nothing else in the world like it,” Rannachan says.
“You can’t hangout this close to any other apex predator in the world and the fact we can with these massive sharks is a real testament to just how little of a threat to us they really are! The longer you are around them the more of a connection you feel. You want to watch their eyes as they move past you – you just know there’s a lot going on in their heads as they do.
“I absolutely believe these creatures will connect with you if you take the time and are in long enough. They’re very curious. While the strikes on the bait are very fast and violent, the majority of the time they are gliding gracefully past and as they study us we study them!”
Rannachan grew up with a fascination for sharks, probably stemming from watching Steven Spielberg’s epic sharkfest Jaws in the 70s. However, after spending hours photographing and cage diving with great white sharks, any fear has been replaced with admiration.
“Sharks are just inches away from me all the time actually,” Rannachan continues.
“ The sharks are flying blind when they open there mouths all the way so when they snap their mouths shut and open their eyes again sometimes they are inches from the end of my lens as you can see.
“’Worry’ is not the word for it, respectful is a better one. I fully understand how powerful these guys and gals are but also I know they are not there for me. This does not mean I am reckless, it means I respect their space and do not touch or interfere with them as they pass.
“Whenever there’s a really good pass there’s much rejoicing, cheering though our regulators, and underwater high-fives!”
Although shark stacks on humans do occur, they are very uncommon and usually a case of mistaken identity – mistaking a human on a surfboard for a seal for example. It is more likely to suffer a fatal lighting strike than experience a deadly encounter with a shark. However, climate change, poor fishing regulations and human interference has seen shark populations around the world drop by as much as 90% in the last five decades.
For more of Euan’s artwork, please visit https://www.euanart.com/