Photojournalist Daniel Botelho has a talent for making his subjects appear larger than life—a viral Mola mola image he captured a few years ago is just one example—and the tiger sharks of the Bahamas are no exception.
During a recent expedition to Tiger Beach, a dive destination famous for close encounters with tiger sharks and reef sharks, Botelho focused on capturing a “shark bite anatomy” series involving some of Tiger Beach’s most frequent visitors—notably a large shark affectionately named Emma (pictured in top four images).
The images, which are protected by copyright laws, were sent by Botelho to GrindTv for single-use only.
They were captured during a feeding event. These involve local dive masters who lure the sharks in and sometimes hand feed them with whole fish. This longstanding practice is for the benefit of scuba-diving tourists hoping for close encounters, and Emma is the most prominent and perhaps the most beloved Tiger Beach visitor.
(The Bahamas two years ago banned commercial fishing for sharks, which are deemed far more important as a tourism resource.)
“I was using the fisheye lens, and it made me be very close to the action while the feeding was happening,” said Botelho, whose photography has been featured by National Geographic and Disney. “It took us only five minutes to perform all these ‘shark bite anatomy’ shots, as we got in the water before the guests to calm down Emma and check how safe it was to dive with all the sharks.”
Pictures with the sharks is Tiger Beach veteran Vincent Canabal.
Botelho, who specializes in underwater photography and has swum alongside great white sharks, crocodiles, and swimming elephants, described this as one of his most rewarding experiences.
“I love tiger sharks and sharks in general, so being in the water and performing such open-mouth composition blew my mind away, raced my heart, and was an experience of a lifetime,” the Portuguese photographer said.
“Despite the name, Tiger Beach is a place with no land in sight: a wild place that is now protected. We were diving with five tiger sharks and dozens of lemon sharks and reef sharks all at the same time, and we all made it safely back home.
“This shows the world that sharks are predators for sure, but they are not half as dangerous as lions, crocs, and hippos. Just try to hand feed a lion and see what happens.”
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