Shark, Kuramathi Island Maldives, Multi Award Winning Photograph

by Hug Felix

shark kuramathi island maldives multi award winnin nikon af mm f g s dx if ed photog hug felix

Gallery: Maldives

Tags: island shark, nikon af 12-24mm f4 g af-s dx if-ed photograph winning award multi maldives, kuramathi seeking critique

Category: Nature

Published: Thursday 10th of June 2004 05:17:14 AM


Comments

Erik Adams
I think this photo really has it all: great composition and lighting, interesting subject matter, and it tells a story. Very well done.

Thomas Collins
Wow! This really tells a story about the food chain! I love how the light plays on the surface of the sand. Well done!

C W
I don't like digital, but I really really like this shot...

Marc Aubry
Very clean image, great composition.

Felix Hug
Thank you all Thanks to all of you... especially to Nikos for the informative background. A few words to the technic, which was in this case the minor problem... the biggest was the reflection and "choreography";-) . It took me about two hours to get this image, not because its very difficult, but because i liked to be in an almost square angle to the surface to get the most clarity. The desaturation was not actually caused by taking out color, but by shifting the "temperature" towards a level where you could say its the color temperature of the water, very much as if you would do it when you photograph with color corrected film and tungsten light in a room lit by lamps... it leaves the shark with the color you would see him in sunlight, rather then what you usually would see in a couple of meters under water.

Rhawn Fischer
? dont like digital? who cares. great pic btw, very humorous.

Floris Andrea
Well, well done... Most nature shots are bad drafts of real nature... This one is a rarity, such a capture, so beautiful. Thank you!

Stephen Galea
Excellent i AM PARTICULARLY IMPRESSED BT THE WAY THE SHARK IS SUROUNDED... creating a pleasing composition and a natural frame.. Excellent!!

Max Haynes
Nicely captured! Don't like digital? By definition if he is viewing this on a computer screen then it is digital, better start liking it.

sogeri pilpoil
Seems to be taken in any atoll of the Tuamotu, or Bora Bora ? The reflects of sunrays are so wide that it must not be in high sea... Felix, can you confirm there has been no manipulation, since the color of the water is near to absolute transparency ? Atmosphere of respect, definitely. Great picture :-)

Luca Guarneri
Exellent! A great job, beautiful moment, colours and cut. Thanks! Luca Guarneri

Pnina Evental
See life at its best.......( not for the small once..)

Wilson Tsoi
Great capture, very original (at least to me) idea / occurance.

Nicholas Bryant
Excellent but ... can you fly?? Maybe you are on a boat...

Nikos M
Very nice photo. I particularly like the fact that it is in cold but slightly desaturated tones, unlike most blueish U/W photos. Shooting from above and using the white sand as a backdrop was a very good choice to that effect. By the way, to set the record straight, the behaviour we see here is not a predatory scene as is suggested by some of the comments above. Technically this is called school polarization if i recall correctly. Some types of fish (not all) that go in schools exhibit this behaviour whereby upon meeting a foreign swimmer, they move in concert to create a loophole enclosing it and thus swim around it. The would do the same for a diver for example. It is not neccessarily a move of 'running away' rather it is a pattern of their group motion. It is a very beautiful behaviour to witness. The movement is so well-synchronized that you are inclined to believe they are all controlled by one mind, being parts of a unique existence.

Nestor Botta
Not the most loved guy on the neighborhood, uh...? :-)

Michele Berti
W o r d l e s s Amazing picture here... a great capture and a really suited title!

DE ZHAO
mr zhao88 good and exiting shot

Jonas Nielsen
Very beautiful - great shot

Johannes Felten
77 This is outstanding in every way. A great shot! I wish I was in there too.

Jonas Nielsen
This is really a fantastic photo.

Edward Depp
Wonderfully graceful shot! I was frustrated that in Rangiroia I couldn't get any good shots of the sharks... there were just so many. Also, I agree with the other commenter about the desaturation... it really keeps the amazing blue of the water from interrupting the fairly overt message here.

Still Life
7 -No Doubt - 7 I dont know that much about the fish behavior as Nikos knows, but i don know either why i like that much this pic (lol). jus kidin. this is a great composition no doubt in it. Regards.

Andrea Salini
7/7 Wow!

D F
A truly 7/7 POW should - should

Rouslan Tiourine
7X7 Too small-the only bad in this photo.

Rick Barrow
you have been able to turn wildlife photography into beautiful art. i wish i had this hanging on my wall at home. so many elements come together, the shark the fish the sand the sun rays, all combined to create a magical image. RESPECT.

Felix Hug
Lucie Awards New York Update Oct 2004: "Respect" wins Honorable Mentions at the Lucie Awards in New York

Luke P
awesome

Frunze Verdi
+ + +

Peter Nilsson
Excellent!

Arie Baba
nice

Felix Hug
Maldives The photograph ended up by mistake in the Franz Polynesia section. I have to admit though, that you see similar things and the same species in Bora Bora waters. In fact I did even snorkel with black tip reef sharks off Bora Bora. Anyhow this photo was taken on Kuramathi Island in the Maldives. Apologies for my error.

Oprea Calin Paul
Wonderful image !

Fernando Olea
Amazing shot!!! Breath-taking.

Yevgeniy Matveyev

Super! Very nice. Exellent. My congratulations.

Patrick Hudepohl
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug This image has been selected for discussion. It is not necessarily the "best" picture the Elves have seen this week, nor is it a contest. It is simply an image that the Elves found interesting and worthy of discussion. Discussion of photo.net policy, including the choice of Photograph of the Week should not take place here, but in the Site Feedback forum.

Before writing a contribution to this thread, please consider our reason for having this forum. We have this forum because future visitors might be interested in learning more about the pictures. They browsed the gallery, found a few striking images and want to know things like why is it a good picture, why does it work? Or, indeed, why doesn't it work, or how could it be improved?

So, when contributing to this thread, please keep the above in mind. Address the strengths, the shortcomings of the image. It's not good enough to like it, you should spend some time trying to put into words why that is the case. Equally so if you don't like it, or if you can't quite make up your mind.

Let's make sure this forum is a wonderful learning resource for future photographers!

Thank you and enjoy!

Bill Foster
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug WOWOWOWOWOOWOWOWOWOWOWOW! Hard work and patience once again pay off with a really great shot. I am interested to see what people think of the color here. IMO, it's absolutely perfect but it is not, as the photographer notes above, a strictly natural color. It's the natural color of everything if the water were not present, but not the scene as it appeared to the photographer. Now, i think that this is a superior approach and I absolutely LOVE the color here, but I'm curious what you purists out there think of this. In a way, it's more natural than nature. As for the rest, what can one say? Beautiful composition, detail and clarity. This is an amazing photograph. Congrats on a truly well-deserved POW. I love how large Photonet is that I can still find such great portfolios that I have never seen before.

Mona Chrome
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug OK, so I have been looking at this for a bit now and have been trying to come up with how to say this, since I think it might be a first here, but this image does absolutely nothing for me. The natural event just isn't enough for me to carry this image. I feel this is very static and, at the same time a bit busy. Not busy because of the little fish, but because of the white highlights of the water riffle refraction. The shark in the middle stops me dead. The fish, buried in this gray pallor just become a frame instead of an active element. I just find the overall color very unappealing on top of it just being a lackluster photographic composition. Maybe when I get caught up on the hour I lost over the weekend I will be able to see what everyone else does, until then, sorry to be so harsh.

Peter Lyons
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Amazing photo! I'm curious to know how this is done. Is it just a matter of having an underwater housing for your camera, and then snorkeling and shooting downward?

Nick S
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Love it. The respectfully stated - though disparaging - comment above critiquing the composition as "static" and implying that the shark is too central in the frame screams of a textbook mindset being inappropriately applied. In my opinion, this is among the BEST compositions I have ever seen - precisley because it does bend the "rules" with respect to composition. A standard, and more boring, presentation would place the shark at the left third of the frame with the swirling fish occupying the right two thirds of the frame. Such a presentation is likely what I would have gone for if I were ever in a position to attempt such a shot. But the finished product would have been weaker as a result. This photo has a compositionally dynamic balance (or "imbalance" dpending upon your frame of reference) to it, and I laud the photographer for the presentation.

Nick S
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Follow ups: 1) Portfolios are fantastic; and 2) Please explain the set-up for this photo... in other words, how did you manage to obtain the aerial view looking straight down?

