real sharks for shark cartooning

I haven’t drawn the Pajama Shark in the last few days*, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about him, and Friendly Shark characters in general.  And one of the basic approaches to doing animal characters in comics and cartoons is to study the real animal, either in person or in photographs.  Or if you enjoy photography, you can try to do both.

These images were taken at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago a week ago today in the Wild Reef exhibit.  They aren’t thresher sharks– they are sandbar sharks, described in the Aquarium’s blog as “the sharkiest sharks” in the exhibit.  I agree, they are pretty sharky looking, with the true shark expression which is so challenging and delightful to soften into friendliness. I think these photographs will be useful in future pajama sharking, and they were also tremendously challenging to make.

The light in the tank was extremely low and the sharks were swimming around, in the constant motion these guys require to keep water moving over their gills, so pretty fast shutter speeds were required to stop them.  That means super high ISOs– 6400 in this case- and a fair amount of digital noise.   These are not exactly prize winning wildlife photographs, but I am pleased with the shades of blue and the way the light falls through the water onto the sharks, and with their shapes. (The camera is Mischief, the Fuji X-T10, the lens the Fujinon 35mm f/1.4, and the shutter speed 1/320.)

*I have been doing the Inktober project, with Kekionga as my theme.  If you’re interested, I am posting my drawings every day over on the Official Pam Bliss Facebook page here.  This is a public page– you don’t have to be a member to read and enjoy.  If you happen to be on FB, you are invited to follow.

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