Only a top-tier wildlife photographer can capture the approach of a great white shark without flinching; which is exactly what Deron Verbeck just did.
Hawaii-based freediver Deron Verbeck’s recent great white encounter is taking the internet by storm. And once you see the award-winning photographer’s stunning footage from this past Friday, it’s not hard to see why.
While diving and photographing fish off Kona on the state’s Big Island, Verbeck was shocked to see a 15-foot great white shark swimming directly for him. The sea giant’s approach was a gentle one, seemingly made out of curiosity rather than a predator seeking prey. This is fine news for Verbeck, too, as he did not become supper for a great white.
The footage is also worth experiencing (with your sound on) for the audio, too. Within, Deron’s shutter clicking fires out rapidly as the shark approaches. And once it reaches him, well, it’s best to hear his reaction for yourself:
“Ok, here’s the unedited version of my vid that has already been circulating, but I figured some of you may not be able to see it,” Verbeck posts to his Facebook page Monday. “I was out to shoot some other type of fish in super slo-mo so I had the gopro set to 120 fps so bare with the gaps and the poor shooting style.”
But “As soon as I figured out what I was looking at I digressed back to being a photographer,” he says.
Multiple trades have picked up Deron’s incredible footage and story. Speaking to FTW Outdoors, the photographer says this great white was about 100 feet below surface when he first spotted it. “But she turned and came up into about 30 feet when I got all the shots and video,” he adds.
Wildlife Photographer’s Great White Shark Encounter was a ‘5-Minute Drive’ From His House
Upon posting his footage initially, Verbeck lauded: “Well check this one off the list of things ‘I shouldn’t have been swimming with.’ My first ever GREAT WHITE SHARK! And it happened to be in Kona and a 5-minute drive from my house!”
Most Outsiders are accustomed to at least having deer or turkeys or other common wildlife within 5 minutes of their home. But a great white? Now that’s a trump card.
The species’ rarity around Hawaii makes it even more-so. The giants are far more common off the coast of Mexico and California, but they will occasionally visit the islands. It’s a bit of a shock to learn that this was Deron Verbeck’s first-ever sighting of a great white shark, too, as he is a renowned freediver and award-winning wildlife photographer.
At first, he thought he had spotted a tiger shark (another species humans definitely don’t want to mess with). But as the encounter continued, “It just kept getting bigger and bigger and I was like, ‘That is for sure, 100% a great white,’ ” Verbeck told KHON 2 . “And I just shot as much as I could as she went by, and she just disappeared back off the drop, then I was just shaking like, ‘Woah! That was insane!’ ”
Insane is definitely a fitting description. For curious Outsiders seeking more of Verbeck’s incredible photography, it’s available on his official Instagram.