Anders Hingel
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug I tend to agree with Mona. I'm convinced by now that it is a photo that can win competitions and also be sold to magazines, but that does not make it into a photo that is worthwhile our weeklong attention or worth a long discussion. With all respect and admiration for the work of Felix who is indeed a great photographer (forget about a single sharks ? go and see his portraits). Anders

Bill Tate
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Felix, I've gazed at your photograph for some time, now, and I've read the few comments above, and find them a bit contrary. I disagree with several of them. I absolutely love the photograph, not so much as art, but as a documentary photograph, artfully done. I enjoyed examining it closely and seeing the small fish frantically turning to excape the shark. Their smooth curving frame is interesting and sets off the photo nicely. I like the color whether it's natural or not. I know we'll be getting lots of comments on color, but you get my vote for very attractive hues. I hope you will give us more information on the details of how it was photographed. A great photograph and worthy of POW -- Congratulations.

Assad Khan
The big fish. Amazing, I love this shot, every aspect of it, the message it sends out, the timing, sharpness, detail, you name it, it's got it. Congratulations!

Sam M-M
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug I have to agree with Mona. This one doesn't grab me, and I think that is because of the fairly static composition. Maybe also because of the colors. But please don't blame my perception on any sort of rigid application of textbook rules. Forget the rules, the photograph itself simply fails to grab me emotionally, and fails to convey to me the true drama I imagine was there. As to the colors, the color shift Felix has chosen downplays the motion and feel of the water, but retains and emphasizes sunlight reflections that seem to me of secondary importance, and fairly distracting, in the drama. Of course the detail is nice, and if the whole thing were larger it might be easier to appreciate it even more. But, for those of you whom it strikes and grabs, please let me know why. I'd love to say when the week is over that I'm wrong, and am missing something here on the first viewing.

David Roossien
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug I agree with the static comment. The composition doesn't have any recognizable form/shape to it. I would prefer to see some motion amongst the smaller fish to show that there is some fear, or "respect". There doesn't seem to be any imminent danger. There's no tail blur--no sense of speed. The crowd feels very detached from the shark. I actually like the reflections on the bottom and wish they were more prominent in the midst of the smaller fish. They have potential for creating something dynamic, but unfortunately, even they don't add to the effectiveness of the scene. Things just don't fit together. It's a solid documentary shot, but I don't feel excited by it.

David Roossien
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Oh, and a white frame would improve the presentation by pulling the viewer outward toward the edges of the frame, through the crowd of fish. Somehow, it makes it easier to recognize their individual shapes.

Nick S
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug It was observed that the composition would be better if the shark were on a "diagonal". Ok, I'll grant that such an ocurrence would marginally improve the composition. But heck, why not go one step further and ask the shark to arrange itself in a reverse 'S' curve (c'mon shark, can't you cooperate and turn your head just a little to the left?). That would make the composition that much better yet again... right? It would be worthwhile remembering that this isn't a studio portrait where you can ask a model to position him/herself 'just so'; or a painting where you can create any composition your heart desires. It's nature, and Felix has presented this slice of nature in a very well-considered, beautiful, and (I would say) dramatic fashion.

Nick S
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Actually, I will add this concession... ... I believe the composition would be better if the shark were placed at the absolute dead centre of the photograph. As it stands now, the shark is positioned ever so slightly towards the bottom. This leads to a question of the photographer: is this full frame? if not, would it be possible to see the complete image to see whether a dead centre composition adds or detracts (by introducing undesirable elements) from the image?

Mona Chrome
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug I would certainly agree that, in a situation like this, one cannot direct the action, however, that doesn't make what we end up with good by default. Sometimes we just get the shot we get, and sometimes it just isn't what it might have been. I do have to agree with one comment made here that, and I think it is what makes me feel this is so static, there is no connection made between the shark and the smaller fish. There is no "moment" happening here. I was fortunate to watch a shark come in with a school of fish behind it from the top of an oil rig-view much like this but deeper water. There was a moment where the shark turned and the fish dispersed-it wasn't long but it was incredible for that split second, but that isn't what has been captured here. Also, on pondering what else was bothering me here, I realized it is also the lack of depth by what I referred to earlier as the gray pallor-I feel this is somewhat greenish and green does tend to decrease depth. Reading through the original comments, before this was a POW, I read that the color was shifted to make the shark appear as it would out of the water, thus changing the color of everything else. This made me decide to see what a color shift might do to the lack of depth and definition of the smaller fish. I am going to post my result not as a better version, but only for comparison as to the sense of depth.

rabinder bhandari
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug realy a pleasing photograph, very tough to capture such scenes has been successfully done by felix hug in a creative way with excellent composition and great details...

Bill Foster
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug I didn't see this coming! I honestly thought everyone would just gush over this photo and Im a little surprised by all the critiques, all valid points I never would have thought of myself. One thing that grabs me ... a lot of people are criticizing this picture for not capturing a sense of motion. David, for instance, wants to see a blur of tail. But, if one thinks about how sharks and fish react in the wild, this is a very accurate depiction, I think. In general, sharks are very slow and deliberate. Of course, they move quickly when they attack, but most of the time, they just lazily cruise in circles. By the same token, fish don't run away from danger in the way that, say, deer do. They don't just haul ass out of the area. Instead they flit and circle and move quickly, but for very small distances. That's what's going on here ... the shark is lazily cruising around and the fish are circling out of his way. Both are watchful, but neither is really doing anything yet. You are all criticizing him for not photgraphing the storm properly when what he photographed was the calm before the storm. Yes, the storm may have been a better picture, but that wasn't what he saw. That, Sam, is why I like this so much. Yes, Mona, sometimes we just have to accept that the picture that was in front of us is what we get and it's not all that it might have been. But, where does one draw the line with that sort of thought? It would have been better with the shark in a different position, sure. It also would have been better if there had been two sharks! Or three! Or a narwhale! For me, the question is, did the photographer do the best that he could with the scene in front of him? Could he have gotten a better composition with the elements that were there? It's impossible to say without seeing a wider view, but I think he did a damn fine job.

Vuk Vuksanovic
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug i suspect this would work a bit better if (for purposes of presentation) the photographer would rotate it 90 degrees clockwise. it still doesn't solve the problem of looking like a rubber shark at the bottom of a california movie mogul's aquarium. OK, if that's too harsh, how about an impotent vegetarian shark in a failed bond villain's under-sea aquarium and the result of some misguided genetic experiments. any way you slice this: sure the tiny fish are avoiding it, but not with any urgency beyond shuffling around a sea sponge tumbling along the sandy floor. sometimes things don't quite work out in the best possible way and the photographer is not to blame. that said, a diagonal shark could have been produced simply by twisting the camera a bit.

Mona Chrome
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Bill, I think the line is where we don't accept it just because it was the best we could do. The goal should be to have all of the elements come together-the moment, the composition, the execution etc. Maybe a moment was missed here or maybe there was never a better composition to be had, we don't know that, but we know if the photo works for us or it doesn't and shouldn't that be the line?

Bill Foster
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Point to you, Mona ... you are right. It's a hard line between judging whether the photographer did the best that he or she could do and whether the photo is the best that it could be. How much credit should one give the photographer for trying in a difficult circumstance and how much should one say "screw that ... I'm sorry if it was difficult, but all I care about is the end result." Although it sounds harsh, the second response is the more correct one I feel and I do too often err if favor of appreciating the work involved instead of the end result. That said, I still think this works for me as it illustrates, not the action but the silent moment and the restrained power before the action.

Richard Ashby
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug It certainly is a striking photograph regardless of how it was made. I like the fact that it doesn't conform to "Camera Club rules. The only thing that seems a little "Fishy" to me is that if the capture of the image was from a natural environment and not created on dry land, why is there no shadow of the shark or diver on the bottom? Also, the shadow cast on the body of the shark by the dorsal fin suggests an artificial light source coming in at an oblique angle unless the sun was under water. Is the image a composite of more than one photograph?

Txipiri Pancracio
7/7 Me sorprende la originalidad que aporta el angulo cenital, que permite observar la distancia critica con respecto al depredador. Tambien me seduce el mensaje parabolico que nos habla de la soledad de los poderosos, que estan constantemente rodeados de gente que les teme. Excelente se mire por donde se mire. Enhorabuena.

