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Meet Underwater Photographer Michael Gerken

Updated: Dec 12, 2019

Mike is an underwater photo journalist, dive tour leader, cinematographer, documentary filmmaker, fine art print maker and captain. He left the grind of the New York City corporate world in 1998 and hasn't looked back since. He has traveled the world working in the diving industry in a variety of capacities such as instructor, dive guide, operations manager, boat captain and photo pro.

He has also has written numerous articles for magazines such as, Alert Diver, Scuba Diving, Diver, Wreck Diving Magazine and Sport Diver.

Check out Mike's WEBSITE to learn more.

Thanks to Mike for sharing his shark story and incredible images with us.

1. What is your favorite shark and why? Sand tiger shark (Carcharius taurus). My fascination with them was born from a working relationship. This is the common shark species off the coast of NC, where I have worked on and off in the diving industry for more than 15 years.

Wreck Denizens of North Carolina- The Documentary

2. What is one species of shark you would like to snorkel/dive with? Tiger sharks. One shark I have yet to see. I have already been in the water without a cage with great whites.

3. Why did you start scuba diving? Shark diving? I started as a young teen around 13 years of age. I was a summer water rat off the beaches of the north shore of Long Island and learning to dive was a natural evolution for me. I hadn’t seen my first shark for many years after I was certified and I think that it was in the Bahamas where I saw many on a dive trip.

4. What has been a really cool/favorite underwater moment with sharks? I’d have to say it is when the sand tiger sharks are schooling in mid water on the wrecks of North Carolina.

5. Do you think diving and divers can help ocean conservation? How? Diver should practice minimum impact on the reefs; peak buoyancy control, spacial awareness and no touching in general. Don’t wear sun blocks with known harmful chemicals. Use dive operators that use eco-friendly practices. Minimize seafood intake or eat only sustainably caught fish. Get involved in grass root organizations such as reef cleanups etc. 6. What do you love most about diving with sharks? They are an old primitive species as old as the dinosaurs. They are apex predators and vital to balance in the food chain. Simply they are pretty cool to look at. However, I try not to discriminate species by placing sharks on a higher level of importance than whales or even plankton. Every link is vital.

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