For many underwater photographers, reliability and durability are two primary characteristics desired in camera gear. University of Miami shark photographer Christine Shepard makes that durability a necessity, and takes it to another level. She and her camera rig have come port-to-teeth with literally hundreds of sharks each year during the RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program’s (RJD) shark research trips in the Florida Keys, and lived to show it. And yes, photographing and filming sharks is actually part of the job description for this lucky 25-year-old.
With perhaps one of the most unique ‘dream jobs’ straight out of college, Christine Shepard has utilized her scientific training, engaging storytelling, and contagious enthusiasm to set a precedent within the scientific community. She works alongside world-renowned marine scientists to translate their research into understandable and visually engaging multimedia packages. Together, they strive to increase scientific literacy as well as inspire a marine conservation ethic in others.
Increasingly, Christine is being recognized as one of the world’s most promising young wildlife photographers, recently named a ‘Highly Honored Winner’ in Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Competition for her captivating image of a Great Hammerhead shark. She hopes to continue her work in the marine conservation realm as well as pursue a career in fine art photography.
When selecting an underwater camera setup for the University of Miami’s RJD Program, Christine wanted something versatile, cost-effective, and durable. With a combination of new and used gear, here is what they purchased:
- Canon EOS 7D
- Tokina 10-17mm Lens
- Nauticam NA-7D Housing
- 4” Zen Mini Dome
- 1 Sea & Sea YS-110 Strobe
“I have challenged my gear with rough seas, toothy sharks, and tens of thousands of images over the past two years. This rig has performed exceptionally well, freezing the frisky movement of sharks and producing crisp, vibrant underwater images. I’m so excited for the adventure to continue!”