Wild Seas, Secret Shores

Bookshelf: Wild Seas Secret Shores of Africa

Wild Seas Secret Shores of Africa – Thomas P. Peschak

Wild Seas, Secret Shores
Wild Seas, Secret Shores

Thomas P. Peschak is the official photographer for the Save Our Seas Foundation. He’s also a marine biologist, and has a deep knowledge of his subjects (as well as an artist’s eye). Tony and I really enjoyed South Africa’s Great White Sharks, which he co-authored with a research partner.

This is mostly a collection of photographs – there’s very little text, but what there is is very informative and packed with nuggets of information despite its brevity.

South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, and Tanzania are represented well. His photographs of the skeleton coast of Namibia, which I first read about in Lawrence G. Green’s books, are magnificent and desolate. The Cape is well-represented, and Peschak finds and appreciates the rich, bright colours of our rocky reefs and kelp forest inhabitants.

Tony disapproved of several photographs showing free divers touching and holding on to tiger sharks at Aliwal Shoal. These sharks are quite “tame” (as far as that’s possible), but it’s not that much different from holding onto a turtle’s shell (except that the shark doesn’t have to surface to breathe), something of which I strongly disapprove. It would only take one unfortunate incident involving a freediver and some sharp teeth to shut down the shark diving industry (outside cages) in South Africa. Why take a chance?

At the end of the book, Peschak explains how he took each photo, what equipment he uses (he’s a Nikon man!) and other context material. This section is wonderful, especially for the aspiring underwater photographer. Unfortunately I will never be as good as him – he picks the shot he wants, and is prepared to wait ages for it… I take more of a scatter-gun approach and photograph any- and everything I find interesting. While I am prolific, he’s brilliant!

Peschak loves split shots, and he explains that he finds this a very effective method to relate land and ocean. His comments on composition – especially for this type of photograph – are very useful. He also loves his fisheye lens… I don’t blame him! About half the photos were taken on scuba, and half free diving.

You can purchase the book here if you’re in South Africa (hard to find), and here if you’re not.

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Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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