Incredible images of a female Great White shark thrashing through the water off the coast of Mexico were snapped by a brave cage diver who spent three days studying the beast.
One heart-stopping shot from a shark cage shows the great white mowing up a shoal of unfortunate fish, while another jaw-dropping capture shows her chewing on a rope attached to the catch – with its mighty jaws within touching distance.
Photos also show the shark charging towards the cage face on with its jaws stretched wide open.
There are around 3,500 of the terrifying predators left in the wild, with hunters targeting their teeth, meat and fins, to make soup.
They weigh 2.5 tons or more – the approximate weight of a car – and can be almost the size of a single-decker bus.
And among the carnivore community, Great Whites are the ones it is most sensible to fear. Between a third and half of shark attacks each year are perpetrated by them.
The jaw-dropping images were taken by Ron Daniel, 55, from San Diego, California on his Nikon D7200.
Ron captured the pictures at Isla Guadalupe off the coast of Mexico’s Baja California in an Ikelight underwater camera housing. The excitement of this close encounter is not lost on Ron.
He said: ‘She was new to the area – and hadn’t yet been named by the Marine Conservation Science Institute.
‘Like many others in the animal kingdom, the alpha female is the biggest shark in the area. But this girl was having none of that.’
The female Great White did not obey the strict social ranking of her undersea species, according to the cage diver who saw her. Ron said: ‘She would race around and cause all sorts of mayhem, seemingly oblivious to her place in the hierarchy.’
A school of fish swim urgently around the Great White, who’d consider them a light snack. Great White Sharks eat around three percent of their body weight every single time they hunt. That means a 2.5-ton fish would eat 182lbs (83kg) each hunt
Ron added ominously of the gorgeous creature who thrashed around the waters off the coast of Baja California, Mexico: ‘She gave us lots of up-close facetime – sometimes too close for comfort.’
The insatiable yet graceful animal was pictured swallowing up a legion of small fish in her path with no mercy, as is common among Great Whites. Ron said: ‘She was young and boisterous and didn’t yet respect the typical pecking order of sharks.’
Natural light bounces off the shark’s nose just metres away from the underwater cage where Ron and the guides he accompanied were sitting. They attached weights to their feet to stay on the base of the cage so they can stay completely still
This terrifying angle shows just how close the Great White got to the puny metal structure Ron and his pals watched from. He commented: ‘Over the course of three days, we ended up getting very well acquainted with this particular shark’
The shark thrashed around the water, images show, and tore through a rope attached to a buoy off the Mexico coast. Great White sharks can measure up to 20ft, nearly the length of a single-decker bus. They weigh up to 2.5 tons
Seen in all its glory and seemingly at night time, the shark’s mouth is tightly closed and it does not appear to be in search of food. Incredibly, all of Ron’s remarkable images were taken only during the first dive on the first of three days underwater
Sharks are regularly hunted for their teeth, meat and fins – which produce a soup popular in East Asia. It’s estimated there are just 3,500 Great Whites left in the wild, with the species considered endangered. In most countries, their hunting is illegal
This image appears to show the shark chasing what it think is food, hitting the water’s surface with its nose. Ron said: ‘I was ensuring my friend’s mother was doing okay, breathing comfortably, and had the right amount of weights on to keep her feet on the floor of the cage. When suddenly, her eyes got huge and she frantically pointed behind me. What they had seen and I had not was a great white leaping out of the water.’
Photographer Ron Daniel, 55, is an e-commerce creative services manager. He spent three days taking the incredible photos on his Nikon D7200, a DSLR camera which costs hundreds of pounds. Optimizing it to underwater conditions is another task
‘People who thought they’d be scared say how they felt only peace. I’ve never seen anyone who had a negative reaction to the experience. It’s always overwhelmingly positive’, Ron said.
The ocean above the shark’s head appears to shudder as the predator fish hits the surface. Weighing around 2.5 tons each, their presence in the water would certainly be felt as soon as they drop from above the water – or emerge from deep below
Ron said: ‘99.9% of the time, these massive creatures are very chill. They swim in peace, moving gracefully and beautifully.’
The inside of the shark’s mouth is terrifyingly plain for all to see. Great Whites have around 300 serrated, triangular teeth
The talented part-time photographer said of his amazing series of images: ‘I have seen people cry when they see their first Great White. Others come out of the water speechless, unable to articulate what that interaction meant to them.’
A stunning, blurry close-up was taken by Ron just as he was preparing his camera for the dive. He said: ‘I spun around and fired off five frames as the shark belly-flopped back down, without knowing if my camera was even set up properly.’
Ron said he must focus on keeping tourists safe while taking the best pictures he can. He said: ‘As one of the “experienced veterans” now, I help first-timers get into the cage and make sure they’re feeling confident and safe in the underwater environment before focusing on my photography.’
Ron said of the hazy image, which had to be taken incredibly quickly: ‘The shutter speed was much lower than I would have chosen, but that unintentional blur does give you a sense of how fast things can happen down there.’