Marc G.
Let'm swim ! :-) I just read the thread and saw there was a lot of criticism about the composition so far. For example: "There doesn't seem to be any imminent danger. There's no tail blur - no sense of speed. The crowd feels very detached from the shark." - David Roossien. Or : "There is no connection made between the shark and the smaller fish." - Mona Chrome."This one doesn't grab me, and I think that is because of the fairly static composition." - Sam M-M. On the other side of the rainbow, this picture has received multiple awards, and here is what Nick Scholte wrote: "In my opinion, this is among the BEST compositions I have ever seen - precisely because it does bend the "rules" with respect to composition." So, what about this composition ? Firstly, I would like to observe that a picture is not JUST a composition. It is also the CHOICE OF A SUBJECT MATTER, a CAMERA ANGLE, and THE CAPTURE OF A MOMENT IN TIME, etc. I think, if we are to understand why this picture received several awards, we have to be a little humble and wonder what the strong points about this picture would be. Imo, the subject matter is a real stunner. That alone sets it apart and above many other photos in a competition. What are the odds for someone to find himself ABOVE a shark in the first place ? And then what are the odds to have a little story going on with many small fishes swimming away around this shark in an almost perfect oval shape ?! I find really weird, that some people who criticized the composition of this POW would not even mention about the picture's great originality. Now, let's talk about composition... To me, this picture is hardly composed at all. I don't think it's a great composition, but I think it WORKS great for the purpose of the picture. The purpose, as I see it, being to simply tell us the story of a shark surrounded by its potential victims, which wisely swim away. We all understand this story, don't we ? Some of you thought this picture should have been MORE DRAMATIC & MORE DYNAMIC. I'm simply asking: why so ? Do we really need an increase of our adrenaline ? I thought, that's what sex was for, no ? :-)) I agree that this picture is fairly QUIET, but so is the sea... and why does it matter so much whether the shark is horizontally or diagonally placed within the frame ? Try moving the shark diagonally using PS, just for the sake of this study, and you will note then, that the picture won't have gain much in terms of dynamism. What gives this STATIC feel, indeed, to the photo, is simply the symetrical (centralized) composition, where the main subject is furthermore surrounded by a circular (oval) shape. Such centralization is unavoidably going to deliver fairly static images. So what ?! What's wrong with a fairly static representation of a dynamic subject in motion ? I find it rather interesting - something different. I can't agree with those who said that there was NO CONNECTION between shark and small fishes. Unless you mean that there is no connection between the perimeter of a circle and its center... The connection is geometric, here. The shark is in the middle and all small fishes try to escape in a geometrical pattern. That's exactly the connection, and I believe we all see it. So why ask for another one ? The composition of this picture simply co?ides exactly with the essence of the photo - its story. I get a sense of peace and natural order here. I even get the feel that the sun is peacefully watching above this scene, thanks to these beautiful sun reflections. Are they "distracting" ? By no means ! They are NATURAL. They are just a couple of bright areas in the background, visually far less powerful than the shark, and than the oval shape around. They don't get my direct attention. They just add a little silence and peace in the sea. I love this paradox of a quiet and natural, expected, daily, murder scene, taking place in a silent world, with no screams at all. "A rubber shark at the bottom of a california movie mogul's aquarium". How would such a camera angle possibly give you the sense of urgency you are asking for? Why do we need to feel this urgency in the first place? What gives you the impression of this being a rubber shark? Would the color of the shark be partly responsible for this? The shark stands out in the dead center already, so the visually very strong color of the shark in contrast with these grey surroundings, ends up really nailing the shark in the middle as the center of attention. This adds to the static feel imo, and it even gave me, at first sight, the impression, that a color manipulation might have taken place here. But, no... This picture wasn't manipulated, according to the data sheet. So we may now wonder whether this impressive color contrast is a good or a bad thing. It surely adds to the static feel. And I see this as a part of this picture's great originality, which consists in showing in a quiet way what everyone would expect to be depicted as something dramatic. The laws of nature are not dramatic- that's a human judgement -: they simply are what they are. As for the choice of this POW, among a couple of other great shots in Felix's folders, I'd like to imagine that originality is what set this one apart, and why this picture received several awards... I think this POW is really one of the most unusual and interesting POWs we ever had. Asking for more drama and dynamism here is asking to the photographer to stop thinking out of the box. Let'm swim ! :-)

Rick Vivian
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Congratulations Felix, on POW and the recognition that accompanies this honour. If nothing else, being chosen as POW offers exposure of your fine work to those of us who havenメt been fortunate enough to see it before. Thanks to the elves for that once again. As usual, it is with great delight that I have waded my way through the clichéd critiques of the regular モmoanersヤ that frequent this forum. I disagree with most of their モimprovementsヤ and criticisms not because they are technically incorrect or unfounded, but because my appreciation of this photograph, seemingly unlike their's, is a subjective one rooted in an emotional connection with the subject matter. I believe that a photographメs impact upon an individual is dependent upon an emotional connection of some sort at least (even if itメs just your imagination) without which, the image is purely a collection of tones and colours, whether random or contrived, merely invoking the technical ramblings of those in pursuit of a scribe or hero icon. Sam M-M requested モfor those of you whom it strikes and grabs, please let me know whyヤ. So this is what this photograph does for me, Sam. I have spent my life at the beaches of the east coast of Australia and have witnessed this wonder of nature, as described by Nikos Moraitakis in his June 2004 critique of this photograph, during the yearly en-masse migration of bait fish to the gutters and shoals of the beaches and the predatory response of the local shark population. Itメs a publicized yearly event here and is covered by the local news services with aerial video from choppers and sub-surface footage from intrepid divers. Thereメs always some die hard board riders dangling their legs in the モsoupヤ of bait fish as itメs carved open by a meandering shark. Itメs really exciting stuff. When viewed from the air, these schools of bait fish present a black void, in the blue/green of the ocean foreshore, extending for kilometers along beaches and hundreds of metres wide. The sound from in the water (with head submerged) is a rustling sort of clicking sound that changes pitch in time with the directional changes of the school. When added to the adrenalin rush of all those scary sharks about, itメs quite a buzz. So Sam, when I view the POW, I get to relive all those sights, sounds, feelings and emotions (not forgetting the smell and taste of the salt water). I see a familiar sight and the familiar erratic movement of the schooling fish. I can almost anticipate the movement of the モindecisiveヤ fish in the photograph at 1 oメclock to the shark. I feel I know the path they have followed and the path they will be driven to take in this symphony of survival. And below, the meandering shark continues to モyank their chainヤ. Maybe he wonメt feed today, maybe he will. There it is Sam. For me, the colour temp is a moot point because in the wild you donメt necessarily see things in モactualヤ or モappropriateヤ colours when youメre scared, excited or in awe. As for the モIメve seen a better or more dynamic sceneヤ argumentナ. show us how you captured it in cameraナ.it always looks different to the eye (unless itメs contrived). As for モthe angle of the shark needs to be this way or that wayヤナsave it for the nudes critique forum. A top shot of a wonder of nature that, regrettably, not many forum frequenters seem to have had the sheer delight of experiencing. Great capture Felix. Nice choice elves. Nice critique Marc G. Iメm going back for another look!

Landrum Kelly
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug I can relate to this photo on two levels, as a photographer and as a sea kayaker. I have seen water this clear near the reefs off the north coast of Cuba (near Camaguey) in a sit-on-top "kayak" that I rented from the locals. I find it a credible and a powerful image. The ocean can look exactly like this near coral reefs. It does not evoke in me the sense of looking down into the aquarium, but of looking down into ten- to twenty-foot deep water in the open ocean near shore or reef. I also love schooling fish, whether I see them in the ocean or in an aquarium. One can't capture their movement in a still photo, but one can capture that sense of the way they move together. Sharks often laze along, and schooling fish typically simply get out of their way. Somestimes one can look straight down and see every sea urchin on the bottom. This photo speaks to me. I love it. Congratulations, Felix, on having this named Photo of the Week. --Lannie

Vuk Vuksanovic
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug You are right about the sense of calm, which is the typical state of nature. the fish don't need video games to be happy and generally just swim along quietly and without any sense of urgency. yet somehow the shallow water and so much sun robs the image of any deep sea solemnity (or my steretypic expectations), though i suspect getting more detail in a larger version would probably cure that too. in all, it is a very nice picture, but not something to go nuts over the way some people are. one thing i am curious about is where the photographer was standing/swimming when he took this. why is there no shadow of his presence, given that it appears the sun is very much overhead. not an accusation of a montage, just wondering how it all came about.

