Tips on Photographing Whales

One of the most rewarding and yet most frustrating pictures to capture are those of whales.  Photographing whales is a unique and exciting experience that requires a bit of knowledge and patience on the photographers part.  The photographs are used in educational books, slide shows, and even in posters and there is a high demand for beautiful ocean shots of the whales in their natural environment.  There are a few things a photographer’s must consider before venturing out to the sea for these beautiful shots.

  1. You must first research the specific time of year for specific types of whales.  Whale watching is not a year round adventure and only in specific oceans.  The best thing to do is research areas such as the coast line in California, Hawaii, Alaska, and around Maine.  Also determine which type of whale you are interested in capturing.
  2. One thing other than patience that is required for the perfect photograph is an accurate shutter speed.  Most cameras come with a sport setting or fast shutter speed setting.  These are the best for capturing those quick photos.  Also, some cameras have what is called a TV mode.  This particular mode video records but allows you to chop the video into pictures.  When it comes to capturing these types of photos, this may be the best way to do so.
  3. Once you have found the location as well as the specie you will be photographing, research the available boats that can take you to your location.  Some boats in the area will advertise that they specialize in whale watching but only a few can really get you up close and personal.  Checking with your local coast guard or simply looking for the vessel with the orange flag can help you determine which boat is appropriate for you.  Once you have selected your vessel, tell the crew that you are photographer and a lot of times they will allow you to position yourself in the perfect place for photographs.
  4. Take numerous shots.  If you choose not to go with TV mode I would recommend taking several shots at a time.  Do not waist time with deleting or viewing images after capturing but rather continue to take photographs.  You will have plenty of time to delete unwanted pictures once back in your studio.  There are no reshoots with whales.
  5. Make sure to take care of your equipment before, during, and after.  You will be placed close to the animal and sometimes you will get wet.  Prepare yourself as well as your camera for the possibility of getting wet.  Once you have returned from your adventure, immediately set your camera somewhere where it can warm up to prevent condensation.

Taking photographs of whales and other marine animals can be fun and exciting.  But sadly it can be frustrating and exhausting.  Just take your time and take many pictures for a successful adventure.


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