Close Encounters Man vs. Nature

Whale shark appears ready to swallow a boat

Photographer Adriana Basques creates an optical illusion with stunning photo that is being considered for a People’s Choice Award in museum photo contest

Whale shark appears ready to swallow a boat full of fisherman. Photo by Adriana Basques/Caters News Agency

Whale shark appears ready to swallow a boat full of fisherman. Photo by Adriana Basques/Caters News Agency

A photographer captured the moment a whale shark appeared to have its mouth open ready to devour a boat full of fishermen, an amazing image that is up for the People’s Choice Award in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest by the Natural History Museum in London.

In reality, the photo is an optical illusion created by Brazilian underwater photographer Adriana Basques being in the right place at the right time while diving in Cenderawasih Bay in West Papua, Indonesia.

Basques, 45, waited patiently for the feeding whale shark to approach him before taking the stunning photo, according to Caters News Agency.

“At the moment I took the shot, the whale shark was actually touching the dome port of my camera,” Basques told Caters. “But I was never in danger. Although the colossal mouth is big enough to fit a person inside, they are filter feeders and that would never happen.”

Basques said the young male whale shark was about 26-feet long with a mouth more than 4-feet wide.

“It might look scary when you see one with a huge open mouth coming in your direction,” Basques told Caters. “But they usually have a very good sense of space and will turn before they get too close, although this is not what happened with the particular one in this image.”

And because it didn’t happen, Basques got what could end up being an award-winning photo.

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