Mathieu Landry
A fine balance First of all, congrats Felix on a great capture. I think the technical elements are all in line. I would see this photograph in National Geopgrahic no problem, as part of a documentary series. A problem with POW is the lack of context. The POW is never pigeonholed and some folks may have difficulty changning their foothold from a certain type of photography to the next, documentary, fine art, architecture, etc... As a natural documentary shot, your representation is tops. I do have a comment on originality however... Marc G. wrote: "I find really weird, that some people who criticized the composition of this POW would not even mention about the picture's great originality." I feel that underwater pictures always get a certain WOW factor from the general audience because a large percentage of the population doesn't dive often or not at all. The fact that we don't see a certain scene in our normal activities doesn't make it more orginal by any stretch. That kind of objectivity is difficult to reach, I admit. But this is what sharks do and I bet any photographer here that would spend the time in the right location with diving training could get the same result (not to downgrade Felix's work). IMO, accessibility is what made this image win many contests... On the 'static' issue I have the following to say: I think our brain 'knows' what this image represents and yearns it to continue in time. But we're halted by the physical limit of photography. So in general, I believe a scene like this will inadvertantly be a lot better for most in a filmed format. For those, I suggest viewing the spectacular documentary series 'The Blue Planet'. Perhaps you'll even enjoy this image more after. For the rest, let's marvel at a fine piece of nature, captured with respect.

Landrum Kelly
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug The sun is not directly overhead, but seems to be coming from slightly "below" and to the left, if the shadow of the dorsal fin (on the other fin) is any indication. The depth of the water is indeterminate from the picture alone, although it cannot be too deep, and it is almost impossible to tell how far the bottom is below the fish. The shadow of the shark might thus be in the darker bottom area to the top of the photo. Shadows also tend to become diffused if the light is coming from many angles, as it will if it has to travel through waves. In truly deep water, artificial lighting would have to be used. The water would have to be absolutely and perfectly still to get this from a standing position, and even then one would tend to get at least a partial reflection from the sky. It surely must have been shot underwater, probably during snorkeling--or through a glass-bottomed boat, but that seems unlikely. (Can the D100 be waterproofed? I presume that the answer is "yes.") The patterns on the bottom indicate that there were waves on the surface, and that the light was the natural light of the sun coming through those waves. I must say that I think that it would be a bit better with a slight shift toward blue, based on my own experience with colors in fairly shallow tropical waters on a sunny day, but it is still very nice. --Lannie

Marc G.
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug "somehow the shallow water and so much sun robs the image of any deep sea solemnity (or my steretypic expectations)" Interesting... How deep do you all think this water is ? Imo, not very deep at all. I'd say there's also a fairly high chance that this be a baby shark, and that the scene would be far smaller than we may think at first. But do we really need a deep sea here...? What difference would it make anyway, except for the fact that we'd hardly have such a nice and bright sand background, and that we would lose clarity as well - wouldn't we ? "In all, it is a very nice picture". Well, we can at least agree about this one...:-)

Charles Carson
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Thanks to Mona, Marc G and others for stimulating an interesting discussion here. I can see that from an abstract, purely compositional perspective the photo here might seem a bit "static". But, I consider that one of its strengths. The predatory shark is dictating this natural arching pattern of schooled fish and is doing so almost passively as it moves very quietly and methodically through the water. This natural phenomenon is powerfully conveyed here by placing the shark in the middle of the frame and through the absence of any overt drama (motion blur, etc.). There was no missed flurry of activity that generated this pattern, and there will be no flurry of activity to follow. Fleeting natural patterns like these that arise through the interaction of species are fascinating (and, I might add, exceedingly complex). Felix has succeeded through this image in showing us not only the beauty of the pattern itself, but in also giving us a sense of the quiet, almost spontaneous manner in which it was generated and is maintained as the shark moves through the water.

Marc G.
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug "I feel that underwater pictures always get a certain WOW factor from the general audience because a large percentage of the population doesn't dive often or not at all. The fact that we don't see a certain scene in our normal activities doesn't make it more orginal by any stretch" - Mathieu L. Underwater pictures have a wow factor for some, yes. But not all of them have for me. You may be right, tho, that this picture is in fact less original than I thought. I don't dive, so I'm not sure. But I can tell I've never seen any picture of this subject matter shot this way. Nothing even close. Perhaps I should see more underwater pix then...

Sam M-M
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug I see some of what others (Lannie, Marc) are admiring in this, but I think I'd have an easier time seeing the advantages if this were significantly larger on the screen. For example, the little ripples by the lower fin lead me to believe that there is some motion depicted and that this is shot from over the water, not in it. But I can barely make them out. This may be less "still" than some are thinking, and more "dramatic" than others think. And those reflections are still very distracting - they pull my eye right off the shark every time.

Sam M-M
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Marc, For some other photos of schooling fish and their behavor around sharks, you can look at this fellows photos: http://www.bigblueimages.com/Sharks.htm (I don't think any of his images match this one, harsh as I may have been above). I have a brother-in-law who has raised schooling fish in tanks in a fish farm - they are fascinating to watch, and can create other interesting patterns. I'm surprised more aquariums don't have good exhibits on school behavior.

Marc G.
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Shot from above the water, not in it ? I'd think so, yes. As for the link, it confirms exactly what I wrote above: not a single top view here of this subject, and that's the magic of this POW imo. Never seen this angle before. Regards.

Charles Carson
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug A "failed attempt at capturing a natural moment" (C.R. Hips)? For the reasons I gave above, I disagree. The "power" of this moment is its serenity. The schooled fish are not in a frenzy as the shark swims through. They are calmly going about their business while maintaining a healthy distance. As each individual fish reacts independently to the shark, this very beautiful natural pattern arises. All of this would be lost if we only saw a teeming mass of grey blur surrounding the shark. We need to see simultaneously the individual fish and the overall collective pattern.

Marshall Goff
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug I won't try to add to the overall erudition of this thread, or try to match the word count of some previous posters. One quick thought about the centered-ness of this composition, though:

I find that the near-centering of the shark works here for a couple reasons. First, the swoop of the smaller fish is visually nice. Second, it's a shark. For most of us, a shark is a cynosural force - it demands our attention. It takes "center stage", if you will. So, while another composition might well be effective also, to me this one matches a certain feeling that the experience could offer. Onward.

Marc G.
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug "By putting everything into focus he has in effect killed the moment, instead of capturing it. The swirling fish might have been a swirling blur around the static shark , giving the scene more power. I am reminded of that great image by Salgado of the train station where everything was a mass of blured humanity except for the one person who was standing perfectly still." - C.R. Hips After writing this interesting bit, I think you need to further enlight us about the way to achieve this blur you are asking for. There is no train here, and no still actor. If you'd want any blur on the small fishes while the shark would be frozen, the small fishes would need to be swimming a lot faster than the shark, and the photographer would have far less than 1/4s to guess right the exact relative speed of both the shark and the small fishes. To get a *significant* blur out of it, you'd need the small fishes to be swimming at least 8 to 16 times faster than the shark. How sure are you that this was actually the case ? And did you even know all this ? I believe you just asked for something, that was totally impossible - technically speaking. It's easy to say what you want at a fine restaurant. Cooking the dish (or the fish) can be a lot more complicated...

Anders Hingel
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug I was very wrong in believing earlier on that this POW could not occupy our attention or be a good basis for a discussion. It obviously is, due to the many very qualified input. Interesting reading up till now. Anders

Bill Foster
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug You know, I remember the POW of the racetrack a few months back and I thought that was a really original shot. Then, a few people posted some links and I saw - literally - at least 100 similar versions and I realized that, while the picture was certainly new to me, it was hardly original. This is another case though, Mathieu suggests that any diver with equipment and access could do this, but I ask, why haven't they? The angle of this, the clarity of the water, the unique composition ... there are a few hundred thousand pictures here on PN and I haven't seen another one even similar to this. None of the pictures in the link posted above are remotely close to this, although they show similar behavior. By any reasonable measure, this picture is absolutely original. Hips, I see a sense of motion. To me, the fish look like a great swirling mass and, as Marc notes, how could you get more motion out of the fish while still keeping the shark so clear? It's the detail that makes this shot for me. Finally, it's time to weigh in Felix! I think we would all like to know .... 1)Were you snorkling or above water when you took this? 2)How big is that shark? 3)How deep is the water? Good discussion for a great picture.

M. H.
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug I agree with many of the valid points made by Marc G. Very interesting shot. Cheers M.

