Some of my favourite images are those that I have pre-visualised beforehand.  No doubt there is something fun and exciting about turning up somewhere and seeing and photographing the unexpected, but being able to create an image that I already have in my head is even more of a thrill for me.  Especially when it comes out as great as this one.

Paddle boarding is a huge sport that is taking off around the world and I am a keen fan myself.  Ever since getting my own boards I’ve been dragging them all around the world to include in photo shoots wherever appropriate.  Having worked in the islands of Tahiti before I knew the amazing clarity of the water over there, and of course the incredible sea life!  So on this trip I really wanted to showcase both, alongside someone on a paddle board.  And hence my idea to do a half under / half over image to feature the beauty below – and the beauty above!!

I have always been fascinated by sharks (from the reef sharks of the tropics to the Great Whites of Africa – I have photographed both).  So my idea was simple, have someone paddleboard amongst the sharks and create a stunning half under / half over image.  Creating the image in the camera took a little longer than creating it in my head, there are a lot of challenges involved when shooting split images – especially when your subjects move at their own free will!  (For some tips on how to shoot half under / half over images, read my blog post about it here).

But in the end getting these shots was just as much fun as imagining them – snorkelling in these crystal clear waters amongst these gorgeous black-tipped reef sharks was definitely one of the highlights of my trip.  And the resulting images were exactly what I wanted.

And just in case you were wondering, these images were created exclusively in the camera – they are not composites.

To capture your own images just like these, why not enter my photographic competition – the 2014 Travel Photography Awards for your chance to win a trip to French Polynesia with me this October!!  Check it out online at

Images copyright Chris McLennan

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