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National Geographic Photographer Tom Campbell on Photographing a Whale Shark

by Chris Gampat on 06/18/2013

“While I was swimming I had to set the distance, I had to set the F-stop to the light factor and I had to get everything set up just right…I had one shot.” states Tom Campbell, who has been shooting underwater nature photos for years. National Geographic published a video the other day on the story behind what Campbell describes as, “A killer shot.”

What Tom is specifically talking about is capturing a Whale Shark. The creatures are already quite rarely seen in the wild and photographing one is tough. But beyond that, getting a compelling and publishable photo of one is even more mind boggling. Tom’s challenge was to document the creature doing something interesting and also get a sense of its enormous size in a single shot. While that may not sound too challenging to loads of photographers, consider the fact that you need to swim faster than the shark and while doing all of that you need to adjust your camera settings perfectly to get the right photo. That takes a major mastery of light and photography knowledge in general.

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