Anybody shooting whales?

Started Apr 4, 2014 | Discussions
Chris R-UK Forum Pro • Posts: 18,795
Anybody shooting whales?
3

My wife and I have done 4 trips in the last 6 years with an emphasis on whale watching, to Hawaii, twice to British Columbia and we have just come back from Baja California.  We have also done less serious whale watching in South Africa, the Canaries and the Caribbean.

I have probably taken 2,500 whale shots and of those I have taken 3-4 that are worth putting in a club competition..

I have seen probably 150 breaches (sometimes just the splash afterwards) and have only 1 half reasonable breach shot of a grey whale taken in San Ignacio Lagoon (with my backup camera, a Panasonic GH2).  It isn't really sharp and the light is difficult so it isn't competition quality.

Some shots that I like:

An orca in British Columbia, so strictly speaking a dolphin rather than a whale.  Taken early in the morning when the water was a flat calm and I love the mood and sense of threat.

A blue whale in the Sea of Cortez.  This was the only blue whale that we saw that showed its fluke when diving and I managed to get a good angle and keep some of the land in the background.

A humpback in the Sea of Cortez in the late evening sun.  The best of light in which I have ever shot a whale.

I think that the problem is that, apart from breaches and bubble feeding in Alaska, most whale shots are simply rather boring.  I have lots of shots of "friendly" grey whales coming up to the pangas in San Ignacio Lagoon, but they are just documentary shots (and mostly taken with a waterproof P&S).

I would be interested in other people's views and innovative whale shots.

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Chris R

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Myrgjorf Regular Member • Posts: 356
Re: Anybody shooting whales?

Here are a couple of humpbacks from Cape Cod. At that time I "only" had a 550D (T2i) and a 55-250mm. We were exited to see the humpbacks do their bubble fishing while the sea gulls tried to get their share. We didn't find them boring at all.

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pixseal
pixseal Veteran Member • Posts: 3,415
Re: Anybody shooting whales?

Nice job Chris - love your close-ups.

Last summer we went whale watching in Juneau, Alaska and were lucky to watch a pod bubblenet-feed. Shot from the upper deck of a medium sized boat.

The images were shot 1 second apart using a 7D + 70-200/4L IS @ 70mm, 1/500, f/8, ISO 400

"Original" is a 50% reduction. Notice the fish jumping and the bubbles.

"Original" is a 50% reduction. Notice the upper jaws and baleen.

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Flying Fish Veteran Member • Posts: 4,476
Re: Anybody shooting whales?

Chris:  Nice shots.  I like the orca the best, and I believe it's an odontocoet--a toothed whale--so you get to count it.  You're right, though, the scale and the difficulty of seeing much out of the water makes them challenging, but as you and the responders have shown, it's challenging, but not impossible to get interesting shots.

FF

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OP Chris R-UK Forum Pro • Posts: 18,795
Re: Anybody shooting whales?

Flying Fish wrote:

Chris: Nice shots. I like the orca the best, and I believe it's an odontocoet--a toothed whale--so you get to count it.

But it is in the family Delphinidae along with all porpoises and dolphins plus pilot whales, pigmy killer whales and false killer whales.

I find dolphins even more difficult to shoot than great whales so maybe I will have to include Orcas (which are a lot easier too shoot than dolphins because of their size) in my dolphin album!

You're right, though, the scale and the difficulty of seeing much out of the water makes them challenging, but as you and the responders have shown, it's challenging, but not impossible to get interesting shots.

FF

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OP Chris R-UK Forum Pro • Posts: 18,795
Re: Anybody shooting whales?

Those are fantastic shots, especially the top one.

I have been trying to persuade my wife to go to Alaska but she doesn't like the cold.  We will certainly do the Baja trip again which was absolutely fantastic, especially the grey whales in San Ignacio lagoons, the blue whales and the thousands of dolphins that we saw.

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WilbaW
WilbaW Forum Pro • Posts: 11,589
Re: Anybody shooting whales?

Thanks for sharing. I know what you mean about shooting thousands of boring shots of whales. 

Southern Right Breath Rainbow, King George Sound

Humpback Headstand, Exmouth Gulf

I might have a couple of other interesting shots on the other computer, but that's about it.

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Peter Marchant Regular Member • Posts: 301
Re: Anybody shooting whales?

Anybody shooting whales?

Only the bloody Japanese!

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