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viknash November 13, 2013
speechless.....wonderful picture and precision....hats of man...
mikemarshall November 13, 2013
Thanks! There were probably a hundred following our boat but this was the only one I got jumping.
photosue50 December 12, 2013
Beautiful, where is this!
mikemarshall December 12, 2013
Thank you! It was taken off the coast of Maui, near the island of Lanai.
PaulHenryStudios April 29, 2014
Nice capture and! background, just a great shot!
mikemarshall April 29, 2014
Thanks! :)
catini April 29, 2014
Great capture, congrats on your feature!
mikemarshall April 29, 2014
Thanks. Your photos are awesome!
AlanJakarta April 29, 2014
Superb well-timed capture of this dolphin & nice blue tint treatment. Congratulations.
mikemarshall April 29, 2014
Thanks Alan!
traceprinslooreppin April 29, 2014
...congrats on your Feature, awesome capture :-)
mikemarshall April 29, 2014
Thank you very much!
WileKyK April 29, 2014
Great timing! Congratulations on your Feature!
mikemarshall April 29, 2014
Thanks. I kind of got lucky that I was pointing the camera in the right spot at the right time. :)
simonerogers April 29, 2014
This is just amazing!
toml721 April 29, 2014
take my picture!! that's what he's saying !! lol
mikemarshall April 30, 2014
Ha, well they were definitely putting on a show for our boat!
iceman2 April 29, 2014
Wonderful capture.Congrats!
jonnywilliams Platinum
jonnywilliams April 29, 2014
Wow that is Amazing well done :) awesome capture :)
mikemarshall April 30, 2014
Thanks Jonny!
SVPhotos April 29, 2014
Great shot!
kkat Platinum
kkat April 29, 2014
Nice one!! Congratulations!!!
symesie04 April 29, 2014
TravelBugDove April 29, 2014
WOW!!! Amazing shot!!! Award well deserved!!!
mikemarshall April 30, 2014
siandear April 29, 2014
Brynn April 29, 2014
This is amazing!
LionesLens April 29, 2014
Absolutely wonderful action capture! Congratulations on your award!
limar1974 April 29, 2014
cool shot!is this in Hawaii?
mikemarshall April 29, 2014
Thanks and yes, it's in between Maui and Lanai.
brentmorris April 30, 2014
What a great shot
BowmanLifeStudios April 30, 2014
Nice clean shot of a spinner, love watching these guys play in the open ocean, very nice edit and timing as well!
mikemarshall May 01, 2014
Thank you!
lauraphotography May 04, 2014
amazing shot
photosue50 May 13, 2014
Great shot!!!!
chadthompson July 06, 2014
Fantastic capture!!
michaelgaleone November 26, 2014
Great Capture!
giuseppedip50 December 03, 2014
Wonderful image!Perfect timing!Congrats
mikemarshall December 03, 2014
redwriter Platinum
redwriter April 20, 2015
Amazing shot. - Congrats. - Jake
reubentlee April 25, 2015
theres an eye in the mountain amazing
mikemarshall May 11, 2015
Thanks! Never noticed that before.
MLundberg1 June 24, 2015
amazing well done!
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adavies March 17, 2017
Great image! Really well done! If you haven't done so already, please consider joining my FREEZE! challenge:)
florencekennedybulthuis Platinum
florencekennedybulthuis March 22, 2018
Great capture !
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Behind The Lens


This photo was taken from a tiny pontoon boat, half-way between Maui and Lanai. It was particularly tough because the sea was choppy and I had to hold my lens steady enough to get the shot without blur (which I didn't quite achieve, even though I was shooting at 1/400 sec). I only had about a second to point the camera and grab the shot before the dolphin was back under water.


This was taken in the mid-afternoon, after having toured around the island of Lanai and snorkeled a bit. We were on our way back to Maui when we were treated with a wonderful show by a humpback whale which swam right up to our boat and breached several times. I have a photo of the whale from this same trip on Viewbug as well, called "Breach". After the whale submerged for the final time, I changed lenses to get some landscapes of the island. But we were soon joined by a large group of spinner dolphins and they were very playful. I didn't have time to put my telephoto lens back on, but as things turned out, it ended up being a bit of a happy accident, because I was able to get a nice wide view of the island in the background while the dolphin was in mid-jump. This was taken on January 4th, 2013.


