These images are truly awesome. I mean, they really make you think about humanity’s place in the natural order of things. Yes, we are the smartest of living things on our little planet (although human actions often make you question the validity of this statement), but standing next to one of Nature’s most majestic creatures, you are filled with humility.
The storyline here is quite simple. A Belgian photographer by the name of Ellen Cuylaerts found herself swimming right next to a huge whale shark while on a trip to Isla Mujeres, in Mexico. Being the true photographer that she is, Ms. Cuylaerts was prepared to take full advantage of this chance encounter and took the series of awesome images that you will see below.
Ms. Cuylaerts, who now lives in the Cayman Islands, explained how she goes about her work:
I try to find a connection with every animal before trying to take a picture of them. I watch how they swim, how they behave and if they swim in a pattern.
This allows me to anticipate where the animals will swim and I can take a shot with some eye contact. It’s great fun, but it can be very tiring when you’re trying to keep up with them.
The whale shark is the biggest fish on Earth. Weighing in at up to 66,000lbs, it can reach lengths of up to 39 feet and can be found in the open sea in the world’s tropical and warm oceans. They have a lifespan of around 70 years. Ms. Cuylaerts said:
To swim next to a whale shark makes you feel very small. Because of their size, they seem to move slowly, as they glide through the water.
But in fact they’re a lot faster than you as a photographer, and can swim three miles an hour easily.
Fascinating images… (Scroll down for the video.)
1. Photographer Ellen Cuylaerts, 44, poses for a selfie with the giant whale shark while on a trip to Isla Mujeres, in Mexico.
2. The giant shark, a filter feeder which consumes plankton and small fish by swimming with its jaws open, is happy to share its waters during feeding time.
3. The whale shark is a filter feeder which consumes plankton and small fish by swimming with its jaws open.
4. Ms. Cuylaerts said she observes how the animals behave beforehand, so she can ‘anticipate where the animals will swim’ when she is taking pictures of them.
5. The whale shark, weighing a massive 66,000lbs, can reach lengths of 39 feet, can be found in tropical and warm oceans.
6. The whale shark holds many records for sheer size in the animal kingdom, and is by far the largest living non-mammalian vertebrate.
7. Ms. Cuylaerts, who lives on Grand Cayman, in the Cayman Islands, said: ‘I try to find a connection with every animal before trying to take a picture of them’.
8. The photographer said swimming next to a whale shark ‘makes you feel very small’, adding that due to their size, ‘they seem to move slowly, as they glide through the water’.
9. Ms. Cuylaerts said that on ‘busy days over 100 boats are bringing in people to see the whale sharks, and you see some animals having damage from engine propellers’.
10. Ms. Cuylaerts said: ‘In my opinion a solution has to be found for this, so we can view the beautiful animals without any worry of hurting them’.
11. Whale sharks live in the open sea, and have a lifespan of around 70 years.
And here is a video of Ellen Cuylaerts’s previous work with sharks:
Source: The Daily Mail.
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