Mona Chrome
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug One thing I do have to admit, as someone said a bit earlier about how people may view disparate POW's, is that I tend to look at photographs as pieces of art, not as documentary, or nature or whatever. I tend to lump them into how I see them artistically. Sometimes that may fly in the face of the purpose of the creator. But I do still feel that, no matter the reason for the photo, those principles still apply in the final analysis. A lot of the talk here by those that have responded to this photo in a positive way has been supported to a large degree by their discussion of subject matter. Some just commenting on the incredible scene and others seemingly mesmerized by the capture of a shark. It all made me think back to a somewhat recent POW where we discussed how much does exoticism, in this case maybe what we might call personal exoticism, plays into our appreciation of what we look at. As I said in my first post, the subject matter was not enough to make this photo for me. Maybe I am fortunate-although many times it has felt more unfortunate-, but I have been around sharks a great deal. I certainly don't study them, so I can't say I see any particularly unique behavior being documented. I have no emotional attachment or fear of them, so I can't react on that plane. So I am, again, left with looking this as a piece of art and how does it hold up for me. It just doesn't without some other hook. As said earlier, I know what can happen in these situations and I just don't see it here. Even as a lazy swim and the fish reacting, I am left cold by the poor use of line, color and depth--yes Marc, there is a post where Felix does indicate he changed the color in the original postings. Camera angle could have helped this photo to change the use of line and thus potentially changing the dynamics. The color could have been presented more natural, instead of being changed, or even selectively modified to possibly increase the depth. And then there is the moment thing. Could this have been a better photo, I hope so. Right now it appears to only be effective on possibly the level of document of a given time and place. But this is my opinion and I certainly don't begrudge anyone theirs. As to the award thing, I don't know these awards and I know there are many vanity presses out there with their own "awards". But I generally don't find awards to be determinate of a piece of arts merits or my opinion of such-now maybe if it was in the collection of the Louvre or MOMA, that would be another thing altogether--probably not!

Yongbo Jiang
Guessing Fishes were under water, but not Felix, it's a great capture.

Vincent K. Tylor
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug For anybody that owns a boat and uses it on the ocean, this is not that original of a scene. In fact, I have seen better and could have even captured it. However, certain things were far more of a priority than taking a photo at that time; mostly cataching the fish.

John Falkenstine
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Once the oversized black border is trimmed off, the image size is only 516 X 341 pixels, quite tiny, and when enlarged to have a closer look, the detail just goes away. I don't understand the extensive discussion from what is an undersized image that's difficult to see in detail.

Yongbo Jiang
Hi John, For such a small size, you can see both eyes on the smaller fish, it's one of reason that I like this picture.

Daniel Rice
looks nice to me Nice capture. I like it. Reminds me of a shot of a diver surrounded by barracuda. Keep sharing, your photos are fantastic.

Matt Vardy
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Just wanted to drop in and say congrats to felix on getting POW and the long list of awards the image has received. I do remember seeing this image before, whether it was in the TRP or in a magazine I can't quite remember. From my perspective as someone who knows next to nothing about 'aquatic' photography, let me say that I enjoy the image... not just because of the technique or the unusual composition, but more so the way felix has captured this moment in time. A moment not entirely uncommon in the life of a fish or shark, but one that is rarely captured and conveyed with such tension and sense of movement (of course a result of the bird's eye view). Actually, when I look at this shot I'm reminded of another award-winning image (which involved flying birds as opposed to swimming fish). Regards,

M. H.
.... C.R. Hips : " I would encourage PN staff to find works that go beyond the basic purpose of photo-journalism when choosing a POW. " Such a ridiculous request! Because Photo-journalism is not part of photography or because it has no artistic merits? What about street photography? Or documentary? We shouldn't discuss them either because they are not fine art? I suggest that you try to see every piece for what it is, and understand the artist's intentions before coming to any conclusions. Sometimes accepting works as their face value and enjoying them shows more dept than creating imaginary and abstract critiques. I find the image interesting while I am not in love it....however I can easily appreciate it.

Charles Carson
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug I certainly can appreciate the benefits of considering and discussing this image from a purely artistic perspective that focuses on abstract notions of line, shape, color, etc. Perhaps, from such a perspective alone, the image does not hold up as well. But the documentary aspects of the shot (its context, the story it tells, etc.) are very important too. And, in the end, I think it should be judged on both sets of criteria together. Not just because they both apply; but because for an image like this one they are dependent upon one another. The aesthetic is not just an end unto itself, but serves to further the editorial content of the image as well. I think Felix has done an excellent job here of beautifully documenting the environment within which this shark lives and its relationship with the other inhabitants of that environment. So many nature shots are not much more than animal portraits. Here the aerial perspective, the centrally positioned shark, the curving school of fish that surrounds most of the outside of the frame, the marbled canvas of light and shadow, all work together to provide not just a pleasing portrait of a shark, but a fuller and quite beautiful depiction of the predator-prey relationship that defines its existence. Finally, I disagree with the suggestion that those who've commented positively on this image are simply wowed by its "exotic" nature (it's underwater, involves a shark, etc.). There is perhaps some of that reflected in the comments above, but you also see in the comments a genuine appreciation for the beautiful way that this image speaks to us about the natural world.

Bill Foster
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Well Hips, I'm with M.H. Isn't the purpose of the POW to stimulate a good discussion? From that point of view, it doesn't even matter if it's photo-journalism or even if it's good. It only matters if it's interesting. From the amunt and quality of comments here, this was obviously a sucessful POW. Furthermore, I don't see how you can denigrate this photo from a quality stand point. I don't agree with the points that have been made about compositon, color and shutter speed choices, but they are understandable. It may not be "meaningful art" (whatever the hell that is) but it certainly provides a vivid and interesting picture of reality, which is an equally valid purpose of photography. I find this to be a completely worthy POW.

Pawel Czapiewski
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Thread is quite long so please forgive me if it's already been suggested. Here is a flipped version for your consideration. Regards,

Yongbo Jiang
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Hi Pawel, after you flipped the image, it lost the 3D feeling and the fishes got slowed down by the gravity. That's probably the original view angle, which is less powerful.

Karen Roeder
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug I worked for the University of Georgia for 10 years as a pro photographer for the Marine Education Department & have photographed this type subject extensively. Frankly the amount of criticism of this photo is ridiculous IMO. I am addressing my comments to the face value of the piece only � as it should be, also IMO: A stand alone statement. This is an excellent photo w/ good composition , perfect exposure w/ way tricky lighting, and plenty psychological energy. Damn near 7/7, which I hardly ever give.

Mathieu Landry
Flipped! I disagree that the flipped version doesn't work. This simple adjustment makes this photo 10 times more interesting and appealing to me. IMO it adds the dynamism it was lacking; the shark doesn't need to 'push' it's way through the fish anymore, it's 'falling' in it, making for a much more elegant photograph. For me, it has more chance to stand on its own this way.

Karen Roeder
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug I disagree w/ Mathieu. The flipped version is a no-go w/ a wrong angle artistically, but wait. Part of the fascination w/ swimming sharks is that they �push� and weave their way into a prey�s environment right before they strike with explosive force. The only thing that makes the flip right is the angle on the shark. Check the dorsal fins. In the original the photographer is over the shark pointing slightly toward himself. I think he may have made a flip already.

