Thursday, February 24, 2011

Grossvatervorfreuden. *)

*) = The joys of becoming a grandfather

Yes, the bad old Wolf will finally become a Grandwolf toward the middle of July, and thanks to the progress in the medical field, the parents, Carmen and Felix, already know that their kid will be a little wolf.

That takes me back 35 years when Karin was pre
gnant and we had to wait until Felix was born to know it was Felix Alexander, not Ana Catarina, if our baby would have been a girl. I wanted a girl, Karin wished for a boy.

Having been present at the birth, I was the first to know we had a boy, and as I was already then highly adaptable by nature and life experience, I immediately fell passionately in love with the boy I would go fishing with eventually!... As it turned out, we did more
diving than fishing.

Felix, 5 weeks old (Nassau / Bahamas, 1976)
Photo: Wolfgang Leander
Click on image

Felix could never really understand that every time I look at him I still think of him as the schnuffelig baby he once was.

His own little boy will make him realize that parental love is more than just a three-dimensional affair - it is that mysterious fourth dimension that is the ever lasting 'bonding agent' between parents and children.

Mazel tov to Carmen and Felix, and to Karin and me!!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Ethologist Ila France Porcher: Sharks are sensitive and intelligent.

Most people still believe that sharks are "killing machines" and "dumb" animals. Here we have a book that tells you just how little even shark divers like me know about these fantastic creatures.

My multi-talented friend Ila France Porcher is the author of "My Sunset Rendezvous", an unsual and most captivating book about her vast experience studying, and closely interacting with, black fin reef sharks in French Polynesia.

What makes the book so special is Ila's deep passion, and compassion, for animals, and her scientific approach to the subject of shark ethology, coupled with a love for words that is a rare combination in the world of science and literature. Ila also illustrated the book.

Read about the book, and have a look at some of the reviews as posted on

Marine and land biologists, shark lovers, and literary gourmets will hugely enjoy "My Sunset Rendezvous".

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Oldie but Goodie.

Caribbean Reef Shark (Green Turtle Cay / Bahamas, 1999)
Photo: Wolfgang Leander
Click to enlarge

I know, this is not a prize winning photo. And yet, I like it very much: It is the type of image Hans Hass took in the late thirties / early forties when he still did breath hold diving. Photographs like this one got me hooked on sharks when I was about six years old.

Since I was strongly impressed by the first shark photographs, I subconsciously still tend to photograph these amazing animals pretty much the way the pioneers of underwater photography did. Thus, I don't use flash; I stick to black and white film; I take my pics while free-diving, and I use only moderate wide angle lenses.

The featured photograph was taken with an ASA 400 film pushed to ASA 1600 - hence the grain. I used a f3,5 28mm wide angle lens, and the available light was too low to have a fast enough shutter speed - it was maybe 1/25th of a second; you can tell by the blurry yellow tail snapper in the foreground.

I still remember vividly the intense way that shark, a young female, observed me, and luckily I was able to capture that piercing look. The eye, however small it is, is the focal point of the photograph. Enlarge the image, and look how the shark looks at YOU.

So, yes, while this pic is just an average one, it is, to me, a goodie that is almost iconographic in a very personal sense.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Project FIN

A friend and colleague from Singapore sent me a link to an article on Channel NewsAsia about the recent campaign that was launched by a local marine conservation group called Project FIN.  More than likely you already have seen the image above, people on Facebook have set their profile pictures to celebrate the Chinese New Year WITH NO shark fins.  Good social media initiative.

Visit the Facebook page here and read the complete article here.