Pankajbhakta
Pankajbhakta

Head on collision



We were on a Dolphin Watch Cruise trip in the Bay Of Islands. Seeing us the dolphins started happily displaying their acrobatic skills but in sheer excitement t...
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We were on a Dolphin Watch Cruise trip in the Bay Of Islands. Seeing us the dolphins started happily displaying their acrobatic skills but in sheer excitement the poor fellows did not realize that they will bang head-to-head.
( Bay Of Islands, New Zealand )
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3 Comments | Report
viven
 
viven March 30, 2013
Perfect timing!
Arzhtatiana
 
Arzhtatiana May 05, 2015
Very nice!
emeraldlane
 
emeraldlane October 05, 2016
Incredible!
See all

Behind The Lens

Location
This photo was taken during a Dolphin Safari cruise in the spectacular Bay of Island, New Zealand. This place is a pristine marine park constituting of 144 small islands filled with marine wildlife like dolphins, orcas, seals and whales.
Time
I still remember the day very well as I thought we would never be able to go for the cruise. The previous day a huge storm had hit north of New Zealand and we were very depressed thinking that we would have to spend our trip sitting in our holiday home sipping wine. Due to the storm we had also cancelled our booking for the cruise. But after an entire night’s deluge, fortunately sun showed up in the morning. I sped my way to the cruise office to check if we still stand a chance and to my astonishment they had a few tickets left. So at last we were on a very choppy sea but in a breathtakingly beautiful surrounding. This shot was taken on 29 January 2011 at 2:36:41 pm.
Lighting
Dolphins are very fast swimmers and totally unpredictable about displaying their acrobatics. You got to be always ready otherwise it is very likely that you will miss the shot. I wanted to take my shot the moment they jump and if possible in mid-air. I needed a good lighting condition to obtain a high shutter-speed. It was broad daylight in the vast open sea therefore it was a perfect lighting condition for such shots.
Equipment
Camera - Nikon D5000 Nikon - 55-200mm /f 4.0-5.6 VR Settings: Auto Mode - Shutter Priority Release Mode - Continuous Auto Focus - Continuous Servo Area Mode - Dynamic Metering - Matrix Exposure - ISO 400/Shutter 1/2000 at f 6.3 Tripod - None. I took this shot hand-held as the dolphins were swimming at incredibly high speed and suddenly jumped in the air. You got to continuously move your camera to spot them and it will not be possible doing such camera movement with a tripod.
Inspiration
I have earlier taken photographs of dolphins in amusement park in Canada and Hong Kong but those are trained dolphins and photographing them is easy as their display of acrobatics are predictable and generally in rhythm with a music. New Zealand is an unique country where where dolphins shows are banned by the government in amusement parks but due to the pristine natural environment they are are found in abundance in various places in the sea. I wanted to take pictures of wild dolphins happily displaying their acrobatics in their natural habitat. It seems they have a natural instinct to exhibit such behavior in front of human beings.
Editing
Yes, bit of sharpening, contrast and saturation in Lightroom.
In my camera bag
My photo bag would usually have my Sigma 17-70 mm / f2.8-4.5 DC Macro that I have purchased few months back. A Nikon 50 mm /f 1.8D and 55-200 mm / f4.5-5.6 VR. A Nikon SB 400 Flash, spare battery for D5000 and SB400. Also a cloth for cleaning the filters in case it gets dusty.
Feedback
I knew that shooting these incredibly fast moving dolphins would be quite challenging and it would require a fast shutter speed so had set my camera on shutter-priority. Obtaining a fast shutter speed was not a problem in broad daylight but you have to take care of the direction of the sun otherwise the exposure can go wrong. I waited till our catamaran moved to such a position that the sun goes behind me. You also cannot wait too long as they may suddenly disappear and never come back. So, you just cannot wait for the perfect moment, you got to judiciously take few burst of shots. I pressed my shutter when the dolphins were mid-air but never thought the poor fellas will bang head-on.

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