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Thursday, December 13 , 2018, 5:46 am | Fair 43º


Maritime Museum Exhibit Gets Up Close And Personal With Great Whites

The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum will host a free opening and artist's reception for  Face-to-Face with the Great Whites, an exhibit of Ralph Clevenger's photography and video work, 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, at the museum, 13 Harbor Way.

The exhibit runs through March.

The great white shark is the only known survivor of the prehistoric genus Carcharodon and one of the world’s apex predators.

It is generally accepted that they grow to be 22-23 feet long, give birth to live young, and are found mainly in temperate and tropical seas.

Most active during the daytime, their preferred prey is marine mammals, including, seals, sea lions, elephant seals, dolphins; and fish, including other sharks and rays. They are, however, highly adaptable and can shift their diet and habitats as needed.

Although most people are aware of great whites, relatively little is actually known about them because of their scarcity and reclusive behavior.

As a result, their total population is unknown and even local estimates are questionable; but they are being caught by fisherman in increasing numbers and there may be cause for concern for the species.

Working underwater and in submerged cages, Ralph Clevenger was able to take the dramatic images presented in the Face-to-Face with the Great Whites exhibit and provide viewers with an up-close view of these magnificent creatures.

In Clevenger’s words, his photography better “allows us to understand them and helps to demystify their reputation as ‘ferocious man eaters.’ ”

A couple of short films will run during the exhibit to give viewers an idea of what it feels like to work inside the shark cages.

Clevenger grew up on the coast of North Africa and has been diving since he was 7 years old. He has taught for 33 years and traveled worldwide on photo assignments and for publication.

Clevenger holds bachelor’s degrees in zoology and photography and worked as a diver/biologist for Scripps Institute before becoming a senior faculty member at Brooks Institute.

Now based in Santa Barbara, he said he “pursues his passion for the natural world by specializing in location photography and video projects of eco-travel, environmental portraiture, wildlife and undersea subjects.”

To register for the talk about sharks, visit www.sbmm.org or call 805-456-8747. The event is sponsored by Mimi Michaelis and Alice Tweedy Tuohy Foundation.

For more about the Maritime Museum, visit sbmm.org or call 805-962-8404.

— Rita Serotkin for Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.


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