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As he waded in the midst of the Caribbean Sea, watching his mannequin as she gasped for breath in between takes, Tyler Stableford had one thought going by means of his thoughts: “I simply bit off greater than I can chew.”
The award-winning journey photographer had flown to Cancun, Mexico together with his household, and crew to shoot his dream private venture— a girl gracefully dancing underwater amongst whale sharks.
“I feel connecting a human being in a momentary dance to such an unique creature in an unique location is a method to truly expertise the fluid connections between people and animals,” he stated. “It additionally ties in my perception of our connection to every little thing on this world. I needed to attempt to deliver that to life in a sequence of photographs and moments captured in time.”
With a view to obtain Tyler’s inventive imaginative and prescient, the mannequin, a former aggressive swimmer, needed to powerfully swim out to the sharks after which plunge herself deep into the water beneath them, all earlier than she might begin posing. As if that wasn’t troublesome sufficient, she needed to do it with out scuba or snorkel gear.
In the meantime, Tyler was challenged with positioning himself behind the shark’s fin together with his gear—a Canon 5D Mark III with a 14 mm lens and AquaTech housing. The shark’s fast, erratic actions coupled with the backwash created by their tails made it practically unattainable to line up the mannequin and the shark within the body concurrently. By the point each Tyler and the mannequin lastly obtained in place, he solely had a number of seconds to seize a shot earlier than their lungs reached capability.
“Our check day was actually fairly sobering,” he stated. “I didn’t suppose I used to be going to drag off the shoot, not even one shot.”
On the precise shoot day, they happily encountered a little bit of luck. Tyler and his co-director, Kate Rolston, captured eight totally different occurrences the place every little thing aligned. “I actually consider there was a variety of magic and concord that got here collectively,” Tyler stated. “We gave it each single ounce of power, planning and focus that we might for a strong 5 hours within the water.”
The results of their laborious work is a hauntingly stunning sequence of photographs. Much more spectacular is that the pictures are all of actual moments—neither the shark’s nor the mannequin’s place have been manipulated in modifying.
“The venture actually got here out higher than I envisioned,” he stated. “We have been pushed to present it completely every little thing inside our limits each bodily and artistically. It was a very fantastic course of to see what I might do and open myself as much as a purely private high quality artwork venture. It stunned me the excessive degree of artistry I, or actually anybody, can create simply by committing to a big, dangerous course of.”
Try the behind-the-scenes video for extra of Tyler’s expertise taking pictures with the whale sharks.