rileysharks rileysharks

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Riley Elliott  Using stimulating visual imagery to communicate science as we protect only what we love,love only what we understand &understand only what were taught

Posting this again just in case you got scared of sharks this week. To show you they are not man eating monsters, here's a wicked video by @amberandfriends_photography of me and @mattdraperphotography swimming with likely, the wildest tiger sharks in the world. By wildest I mean these tigers have never been swum with before, they are in the middle of no where, and yet, applying my shark diving knowledge and rules showed that these tigers were like most, intimidated, shy and non confrontational. We had to gain their trust over an hour before we had these amazing interactions. Wild tigers remember. Love sharks.
@sharks @thebigsharks @sharksdaily @oceana @oceanramsey @ocean @sharkweek @natgeowild @natgeocreative @natgeo @discover_newzealand @discoverychannel @redbull @gopro @goproanz @hecsaquatic @aquatech_imagingsolutions

If you are in America you know its @sharkweek which is an awesome opportunity, I hope, to learn more about sharks. Did you know @natgeo @natgeowild also run their own week of sharks, and well, its fact checked, cited by scientific literature and real, every time.
I was lucky enough to partake in a documentary based in NZ, with National Geographic Wild, exploring the social behaviour of blue and mako sharks.


Its been a large part of my life for the last half decade, research, passion and doing good for the world wise. So please watch the show if you are in the northern hemisphere, and tell me how it compares to Shark week shows, how it addresses scientific understanding and whether you feel it does justice for the animals with no voice, but some big conservation problems. Yes we need stimulating visual imagery to draw a crowd. Shark Week does that better than any. I also use this method, its my motto, BUT those who exploit these amazing creatures for their draw card also have the responsibility to then communicate accurate information about the animals to better their situation. This is where I try really hard, why Nat Geo made me fact check everything i said, and well, why I hope Shark Week is doing the same. Im in NZ so I can't see it, so let me know how you think the two channels shows compare.

Image @mattdraperphotography

Every year I look forward to seeing what @sharkweek puts out to the awesomely large audience it has created. In lull times I have criticised shark week shows, as have some of the public. It does put out some awesomely educational and science forwarding shows however, ones that use stimulating visual imagery to communicate science that benefits our perception of these amazing animals. I hope this occurs this year. I know many of the people who have worked on shows this season, and they are all exceptional people who really are passionate about helping sharks. Kudos to you guys and girls, you know you are. Sometimes it's tough however, when shows get inflated and dramatized. I get it, but there's also a responsibility to speak factual and truthful. I am unfortunately not in the northern hemisphere, so cannot watch shark week until NZ summer being December, so please direct message me and comment here and let me know how the shows go and if you have any questions about aspects of things, please start a chat.
What I expect when stimulating visual imagery is used to draw a crowd, is that the right and factual information is then conveyed.
Like this, for the above image

There are two ways you can interpret this image. One with a shudder and the sound of Jaws in the background because you believe fiction and inflated films, where sharks will chase you down and get ya! The other is with an educated and fascinated mind, identifying the needle shaped teeth used solely for small to medium sized fish. Point being most shark imagery is used by people who want to leverage from a common fear.but what about David Attenborough ing it, giving you the imagery laced with fascinating science. Knowledge is power. Don't be weak. Learn the facts.

So if you are in America you know @sharkweek is kicking off, and I praise any content that exposes the public to increased awareness about sharks - but we also know the drama they love. I hope they deliver some credible educational content. Let's see.
At the same time @natgeo @natgeowild bring their own week of sharks, #sharkfest and as we know Nat Geo have historically been a scientifically sound network of public communication of science, which is why I am incredibly proud to have contributed to Shark Swarm airing Tues July 25th 8pm ET on @natgeowild.
If you want to see some of the world's first ever exploration of pelagic blue and mako shark social behaviour catalyzed by a replicated feeding event, in unchartered waters off the NZ coastline, then tune in to receive and education that will improve the somewhat fictional stories that have been told about Mako sharks previously by other shows.
We explore not only social behaviours displayed when size sex segregation rules are broken, but also between seemingly personalities of individual sharks, including the pictured one, being one of the rare and largest mature Mako sharks caught on film.

This is a must see guys, share and watch


It's that time of year for me in NZ. Rain, wind and no sharks. Off to somewhere tropical soon with @mattdraperphotography @amberandfriends_photography and @hecsaquatic
Think whales and Polynesia. Can't wait

Epic moving imagery by @amberandfriends_photography while I was training for my @fii_freedive instructors. I'm going to action these courses in the NZ summer so stay tuned so you too can swim with the fishes.

This is a must see guys, BUT MAKE SURE YOU GO TO THE YOUTUBE LINK AND WATCH THE FULL VERSION (link here my bio)

Don't just be happy with this 1min extract!

