The Shot

One picture, one moment, one memory captured by photographer Mark Edward Harris


I based myself in La Paz on Mexico’s Baja Peninsula for an extended weekend photographing gray whales and diving with whale sharks. Both were incredible experiences but for very different reasons. One thing a still camera can’t record is the sounds of the whales blowing air out of their blowholes. At times we were surrounded by whales, and they put on a magnificent symphony. Diving with whale sharks was a very different (but just as intense) experience. To be only a few feet away from these magnificent 18- to 33-foot creatures effortlessly gliding through the water was humbling to say the least.  

For this gray whale off the coast of Lopez Mateo photograph, I used a Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 lens on my Nikon D850 set to 1/3200th of a second at f/10, ISO 200. Long lenses and fast shutter speeds are the name of the game when photographing most animals in the wild. While in La Paz I made a pilgrimage to Sorstis, my favorite restaurant in Baja. One cannot live by photography alone.

Mark Edward Harris’ assignments have taken him to 98 countries on six continents. His editorial work has appeared in publications such as Vanity Fair, Life, Time, GEO, Conde Nast Traveler, AFAR, as well as all the major photography and in-flight magazines. His commercial clients range from The Gap to Coca-Cola to Mexicana Airlines. He is the recipient of numerous awards including a CLIO, ACE, Aurora Gold, and Photographer of the Year at the Black & White Spider Awards.  His books include Faces of the Twentieth Century: Master Photographers and Their Work, The Way of the Japanese Bath, Wanderlust, North Korea, South Korea, and Inside Iran. | @MarkEdwardHarrisPhoto