Big Animals – Blue Sharks, USA

Shark photographers love the sleek, pointed snout of a blue shark, especially when it’s touching their camera port. Blue sharks are pelagic and rarely seen by divers. To find them you must go offshore and bring some chum. These potentially aggressive sharks seem to not be too bothered by snorkeling photographers, but they can and will often get up-close and personal.


Tell anyone you’re going to photograph sharks just two hours north of New York City and you’re bound to get a puzzled look. However, there are few places better to photograph blue sharks than Rhode Island, USA. During the summer months, you can see up to 15 different sharks on a single day—and that doesn’t count mako sharks, basking sharks, and mola molas (sunfish).

Recommended Operator

When to Dive

The prime months for blue sharks are early to mid-summer: May–July. However, regular sightings also run into the early fall.


Pro Tips

The biggest struggle with the blues in Rhode Island can be the particulates in the green, offshore waters. Rely as little as possible on strobe light and as much on ambient light. Use just a kiss of strobe (1/4 power or less) to illuminate the shadow on the sharks’ belly.


If possible, choose to use electronic strobe connections, rather than fiber-optic. This will allow you to rapid-fire as the sharks come in close, instead of having to wait for your camera’s pop-up flash to charge.


Try to arrange a trip that gets you in the water during unique lighting conditions such as sunrise and sunset. These “golden hours” provide unique, dappled light and the potential for stunning over/under images.


There’s no harm in taking some sea sickness medication. The New England waters can be fairly swelly, so even the strongest stomachs can be upset. Also, make sure to bring plenty of food and drink for a long day on the water.Joe Tepper



The west coast of the United States is also home to blue sharks. Operators leave from San Diego and head out into the blue Pacific water in search for baby blues. But you never really know what you’ll find: blue whales, mola mola, seals, and mako sharks are just some of the other frequent visitors.

Recommended Operators

When to Dive

Blue sharks and mako sharks can be seen in Californian coastal waters year-round.


Pro Tips

In years past, late summer and autumn was said to be the golden time, but that’s not been the case recently. Sharks will follow particular fish stock, and that can be dependent upon water temperature, currents, and all kinds of other variables. This year, for instance, we had many large blue sharks in the spring.

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