August Horvath
Not just a snapshot I'm glad that Hips clarified, because the Hips/Mona "Art" perspective was coming off as a bit pretentious and condescending to my eyes as well. I'll assume Hips speaks for Mona also and that their real problem with this picture is that, whether or not it aspires to High Art, it doesn't make it because it assertedly is essentially documentary and doesn't "go further than the basic requirements of a shoot" as Hips now puts it, which I take to mean that it's a snapshot. I think Hips here has put forth the basic point of disagreement. Several commentators think that this photo goes well beyond those basic requirements, especially those experienced with the basic requirements and aesthetic conventions for pictures of this type. Hug has captured a situation where nature happens to arrange itself into a pleasing geometric composition. I agree it is not the most pleasing conceivable composition, and I agree with Mona and Hips that photos should not be given the benefit of "this was the best one could do" under the circumstances. It's still a solid composition for my money, and well seen in the sense that it is not obvious to every observer or from every viewpoint that schools of fish form a beautiful ellipse around an intruder. (Vincent says he's seen and could have captured it better, but placed a higher priority on catching the fish. He must really like fish to prefer them over winning all those photo awards.) For me there is also dynamism and drama, not [just] in the composition, but in the details. You can tell that the shark's head was pointing a 1 o'clock an instant ago but has just swung to 3 o'clock, and the fish at around 2 o'clock have just realized they are going the wrong way. If you do not see drama here, I pity your inability to imagine yourself as a little fish! But let's ignore that for a while and ask what for me is always the central question: Has the photographer told me something about his feelings about the scene? Here again, I think so. Hug has done so through his color choice, for example. Let's face it, there's no right or true color for a scene like this, and Hug could have chosen anything from a neutral grey (blah) to a more primary blue (boringly conventional - but I wonder whether the prints that won awards and were published were colored differently?). Instead we get a sophisticated grey-green that conveys cold menace. I don't suppose Hug is saying anything especially profound with this picture about love, death, war, horror, the meaning of life, or whatever High Art is supposed to be about. But to me he is saying something more than "Hey, here's something pretty/interesting," which is the message conveyed by a snapshot. His message does not pound you over the head the way many contrived Art photos do. You have to invest a little in an understanding of the subject matter and the situation to pick up the emotional content in the photographer's subtle choices, and maybe not everyone is willing to make this investment in a "travel" or "wildlife" or "fish" photo, or whatever genre box they feel comfortable putting this one in. Finally, I commend Felix on not contributing to this POW thread yet. Let us chatterers have our say, then weigh in at the end. The speculation and navel gazing must be amusing.

Mona Chrome
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug August, just to clarify, agree, disagree or whatever, please don't ever assume anyone speaks for me. CR and I may have similar conclusions about how successful this piece is, but if I don't say it, it isn't mine. Second, i would hope that my opinion in evaluating a photo based on how I see it as to the use of compositional elements doesn't sound pretentious and condescending, this is what we all should be doing and if we get different results and conclusions, they are just that--I articulate my reasons and I hope others theirs, by doing so, we are given an opportunity to revisit our own conclusions with new ideas and perspectives. Finally, I do have a bent towards the artistic merits of a photo. When we shoot a commercial photo or an editorial photo, both of which I do, there is always an underlying purpose that stimulates what the subject matter is and possibly even how one must approach the subject. But that does not give the photographer a free pass to not try and do the best they can with the situation. The results often are adequate for the intended use, but not always what we might want to present as our best work. The goal should be to create work, in any arena, that we would be willing to stand behind as our best and that is how I look at these photos. As I said, this is an exchange of ideas and I appreciate the disparate views put forth here and am glad that "nice photo" comments are not allowed without a discussion as to why that is the conclusion.

Karen Roeder
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug gees, you guys are so stuck on your selves. I�ve taught college photography and graphic design and am used to the critique forum and see a lot of attitude here. I can spell it out for you in detail but really, this is an A and any pro knows it.

Mary Ball
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Moderator reminder: Please stick to critiques of the image and refrain from critiques of other member's critques or responding to other's critiques of your critique - or critiques of critiques of others critiques. See what I mean ;-)

Let's stay on track here guys - everyone is entitled to their opinions. Certainly a little debate back and forth is good but at some point - move on.

Also - please let's not get into name calling... For instance - calling other members "ridiculous" or "pretentious" and so on.

August Horvath
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug I apologize to all and especially to Mona for any offense. Actually I think that many of Mona's and Hips' comments have been extremely insightful and enlightening. I only wished to make the point that we do not need to "elevate" this "travel photo" to "Art status" for the sake of discussion because, even if it is not Art, travel and Art photos do not occupy different elevations. We are all just playing with our black boxes after all. And there is plenty of expressive content in this beautiful image to which to react.

Eric James
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug The photo is great but I find the original presentation awkward; the flipped presentation works much better for me. The covers on Climbing magazine and Rock and Ice often have shots of climbers taken from above and 9 times out of 10 I prefer the flipped version. Here's an example: http://climbing.com/photo-video/gallery/90s/index5.html Congratulation felix!

Robert X
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug When I first saw this I thought it was a photograph of a metal sculpture, with a shark shape hole in the middle and someone looking through...it took me a minute or so to realise what it was. Now I know what it is, there are two things that put me offthe image - one is the fact that the shark is below and behind the camera (if you see what I mean) and i found that the flip done above rectified this and made it easier to look at. The other is the colour of the shark, which my brain tells me should be grey. Now I may be wrong and maybe this is a brown shark, but still it bothers me a little. Maybe this is something to do with the temperature change that caused the colours to look like they did not have the water there ? I must say though that the comment about this temerature change making the colours more "real" is a little odd. This is surely like a shark looking at pictures of us and thinking that the colours would be more real if we were underwater ?! It is nonetheless a good photo, and I would be pleased to have taken it, as Vincent is no doubt pleased that he didn't take a better version. There is definitely movement in it - you can see the exact point where the bait ball fish are breaking off in different directions. I am also impressed with how many competitions one pic can win !

Aurelio Stoppini
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug It is a fabulous sea shot, but: 1) the version posted here is too small, a bigger one would have appreciated 2) perspective looks a bit innatural, imho it looks better when rotated 90 degree counterclockwise, or totally flipped as above

Greg S
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug *** The photo is totally excellent ***

Eugenio Demmenie
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug I think the picture would be more appreciated if one could see more detail, because I think there so much to see....the shark, the fish, the structure of the soil.



As for the orientation of the picture: Chacun a son gout. My preference would be as shown above: I like to read from left to right from top to bottom. That feels more comfortable to me :)

Bill Tate
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Now all we need is a view from the underside of the shark.

Felix Hug
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Hi guys. Sorry I cant go all in length, as I'm out and about shooting some more "sharks". First I like to thank for the POW choice, as it allows me to receive so many valuable and appreciated comments about my work. I just like to say this: 1. The shot was taken outside the water from a platform. 2. The color of the shark species is brownish to yellow... not grey.. as some pointed out. Its NOT a white tip reef shark. 3. The image has no real direction, so anyway you turn it.. fine with me..;-).. honestly its rather a minor issue I feel. 4. I'm sorry that the image loaded is a bit small... at the time i did it, size was an issue cause of KB's, but alkso of copyright matters. 5. I dont expect all people to like the image. Its a highly successfull image for what it is and its a great shot, close to perfection I feel.. and with me many editors, publishers and judges around the world. But what matters most to me its that it tells the story of the place and the moment the way i want it to be told...saying all this, its not my favorit image..;-)... i like some of my people images more, but thats a personal choice. Thats it for now... i might check back later. Thanks again for all the comments. Praise as much as critique. I wished we all would have the possibilty to get as much feedback on all our images...

Aleks T.
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Im sorry for not writing a message thats over 3 million words cause this photo takes them away. Great composition, I love how the shark is surrounded by the fishes, this gives a good impression of sharks� living. This photo really deserves the competition wins that it has got.

Bolti Ankheen
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug everybody has own observation as i have seen so many different ideas n suggestions given also few of fellows attached the modified versions no matter what i like every version of it. i cant point out any flaw in it. Great shot n congratulations. Regards

Jenny Darden
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug I have to disagree with everyone so far who has said that the innate limitations of a shot should not play into our assessment. Some shots ARE harder to get than others, due to lighting issues, movement of subject, etc. Many nature photos fall into this hard-to-get-shot category. Including this one. If I sat out on the platform with the same camera and lens in this location all day every day for months I doubt that I would be able to A. duplicate this or B. create a better composition. To say that this kind of dedication is not worthy of our admiration, or that it is not one of the things that makes a great photographer seems pretty nuts to me. Besides which, I bet that every one of you has at some point discounted a perfectly nice shot because the subject matter was "easy"; examples being sunsets, beaches, flowers, attractive females, etc. Given this, I am continually surprised that there seem to be no incentives for taking on the trickier subject matter. So I think that this is a wonderful shot. It is not perfectly adherent to the "rules" of composition, but I don't think that the shark would have cooperated if the photographer had asked it to, say, turn its head a little more to the right. And maybe the photographer could have gotten a better angle by getting into the water with the shark, but I can see how that might not be the best idea. Also, I find it commendable that this image does not try too hard to anthropomorphize the sea life. It's just a shark being a shark, and fish being fish, and to me these things are beautiful enough; I don't feel the need to try to attach my own meanings to them. To say that these creatures have no emotion seems a little unnecessary. Hello? They are FISH. I have quite a bit of experience with fish, but I still couldn't tell you whether one was having a good or bad day.

