How to catch a Great White Shark—with a digital camera
posted Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 6:44 PM EDT
Photographer Michael Muller's images of celebrities have appeared in just about every magazine on the newsstand from Vanity Fair to Time to Entertainment Weekly but what Muller really likes to shoot are giant, killer sharks.
And he likes to photograph them from outside the confines of a protective cage.
"How do I describe being out of a cage with 40 bull sharks swimming around you?" Muller says in the video clip (below) from Last Call with Carson Daly. "It's hard to get across the endorphin rush, the joy, the thrill of this experience."
Muller notes he gets close enough to "touch" and "tickle" the sharks but he doesn't push his luck too far.
"You have to be smart and you have to respect that this is their world and that anything can happen," he says. "I know the risks that I am taking. I'm not stupid. I don't put myself in situations where I'm possibly not going to come home and raise my daughters."
Muller, who shoots with a Phase One medium-format digital camera system, devised his lighting techniques for photographing these massive underwater beasts while working with strobes for a Speedo swimsuit campaign.
"In my head, I wanted to bring a Great White shark into the studio, and I was trying to figure out how to do that," he says. "At that point the strongest strobe I could find to use underwater was 400 watts, so I ended up getting together with a couple of guys—a fabricator and a mass engineer—and we were able to make a waterproof pro photo strobe head that uses 1,200 watts. We have six patents on it, and it allows me to bring a full-blown studio in the water."