Ocean Predators: 20 Dazzling Photos

The unique camerawork of Kevin Dodge offers a surprising perspective of some of the Atlantic’s most popular game fish.

February 6, 2017

Kevin Dodge, of Delray Beach, Florida, spent two decades professionally shooting the world of high fashion and other subjects, none of which included the ocean. But in recent years, he’s devoted his talents to the sea and the predators that live in it. He’s found that swimming with those same predators can present challenges: The last image in this gallery will show, with a frightening real-life example, of just how close Dodge came in one instance to losing something near and dear to him while shooting underwater.

Marquesas Tarpon

Closeup of tarpon at the surface
Up very close and personal with a tarpon, its head just breaking the surface in the Marquesas just south of Key West. Kevin Dodge

Water-Level Mahi Leap

Leaping mahi photograhed from the surface
Amazing water-level view of leaping mahi. Though not visible here, “just underneath this fish were probably a thousand more mahi!” says the photographer. Kevin Dodge

Bad Broadbill

Angry broadbill swordfish presents a danger to photographer
This swordfish looks pissed off — and, says Dodge, he was. Just after this photo, “the fish turned and charged me, trying to gore me in the chest!” Kevin Dodge

Bull in Yellow

Big bull mahi turns for the camera
A good mahi turned just as the photographer got close enough for this full-frame shot. Kevin Dodge

Surreal Sailfish

Surreal sailfish
In a topsy-turvy perspective, the photographer’s rendition of this sailfish, taken underwater, makes it seem as if it’s skimming along the surface in a surreal cerulean world. Kevin Dodge

A Band of Bones

A school of bones swims in impossibly clear Florida Keys waters
It took Dodge a long time to be in position to get this shot of bonefish prowling a Florida flat. Kevin Dodge

Sail Aims for the Sky

Sailfish aims for the sky in an amazing leap
A “poetic jump” is the way Dodge terms this unlikely shot — unlikely given the rough conditions and overcast skies that morning. Kevin Dodge

Mahi Quartet

A quartet of beautiful mahi
Four stragglers from a very large school of mahi encountered while crossing the Gulfstream, headed home from the Bahamas. Kevin Dodge

Shark-Wary Wahoo

A wahoo dashes down, wary of sharks in the waters
“At Diana Bank in the southern Bahamas, we hooked more than 20 wahoo in a few hours — and got only two to the boat,” says Dodge. “Sharks got all the others, so jumping in the water to get this shot was a little nerve-wracking!” Kevin Dodge

Sail Splashdown

Sailfish splashes down after aerial leap
Dodge says he “chased this sail all over” to get this shot of splashdown — the aftermath of a sensational aerial leap as the sail crashed back into the water. Kevin Dodge

Remarkable Mahi

Remarkable colors of a mahi
Dodge’s photo captures the remarkable colors of this mahi, which the photographer says he snapped “in the middle of nowhere, in 3,000 feet of water.” The fish swam right to him, apparently curious. Kevin Dodge

Swordfish Demands Respect

Shooting swordfish is tricky
Photographing swordfish in situ is a tricky thing. This fish appeared worn out but suddenly came alive again, and Dodge had to keep out of the way of the business end of the fish. Kevin Dodge

Face to Face with a Tarpon

A big tarpon up close
Another view of the big Marquesas tarpon, before its release. Kevin Dodge

Mahi Ready to Pounce

Mahi about to pounce on squid
About to be caught: A Gulfstream bull mahi, fins out and rigid, prepares to pounce on a squid bait near the boat. Kevin Dodge

Shark: A Portrait of Menace

Looking up at a menacing shark
At this spot in the Bahamas, Dodge says sharks were so numerous that trying to get a portrait shot of just one wasn’t easy. Kevin Dodge

Bonefish in the Sun

Bahamas bonefish in sun's rays
In relatively deep water in the Bahamas, a bonefish swims through the sun’s rays. Kevin Dodge

Soaring Swordfish

Swordfish appears to soar over water
Visually turning the scene on its head, a swordfish appears to be soaring over the surface. In fact, Dodge says the fish had just been released and seconds after this photo, newly oriented, it righted itself and darted away. Kevin Dodge

Sail Swimming Away

Sailfish swims away from photographer
Going away: free-swimming sails, Dodge says, are hard to approach. “I was able to catch up to this one just in time for this over/under shot.” Kevin Dodge

Mahi Overhead

Large mahi seen from below
The view from below this mahi off the central Florida coast show its magnificent colors Kevin Dodge

A Narrow Escape

Photographer Kevin Dodge nearly impaled
While photographing this swordfish, while hooked near the boat, “it tried to kill me — to spear me in the chest. So I grabbed its sword and pushed it down,” says photographer Kevin Dodge (center). Only when he had gotten back into the boat after the fish was landed did he realize his shorts had a new hole, visible here between his legs. That, by any stretch, is a call too close for comfort. Kevin Dodge

Comments From Artist Kevin Dodge

“Creating this art has allowed me to capture the extraordinary moments of time when I encounter beautiful creatures in their world and share these experiences with others. I am inspired by the sheer beauty and rawness of nature but at the same time showing it in a very artful way, through my eyes, which are filled with my love for the ocean. My ability to free dive has allowed me to use my decades of professional photo experience to capture images in a way few can. As far as holding my breath, I hold it as long as I need to capture that special moment. You have to be ready to shoot when the time is right…you never get a second chance to get that great shot while swimming in the world of fast and dangerous marine creatures.”

Visit Kevin Dodge’s web site at

Now see 10 amazing jumping-sailfish photos in this gallery Capt. Chris Sheeder
Then see these 25 amazing shark photos Pat Ford

More Photos