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AlanJ

Whale tail



A Southern Right Whale off the coast of South Africa

A Southern Right Whale off the coast of South Africa
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Runner Up in Colossal Wildlife Photo Contest
Contest Finalist in Colossal Wildlife Photo Contest
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17 Comments | Report
francescabullet PRO+
 
francescabullet June 02, 2018
Wow Great shot! My compliments
robwill236 PRO+
 
robwill236 June 02, 2018
Fantastic....
simbona PRO+
 
simbona June 03, 2018
Wow!!
simbona PRO+
 
simbona June 03, 2018
Wow!!
simbona PRO+
 
simbona June 03, 2018
Wow!!
marilynyoungdoherty
 
marilynyoungdoherty June 04, 2018
Great capture
AlanJ PRO
 
AlanJ June 06, 2018
Thanks for all the comments !
Dcrisp
 
Dcrisp June 07, 2018
Join the conversation. Add a comment or even better, a critique.
Dcrisp
 
Dcrisp June 07, 2018
Well done, it takes many hours and missed opportunities to capture a shot of this quality!
Julia_137
 
Julia_137 September 16, 2018
Beautiful shot! Come and check out a few of mine sometime 😄
Neckbone
 
Neckbone November 02, 2018
Cool image!
judykarendal PRO+
 
judykarendal November 11, 2018
Congratulations! Amazing capture!
LETSGOPHOTOSHOOT
 
LETSGOPHOTOSHOOT December 09, 2018
Fantastic job, one of the best I have seen of this type.
IreneNo PRO+
 
IreneNo December 11, 2018
I’m yet to see better
AlanJ PRO
 
AlanJ December 12, 2018
Thanks so much for all the positive comments
Friendly
 
Friendly April 11, 2019
Fantastic shot!
kbsimages PRO
 
kbsimages Jun 25
WOW!!!!! What an Awesome Capture!!!!

Behind The Lens

Location
This Southern Right Whale was photographed off the coast of South Africa. I was on a small boat out of the harbour at Hermanus, one of the best whale watching places in the world. In the appropriate season (June to November) whales can very often be seen from the shore and from the town itself. These whales spend summer in the far Southern Ocean feeding, then in the southern hemisphere winter months migrate to the coastal waters of South Africa to calve and mate and tend to their young before it is time to return south.
Time
The trip out was in the afternoon. The image makes it appear that the sea was quite calm - far from it !! It was pretty rough and the boat was rocking constantly. Indeed from the upper deck the pitching could be quite violent and you had to somehow wedge yourself against a railing to avoid falling - the bruises took quite a while to fade ! Fortunately I don't suffer from motion sickness.
Lighting
The light was ok. Not sunshine but quite bright.
Equipment
The shot was from quite a few years ago with a modest Canon 350D underlining that you don't need fancy equipment to collect a good image. It was hand held of course, neither a tripod or even monopod being usable in the conditions. The image was taken at 1/640, f7.1 and ISO 200 with a Canon 100-400 at 170mm. If I was doing it now I'd want to push the speed nearer to 1/2000 by increasing ISO or opening the lens further.
Inspiration
Having seen the whales from shore I certainly wanted to get out there and get closer. I got quite a show. The early part of the trip was not too eventful but later one whale took a real interest in the boat and it was like it put on a performance, coming real close at times, diving right under the boat and coming out of the water at times. It was then I was able to get this shot.
Editing
The horizon in this shot was already remarkably straight - some of my other images were a bit crooked ! Just as well because what you see here is the whole frame with no cropping - a little bit of luck needed there. But as the great South African Gary Player said "the more I practice the luckier I get". Contrast needed boosted and colour balance corrected because of the sea light.
In my camera bag
Now I have 2 bodies, a Canon 70D and 80D. I don't want to risk having one fail while on a big trip. I have Canon lenses 10-22, 24-105L series and 100-400L series; the latter I use a lot for wildlife and sport. Given that the bodies have 1.6 crop sensors that gives me a huge range effectively up to 640mm.
Feedback
Well you need to get to a place where whales are seen frequently and preferably where there is a chance of breaching and leaving the water rather than just barely touching the surface. Not easy ! Having your lens trained on the right spot where something is likely to happen involves a bit of luck and some inspired guessing. With a digital camera on high speed continuous mode you obviously have more chance of getting THE shot.

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