Thomas K
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug "The depth of the water is indeterminate from the picture alone, although it cannot be too deep, and it is almost impossible to tell how far the bottom is below the fish." You sound a little like Jacques Cousteau, but anyway, Lanny, one CAN find the shark's shadow, and thus gain a sense of the true depth (not too deep)of the water, plus there is plenty of info in that regard from the shadow of the schooling fish. The shark shadow? It's right there in the image. From top to bottom, it's just below the bottom edge of the fish school above the shark -- you can see it matches the sharks body and pectoral fin perfectly. Congrats, Mona Chrome, prior to your enty, this was all gushing. The nature of the comments changed as soon as you posted your comments -- almost as fast as a school of fish reacting to a predator. I don't see the drama, in fact if you put some whiskers on the shark it'd look a lot like a catfish. I see it as a depiction of one more of nature's little dances. A waltz perhaps.

Mona Chrome
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug When I read a comment that suggests that limitations of a shot should play into our assessment, I wonder why I get up at 4 in the morning and go to bed at midnight, stand in swarms of mosquitos and brush ticks off for 5 or 6 days straight hoping the elements will cooperate to get the shot I am after--my assistant wonders anyway. I suppose, under this type of rationale, I could do it for one day and if the magic doesn't happen, no one would care because "it was hard"-to quote a certain politician. I haven't tried that one with clients and galleries yet, tho. At the same time, I do think we need to take our hats off to someone who does get a seminal shot in difficult circumstances(is sitting or laying on a platform above the water difficult circumstances?), or who takes incredible personal risk to record an important event, but otherwise I just think a shot is either great or it isn't-it just falls where it falls on the continuum. Sometimes it may even appear to be easy or just luck and fortunate circumstance, but a great shot is still a great shot even if we are just driving down the road and happen to notice the moon above a quaint little New Mexico village. That said, I do want to say, for clarity sake, that I am not saying that I think this is an awful photograph, it isn't, but it doesn't hold me for all the reasons I have stated before. Honestly, if I had been there, I might have taken a photograph like this and also waited to see if others would present themselves, if I had the time and other tourists weren't pushing me away. Film is cheap(dating myself again), but I probably would not have felt compelled to exhibit this print. But again, that is just me and I think everyone has a slightly different aesthetic, which is a good thing.

Landrum Kelly
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Well, now that Tom has analogized Mona to a predator and the rest of us to prey, I feel more comfortable responding. First, I don't think that Jenny is saying that we MUST take the difficulty of a shot into consideration. Rather, she is challenging those who might say that difficulty should NEVER be taken into consideration. No, we need not take the difficulty of every shot into consideration, but if someone takes a shot from the top of Everest, then I am going to take that into consideration, especially if it is Edmund Hillary's shot of Tenzing Norgay in 1953 and neither the shot nor the climb has ever been done before--facts which complicate the difficulty by introducing danger and uncertainty. There are certain types of photojournalistic, nature, and adventure shots which derive much of their interest from the situations that they depict, as well as the circumstances of capturing those situations. That said, I have to concede to Mona that many times the shot can and should stand on its own. If aesthetics were the only way of evaluating a shot, then perhaps we could always say that. (War correspondents and photographers of Dachau or Auschwitz, feel free to jump in any time.) Tom, I have said that the water is probably not too deep, and that is about as far as I am prepared to go. How deep it is, and how far above the bottom the shark is, cannot be easily inferred without knowing at the very least the focal length used, sensor/film size, etc. Where was the zoom set when the picture was made? That would affect relative depth perception. We also would want to know something about how much was cropped away before inferring distance, even if we did know focal length and format. I think that you are probably right that we can see the shadow of the shark, but shadows can be elusive and misleading, especially if there are waves. As for catfish, Tom, well, most of them are usually lying on the bottom, and sharks have to keep moving and never lie on the bottom--but, yes, it does resemble a catfish, for what that is worth. I agree that I see less drama and I feel less fear in this shot than some do, but I still find the shot interesting. I still think I see a shark lazing along with fish scurrying out of the way, a rather common occurrence. I only get to see the signs of that when the fish start breaking the surface near my kayak to get away from some bigger fish. With that thought in mind, I think that I will scurry along before Mona comes back. --Lannie

Landrum Kelly
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug By the way, Tom, although you are surely right that that is the outline of the shark, complete with pectoral fin, the shadow seems to keep going on and on toward the top of the picture, I presume because of refraction through the waves, but also possibly because the bottom changes color. I would like to know if Felix took this shot from the windward or leeward side of the platform that he was on. I still don't know if it would be possible to get a clear shot from above the water if he was shooting on the windward side, where the waves are typically bigger, unless it was just a very calm day. Some look at these photos as primarily art critics, and some look more as lovers of nature. One can be both, of course, but I am a simple lover of nature. I don't know much about art, but I know what I like, and I like nature above all. The worst thing about growing old is that one does not get out into the natural world as often or as easily as before. I'm glad these young whippersnappers can bring these images back for us old men to look at. --Lannie

Charles Carson
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug "I don't see the drama . . . I see it as a depiction of one more of nature's little dances." Precisely Tom. There is no overt drama here. And so, if you come to this image expecting it or looking for it (it is after all a *shark*), you will be disappointed. This is one of the many things that sets this apart from your typical shark shot. Rather, what you have here is a beautiful depiction of (as you say) the slow dance between predator and prey.

Thomas K
Charles "Rather, what you have here is a beautiful depiction of (as you say) the slow dance between predator and prey." I'm sorry, I was referring to the dance between photographer and subject. Thanks for quoting me, though. :-)

Thomas K
Hardness "To say that this kind of dedication is not worthy of our admiration, or that it is not one of the things that makes a great photographer seems pretty nuts to me." Dedication surely helps make a good photographer, but aren't we talking about images? Suppose Mona climbs the world's tallest mountain and takes a beautiful picture from the very top of the world but then Lannie flies up in a special, high altitude helecopter and snaps the same damn thing. Is Mona's superior because she climbed up the mountain? Now imagine that, on his way to the Himalayas, Lannie lost his baggage and must recover it before his helecopter leaves because it contains his equipment. Is Lannie's picture better because he went through that whole lost baggage ordeal? Personally, I DO think any photographic achievment is better if it was done on the very top of the world, and even more so while standing on one's head.

Mona Chrome
Doo do Doo do Doo Do Doo do Doo do Doo Do....(Jaws theme) my subject line is for you Lannie, somehow I couldn't resist (don't just read the first two words and think it refers to how some seem to think of my comments tho) Anyway, Tom's comment reminded me of being at a workshop in the early 80's with Philip Hyde(known for his Sierra Club books, Bruce Barnbaum and Jay Dusard among others. Hyde and Barnbaun preceded Dusard giving presentations and described arduous treks into the landscape to get various shots. Dusard got up and said something like this "I have to take my hat off to Philip and Bruce for their tenacity in getting these shots, but a long time ago I came to the conclusion that if you can't drive to it, screw it!" Just a thought, it is the photograph that is important, but people do love a good story!

Thomas K
I'll bite... "Does anyone think there could be anything new to say about this tired subject?" Absolutely! Why else would you be going? I do not have the "photographer's burden," Hell, I still shoot the Grand canyon from the Rim (can you imagine?). I was in tears last spring when I first stood at the edge. I couldn't help it. This is a powerful place. I pity the human closed to such beauty. I can't imagine shooting in nature with the mindset that what I am encountering has been done before. Tony Rice, one of the world's great flat picking guitar players (also a photographer), recently recorded a cover of "House of the Rizing Sun," surely a cliche of sorts for guitar players, yet his version was quite new and fresh. It's about the richness of human experience and sharing that. I suppose this really isn't about the shark of the week is it?

Mona Chrome
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Of course, what Tom didn't realize is that if Mona climbed to the top of that high peak, her altitude sickness would be so bad that she would be tossing her cookies, not photographing--if she wasn't totally unconscious!

Vivek .
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Awesome!

