WPY 2017

Photograph Details

Finalist 2017

Black and White

Santosh Shanmuga, USA

A whorl of sharks

The sandbar sharks circled far below Santosh, slipping in and out of the dark like ghostly apparitions. Inherently cautious, only a few brave individuals rose to check him out. During those moments he felt ‘not terror, but admiration’, he says. ‘I was just a visitor in their watery ‘ohana (family) and they graciously let me stay.’

These sandbar sharks are all male and have probably come together to feed or spawn. A school of females may join them later in the season, but in the meantime, they must establish a hierarchy. Sizing each other up, the dominant sharks attempt to secure the better spots nearer the surface.

Technical specification

Nikon D4; Sigma 15mm f2.8 lens; 1/200 sec at f7.1; ISO 1000; Nauticam housing and Zen dome port.


O‘ahu, Hawaii: latitude 21.590477, longitude -158.1061 O‘ahu, Hawaii: latitude 21.590477, longitude -158.1061

O‘ahu, Hawaii

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Santosh Shanmuga

Santosh Shanmuga, USA

Santosh has been fascinated with the natural world since childhood, spending hours outdoors observing bugs, snakes and birds, and reading books on the animal kingdom from the local library. While at college he developed a passion for photography. Santosh hopes his work will inspire people to protect all of the world's species.