White shark and kayak
White shark and kayak

White Shark and Kayak:

Photographer: Thomas P. Peschak

When this photograph was first published in Africa Geographic, BBC Wildlife, later in Paris Match and the Daily Mail, it resulted in a flurry of e-mails, phone calls and letters from around the world asking if the image was a fake. The image became the most talked about of shark photograph ever.

Thomas said: To capture this image I tied myself to the tower of the research boat Lamnidae and leaned into the void, precariously hanging over the ocean while waiting patiently for a white shark to come along. I wanted to shot a photograph that would tell the story of our research efforts to track white sharks using kayaks. When the first shark of the day came across our sea kayak it dove to the seabed and inspected it from below. I quickly trained my camera on the dark shadow which slowly transformed from diffuse shape into the sleek outline of a large great white. When the shark’s dorsal fin broke the surface I thought I had the shot, but hesitated a fraction of a second and was rewarded with marine biologist Trey Snow in the kayak turning around to look behind him. I pressed the shutter and the rest was history. Throughout the day I shot many more images, most showing the kayak following the shark, but all lacked the power of that first image of the great white tracking the kayak.

The photograph is real, no photoshop, no digital manipulation, nothing. In fact, it was shot on Fuji Provia 100 slide film using a Nikon F5 Camera and 17-35 mm lens.