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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


What can you say? I came to Tonga to see this but there was so so much more. I got engaged in a sea cave organised by my boy @mattdraperphotography who also showed me whales for the first time. I got to finally meet a long time idol @abc4explore and became truly good friends with him, especially as he shared our honeymoon sweet lol. And now I have ten days on an outer island escape to relax.
Beautiful image taken by @amberandfriends_photography

Yesterday was a day I have planned for a long time. From the first day I met this amazing woman, where I said to myself, upon her opening the door, never forget how beautiful she is, to yesterday where I asked her post whale dive, in an underwater volcanic love heart shaped cave, in the heart of tropical paradise with some of my closest friends, I asked the love of my life to marry me. Amber Jones is the most amazing person I have ever met and I have never been more scared in my life, than when I whispered the words will you marry me. And those who know me know I'm loud and not scared of sharks, so that's how intense this movement was for me. But in paradise, the woman of my.dreams became my life long partner

Dreaming of blue days this summer while presently in a winter white out down south

GiF by @amberandfriends_photography with @hecsaquatic Wahoo 3mm Bluewater suit

Ssshhhhh mate, I'll get the hook out for you.

Funny thing is, ironically, hooks, well tuna long line hooks, are a good thing to see in pelagic sharks. It means they have been cut free and not finned. You don't see a shark that's been finned. Every shark I see with one, two three or more hooks in it, is sad in a way, but also one, two or three cat lives it's racked up.
Epic gif by @amberandfriends_photography while getting closer in @hecsaquatic taken with @aquatech_imagingsolutions

I can't say the words better myself, so I leave it to my bro @mattdraperphotography with an image of him

I haven't owned a television for quite a few years now, but since I've been here in Western Australia, especially over the last week or so, I've found myself watching the news. Honestly, it makes me sick. It's so upsetting to see what humans are doing to each other. I realise the media love to play on 'shock factor' but we all play a certain role and have responsibilities in order to maintain a mentally healthy species. I truly feel the human race is so disconnected from love and as a whole, we are becoming extremely desensitised to terror by the day. In my opinion it's a much more organic approach to captivate the heart and mind with positive imagery. If I was to share an image of a dead shark each day, after a few weeks you're going to think this is normal, it's purpose not served and in somewhat acting in the complete opposite way. So I share an image of a shark, alive and in its own natural environment. An animal you've never seen, but been afraid of since you could remember. After a while you might start questioning where that fear first came from. Once that fear is replaced by fascination, you might strive to learn more about this predator, seeking informative and unbiased education from real science. Then, all of a sudden you might feel a sense of love for this beast. Love leads to a care factor, which leads to the want and need to protect and in order to protect we must change and reflect. Just maybe, maybe after that first image you saw me post until the moment you are questioning if your local fish market is selling an endangered species, just maybe that timeline was over a year. Well it was an organic change and any positive change is exactly that, positive. Captivate through story, through stimulating imagery and through example. Not only by opinion. Have purpose and be willing to bridge gaps by listening, not divide by simply speaking. One of my absolute best friends @rileysharks with two dinosaurs of the deep. I wish we could share more images from this day. But the sad truth is, people are more concerned about the necessary' physical cont

It's never ceases to amaze me the things you can find on any given day. Winter green in NZ giving rise to double rainbows of blues blacks and whites. Amazing symmetry taken by @amberandfriends_photography in our backyard

Case and point from my last post about true representation on social media. It's not a pretty shark picture, a hot girl in a bikini or a sell out influencer for corporate gain. It's a nature kid who grew up following his passion through adulthood, sharing it with a bunch of actual kids in hope of crafting the next generation as one that is engaged with nature. As part of Project Crimson and the @mazda_nz foundation, I was honoured to go to another school, for another Treemendous school make over, planting outdoor classrooms where the entire curriculum can be taught in nature. Why? Because we have produced the first generation of people who are entirely DISCONNECTED with nature. The iPad kid, the swipe babies.
So it was an honour to teach these kids more about the ocean, what it does for us, oxygen, food, water, climate, but also the issues it faces and how kids are the most powerful tools to REINGAGE us with nature.

And also plant some tree, hang out with the bugman and learn that I was too.scared to hold a spider lol

As I sit in the airport about to fly to a school to speak to kids about ocean conservation, I have been thinking.
My profile is called rileysharks but there is so much more than pretty shark pictures that goes into the recipe required for shark conservation.

I am sick of seeing the trend on instagram of BS influencers who travel on some sponsors dollar, holding the newest phone, preaching some bullcrap about living the dream and trying to blatantly sell Shit to people watching.
In my opinion, talentless sellouts will fade. A true product is required to sustain, and a true product is only one that's exactly that, true.
So from now on I am going to post more about what is involved in truly representing nature, the ocean, sharks, conservation etc. It's not always pretty shark pictures. It's often like today, talking to kids, answering emails, or writing papers, but there does come an excitement of no consistent pay check, just a true path.

So i will share a true representation of what my life is.
For the last five months I have been hammering nails, creating a base from where I can establish an institute to take budding marine biologists, kids and tourists out to see the big animals, learn about them, get experience, so they can be empowered to speak for the voiceless animals out of sight.
Why this shift in tact? Well because as I wrote the speech for the school today about the ocean, I saw that most slides were negative, damage, pollution, strife, issues and all around lack of respect for our ocean, and ironically ourselves.

So in my opinion, to improve, to truly influence, you must empower, with reality, not BS.

So if you just want pretty pictures of sharks, follow one of many catalogue pages. If you want to know the lifestyle of a dedicated marine researcher, conservationist, explorer, teacher, surf bumb, academic, nature kid, then stay on board.


Aww and this is a pretty shark picture, just to remind you and me, the light at the end of the tunnel above is. Sometimes you are rewarded, in this case, my best nature experience ever, with the wildest, non-habituated sharks I have ever swum with.

Image @mattdraperphotography

I hope everyone who just had their week of shark tv from both @natgeowild and @sharkweek @discoverychannel learnt something about sharks. Something real, something that inspires curiosity to learn more, to help more, to protect more.
It doesn't make good TV, but the reality is that sharks face a lot of issues. Right now apparently the Australian government is deciding whether to cull sharks again, even the well recognised and protected great white. Last time they tried it, there was public outcry and 170 tiger sharks were caught and many killed.
It's your actions that will help sharks. Use whatever tools you may have, whether it be simply your lack of demand for shark products, or in this case pictured, all of your tools thrown together to help one animal, a juvenile tiger left for dead by the WA shark cull. Myself, my documentary team, along with @oceanramsey and @juansharks resuscitated this little guy back to life by swimming it for an hour and half. It made news all around the world, not for fame, but so as a scientist I got the stage to communicate truth. That's the key, getting real info to the wider public, and stimulating visual imagery is my tool.
So post shark weeks, take some fact from what you have seen and do something to help sharks.


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.
cheers http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/07/sharks-mako-predators-oceans-swarms/

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


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