I didn't have any control of the lighting, having taken the shot from a tiny pontoon boat in open sea. The sky was a bit overcast and hazy in the background, but it was sunny where the dolphins were playing. I tried to get the best exposure I could with a high shutter speed and low ISO. The aperture was f/9. If I could go back, I might try using an even higher shutter speed and lower aperture. The "dolphin-blur" has always bugged me.


This was taken with a Canon 60D, with the 24-105 lens at 85mm. 1/400 sec, f/9, ISO-100. There wasn't room on the small boat to bring a lot of equipment, so no tripod or external flash.


It's not often I get the chance to see spinner dolphins and humpback whales playing and jumping around right next to our tiny pontoon boat, so I jumped at the opportunity to grab a few snaps while I had the chance. The boat tour wasn't even billed as being a whale-watching vessel, and to be honest, it wasn't very safe to be so close to a large humpback whale who is surfacing frequently and about 5 times larger than our boat. The captain did his best to maintain some distance, but for some reason the whale and the dolphins took an interest in us. Between the snorkeling and sight-seeing around Lanai, and the whale and dolphins playing, the day ended up being one of the best of my life, and I was thrilled to capture the memories with my camera.


On this particular trip, I made a terrible error and accidentally set my camera to capture JPEG instead of RAW. It was a huge disappointment when I got back to my room in Maui and discovered my error. So my processing capabilities were already limited to begin with. Also, I had just started teaching myself to use Lightroom at the time, and I hadn't quite grasped all the nuances yet. With this version, I began by using a split-tone preset that I found on the web, and made some adjustments. Since then, I've learned a great deal about processing in Lightroom and monitor calibration. I'm much happier with a more recent edit of this photo which I think is far better. You can see it on Viewbug here:

In my camera bag

I change my bag pretty much every day depending on what I anticipate I will be shooting. I also have a tendency to over-pack my gear and carry around way more stuff than I really need. On this particular day, I knew that I would be on a small boat with a very tiny area to keep things dry. We also had to share the boat with four other people, so I was really forced to bring only the essentials. I had my Canon 60D, the 24-105mm lens, and my 100-400mm lens. I also brought some lens wipes and extra batteries. These days, I almost never leave without my 16-35mm f/2.8 and my 70-200 f/2.8 lenses, and my Canon 6D. And I always bring my tripod, no matter how difficult it ends up being to carry around all day, because I've been burned too many times when I didn't bring it. I always make sure to have my ND filters and polarizer handy as well.


Well, assuming you don't live in the area, and don't have the benefit of being able to go out multiple times for the best weather and lighting, I would definitely recommend checking the weather in advance, and doing your best to plan for a nice, bright day. The more light, the higher the shutter speed you can use, and that's essential for capturing fast action. Try to find out exactly what kind of boat you will be on and how much room you will have to keep equipment dry. This will affect how much and what type of gear you can bring. If you will be sharing the boat with others, keep in mind that they will also want pictures, and you will need to communicate so that you're not blocking other people's shots and vice versa. If the other people on board see that you know what you're doing, then offer to send them copies of the pictures in exchange for letting you take all the prime viewing spots when you encounter whales and dolphins. And always remember to follow through with your promises. Don't be that guy who never sends the images, and also prevents the other people from taking their own pictures. They will remember you, and who knows, maybe even send other people to look at your website and social media pages. Good rain gear is handy when shooting on a small boat. A large zoom with good image stabilization is very good to have since most animals won't be right next to your boat. A monopod would probably be beneficial for steadying your shots, but a tripod would be too cumbersome in most cases. Also, keep your non-camera eye open and on the lookout for breaches, because you will only have a couple of seconds to position the camera, grab focus, and take the picture. Make sure you have your settings ready before-hand so you can grab the shot at a moment's notice. It's probably a good idea to set your focus point to the center ahead of time, so you can quickly set autofocus and take the shot while the animal is mid-jump.

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