You follow me because I presume you are interested in my work and sharks, so here is literally a day in my life, so come and see how I have applied my love for the ocean, my once fear but now fascination for sharks, into a personal education session for Timmy Knight @timmykspearo , an awesome waterman who respected sharks enough to come and learn more about how to read and display himself, their social behaviours conveyed through body language. Thanks to @hecsaquatic for running this series. They are a great brand, with an awesome technology that has enabled me to have closer and more natural interactions, which has not only benefited me in my science on shark behaviour, but also, as you will see in the episode, how i sustainably feeding educate myself and others through food and imagery harvesting in order to place value on the ocean so that we ultimately conserve it.
Thanks Warren Bird and John Harrington and Amber Jones for filming and editing

@mattdraperphotography @oneoceandiving @ocean @oceanramsey @oneoceandiving @juansharks @gopro @goproanz @redbull @redbullnz @natgeocreative @natgeo @discoversharks @discoverocean @discover_newzealand @discoverychannel @sharks @sharkweek @sharks_are_awesome1 @sharksdaily @shark_shield @tourismnz @airnz @thegreatoutdoors @wildlifepage @thelostexplorer @sharkgirlmadison @imogenjohnson_official

The other side of my life of sharks, is the sport that got me into them - as a surfer you have the fear thought of sharks here and there, pending on where you surf, but it's the fear that I pursued to find my fascination of them. Surfers are generally very mature and respectful of the wild playground we recreate in. We understand it's the sharks domain and it's ecause f the awesome sport we take the personal yet tiny risk of sharks to reap the rewards. Day of the year at what I'm stoked to call home now in NZ.

Epic shot of one of the lads charging deep on the many bombs yesterday thanks to @jacksonbright_
My new pad is top left. Yeiw.

Exciting stuff. Tune in soon to @hecsaquatic to see a great experience. I was lucky enough to host @timmykspearo for #adayinthelife series, passing on my experience in shark behaviour to a great waterman so he to, can pass of such knowledge to his peers. If you want to get the online lesson stay tuned for what is a great edit by @johnny5dubya in collaboration with @amberandfriends_photography and @hecsaquatic
I promise you Mako sharks galore :) @aquatech_imagingsolutions @sharks_are_awesome1 @sharks @sharkweek @natgeocreative @natgeo @discoversharks @discoverychannel @gopro @goproanz @redbull @redbullnz @tourismnz @ocean_magazine @ocean @thecoromandel @tourism_nz @airnz

What can I say, this has become my life. As a child I watched @david_attenborough like it was a drug, and we'll, it's become my drug of choice, to find situations like this, interacting with completely wild animals, that made me feel like I was getting nearer to parallel his path. This amazing image taken by @mattdraperphotography with @amberandfriends_photography in the middle of nowhere, represents one of my most special moments in life. No one in the world had ever swum with these sharks, ever. I've learnt tiger shark behaviour from @oceanicramsey and @juansharks
and put it into practice in well known tiger shark areas, but these sharks had never seen a person before as we were in the middle of the ocean.

#thisaintnotigerbeach Respect, experience and patience ended up with an interaction like this, and those portrayed in a video previous to this post.

Do you want to know who I am and how this path has been paved? Listen to me tell my story for an hour thanks to @ryan.j.harris and his epic podcast series, which also features my brother in arms Matt Draper in the previous session. It's not about thinking, dreaming or fantasizing, it's about doing. And sharks need a voice and the ocean they govern needs it more than ever. Find the link to the podcast in my bio or go to WEBSITE:
iTunes Link:

With @hecsaquatic @aquatech_imagesolutions @gopro @goproanz

42 years to the day since JAWS was released, I like to think people's perceptions have changed. I know mine have.
This is what I and my closest friends @amberandfriends_photography @mattdraperphotography travel the world to find - one of the most magical days of our lives.
No egos, no prerogative, no deadlines, just literally the middle of no where, some of the biggest and wildest tiger sharks in the world, that no one has ever swum with. Through experience, respect and team work we all had an experience that I can say is unique and as said above, the most magical I have ever had.

These animals had never had a human interact with them, yet they still showed the shy characteristics classic of tiger sharks. I had to get in alone, hide under the boat, turn my eyes away from them and curl up in all ball - all to act less intimidating to them. And slowly, through time trust was built, to the point where these interactions could happen. These are tiger lessons I learnt thanks to @juansharks and @oceanicramsey from @oneoceandiving :) We have Sat on this footage for a long time. I think that reflects how special this day was #thisaintnotigerbeach

Filmed and edited by @amberandfriends_photography with
@hecsaquatic @aquatech_imagesolutions @canon_nz @gopro @goproanz @mazdanz

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I have a wolf baby and a roof over my head to build which has kept me off the sea. But you get to a point where you need a fix,some fresh sea food, so salt spray in the face and some magic moments like this today so beautifully captured by @amberandfriends_photography

Did you know my BSc Hons and MSc were both in studies of dolphins. And one 'scary' shark experience with a 1ft long school shark was what put me on the path to studying sharks, which led me to go to @oceansresearch to learn the real deal behind sharks

Chill out it's Friday

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