Arnab Banerjee
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug How many times you have seen a scene like this? I never did. That can be the sole reason for me to remember me this photo for a lonf time - like those NG classics! I like the vertical composistions mentioned by some - they are even more dramatic. But, this is all about absolute timing and composition decided in a split second - I would feel very happy if I would have taken this

Landrum Kelly
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Thanks for the "Jaws" background music, Mona. The theme did run through my mind earlier when I first saw the picture. I think that a work of this sort sits astride the documentary-artistic divide, not to say that aesthetics and techinical prowess will ever be irrelevant. For some this is a work that could have demonstrated greater artistic merit. For others, it is more or less the simple recording of an event. If this were a purely documentary photo, such as that of JFK being shot or the picture of a soldier falling in battle, then of course the immediacy of the historical moment would override all other considerations. --Lannie

Jenny Darden
maybe it's NOT the best he could do... Mona, dear, when I said that the difficulty of the shot should play into our assessment of it, I was not talking about personal hardship exactly (though it sounds as if you might have had a bad weekend). I was speaking more to the range of possibilities that a given situation presents, which in some cases is more limited. And it doesn't sound as though Felix has "given up"; in fact, in his comment he mentioned going out to photograph more sharks. Maybe it's NoT the best photo of a shark he could do, possibly it's just the best he's done so far?

Mona Chrome
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Jenny, I think that is a good point and kind of what I was saying. I hope he does find even a better photo of the shark, we should always look to improve on what we did even if we think it was perfect. I am not sure what you may have seen that made you think I was having a bad weekend, but at tax time every day is a bad day!

Ten Ox
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Looks like a nurse shark to me. Which kind may have been answered already. Nurses are often very shy. It's the only shark I've found while diving. They invariably take off very fast -- haven't gotten very close at all in maybe 10 encounters. Good light, good sand, good fish. Working composition. Very serviceable shot. /..

Fred Vnoucek
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug it is a winner, what's more to say?

DANIEL PHILIPPE LALONDE
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug MY FRIEND! WHOEVER YOU ARE. THAT WAS IMPECCABLE TIMING. I SCUBA DIVE BUT A SHOOT LIKE THAT, YOU CAN'T GET THAT UNDERWATER PERIOD.....THAT'S ALL THIS CAT'S GOT TO SAY. BRAVO!

Thomas K
"it is a winner, what's more to say?" Well, yes, it is a winner, we can see the awards listed in the caption. To you, that's the end of the story -- to some of us, it's just the beginning. "Zee leetle feeshees zeem to zweem arond zee rouge intrudair almost as though zay were being repelled by some meesterious, unzeen force."

Fabian Gonzales
Two hours? Great shot, Felix. I admire your work. Quick question for you: when you say it took you two hours to line up this shot, does this mean that the shark and the school of fish stayed around that long for you to shoot???

Nick Wilson
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Yes, a wonder of nature nicely caught in a dynamic composition. Not the greatest 'photograph' ever as a POW, but doesn't need to be as the drama is inherent in the evident tension in the picture and the roles the protagonists are playing. So lucky to see this in such clear water and so close...I have only seen it from sea cliffs eg when the big fish school under Cape Byron drawing the whalers in. What is the wonder is how 'slow motion' it all seems. Nothing like Jaws. Whether it is cows in the paddock that watch you, then jump away if you walk too close, gazelle actually moving closer to a cheetah sometimes when alert or fish just being outside the range (they hope) of the shark, there is an invisible line of danger for all animals. Cross it and they move, not before. This is a 'text book' shot and I mean that in a complimentary way.

Bradd Shore
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Obviously a nice shot, but personally I don't find it as aesthetically interesting as most of the folks here do. I'm a bit puzzled by the incredible response to it. People seem fascinated by sharks, I suppose. Bradd

Glenn Nelson
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Georgeous colour, lovely clarity, extremely interesting perspective - just love it :-), oh man how can you just not love it!

Landrum Kelly
Mama, don't take my Mona Chrome away. Well, uh, we seem to have a bi-modal distribution of responses here. People love it or hate it. There's nothing much in between. Reminds me of the movie "Jaws." I can't stand it because of all the exaggerations and inaccuracies. A friend of mine watches it twice a week. I still like it and wish that I could have taken it. Vince would have either hooked or speared the darned shark rather than shoot it. One thing I like about this site is that there is truly a diversity of opinion, and the photos on the PoW forum do seem to be getting better. Lots of good animal shots are being posted, but this has got to be among the best, in my opinion. On top of that, we almost got a cat fight free of charge, thanks to Mona and Jenny. Who could ask for more for a measly $25/year? I wonder what the Elves will pull up from the briny deep this week. --Lannie

Jayme Hall - Bardstown, KY
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug First off, I tried to read the entire thread, but I got bored, so I apologize if I am repeating anything already said above. Critiquing a very small compressed "web image" is difficult. With this said, I do find this image visually pleasing. The oblong circular pattern created by the smaller fish helps to imply "movement" to me, not "static" non-motion. I see obvious movement from bottom left to upper right. I find myself anticipating the shark's next movement. So, I do not agree that this image lacks movement. I like the random patterns of the water & light beneath the shark & fish. These patterns help to "imply" depth, so I do not find the image flat. I particularly like the vertical pattern of the fish on the lower right, it contrasts well with the diagonal implied upward, forward movement of the shark. Thus, I would not flip or rotate the image. The tonal range of the image is super, lots of definition in the mid-tones, accented by light & shadow. I think this image implies a "cautious tolerance". I get the impression the school of fish are gently, but cautiously tolerating the shark's intrusion. As evidenced by the fact that the fish are circling the shark & not swimming off furiously in frightened panic. One could, if they liked, interpret this into life as "A shark in our midst". The "big dog" invading the masses. My personal opinion as to the overall impression of the image, I like the feeling it creates, "cautious tolerance". I would reserve my technical comments until I could actually view a much larger image or the image in print.

Jason B
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug It's a fantastic photo. Is it fine art? No, probably not. But that shouldn't distract from the fact that it is a fine photo and probably a near perfect example of photographing that style and subject. I would have preferred to see a slightly more diagonal composition but I love the flowing curves of the shark and of the fish sweeping out of it's way. Some have said they'd like to see a blur of speed, but in this situation I doubt the shark is attacking - it's just swimming and the school of fish are moving out of the way. There's no speed to show here. It's a very tricky thing to expose and colour is a bit subjective here too. I think that it's a fantastic job and doesn't deserve even half of the criticism that it's received. And BTW, of course it's low res. There is copyright and KB's to consider after-all.

Vin Morgan
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Makes me wonder (again) what Van Gogh's contemporaries were really saying, discussing, arguing about his work. I like all the images posted so far, and some of the variations are better than the original. But, I might change my mind next week, or 100 years from now. I do, however, really applaud the technical aspects of this discussion above, as well as the truly artistic imput that goes along with it (whatever that means).

Felix Hug
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug Finally I had a chance to look at most of the posts. I like to thank the ones of you who engaged on both sides. I enjoyed it for the most part... well sometimes it made me a bit smile what people would like to change in a photograph. I understand that there are many shades of photography: Some guys shoot only cars, others only birds...some like the artistic nudes and some have to be in the middle of wars with bullets flying around their heads. But in each field there are interesting pictures to take or to create. Personally, I love the richness of travelling...always did and i feel blessed that its now my profession to show people who dont have the chance to go out and about what they could experience if they would get up and leave their tv's for a while or those who did to remind them at their past experiences. Its just to say: Hey, the world is an interesting place, lets have our own view on it! I'm tired of all the images in news and newspapers showing dead, drama, action and so on...making everyone worried and suggesting thats whats happing all the time. We are all born to die.. so whats the big deal about it?Is that really news worthy all the time? Its the way to go about our journey..and that is for the most part silent and not loud. Coming back to the shark.. I like the fact that there is no imediate action and only tension or natural respect. Its much more natural and beautiful i feel then seeing close ups of his unbrushed teeth ;-).

paint your life
paint your life "There's an amazing website that makes oil painting from photo: www.paintyourlife.com It turns your picture to painting. There are beautiful samples online. You only need to pay a 20% down payment and after a week you can see your own oil portrait online. You can then ask for modifications if you want. I''ve ordered a painting for my wife for our anniversary and she just loved it."

Marcus Wilson
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug

I think what makes this photo great is the story it tells. All the little fish are aware of the shark and are trying not to get eaten. This pattern is also repeated throughout nature. You can see it in Africa when a lion walks by a herd of Zebras. The zebras don't run, but they give the lion just enough space -- just in case.
Great photo Felix.

adina lee
Response to 5. photo.net Photograph of the Week: April 3rd 2006, by felix hug

Wow, it looks so amazing! Thanks for posting the photograph of the week.Very natural and attractive.

ice now services

Felix Hug
Respect Fish behaviour - comments appreciated

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