Find the Right Light Friday – Shark Week

By Lane Erickson

“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.” – Dorothea Lange

In this week’s installment of Find the Right Light Friday, I am focusing on my nemesis – the shark! 

To be crystal clear I.DO.NOT.LIKE. sharks! I mean I think they’re amazing animals and everything, but . . . I DON’T like them.  My dislike for sharks started when I was a kid because I was severely traumatized by the movie Jaws. The result: I’m pretty sure I will never go scuba diving in the ocean because every time I get near the water my head fills with the Jaws music. 

We’ll save my psychological problems for another day. 

The Setting

The summer before my second oldest daughter left home, we decided we wanted to do some activities together as a family. Someone brought up the idea of going to an aquarium. Plans were made and in June of 2017 we went to the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Draper, Utah. 

I have to admit it was pretty cool! In one of the main sections of the aquarium, you walk through a glass tunnel with thousands of gallons of water above you filled with sharks and other ocean fish and animals swimming around. I snapped this photo of my wife and kids ahead of me in the tunnel. 

The Idea

Even though my heart was pounding, I was still able to walk through the tunnel and capture a few interesting images of the sharks. 

Then I saw a bright spotlight above us. It created amazing shafts of light through the water. I realized that if I stood in just the right spot and waited, a shark would swim above me, blocking the spotlight and I could create an image with the shafts of light around the shark. Like a halo of light (even though I’m pretty sure there are no shark angels in heaven with halos).

The Image

I made several attempts, and then, was finally able to create this image:

Shark in water with bright light streaming down.

As an example of how you do not need a professional camera, or an expensive lens to create good images I used the Fuji X-M1 camera (about $200 used) and the amazingly great Fuji XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 OIS “kit” lens (about $300 used) zoomed out to 18mm. My exposure was ISO 800, 1/35 wide open at f/2.8. 

Great light is all around us all the time. We just need to see it. Sometimes, we even need to overcome our fears to find the right light that will help us create great images . . . even if a shark is involved.

Always open to comments, I welcome your thoughts, suggestions and even your critiques. Have a great Friday and best wishes in finding the right light for your own photographs.

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