Humpback Whale

On the way back from Aialik Glacier, the boat cruised by several more of those rocky islands that the birds enjoy so much. As we approached one hunk of rock, the captain noticed something that piqued his interest. All I saw, however, was a rather large flock of birds just above the surface of the water.

Feeding Frenzy


I didn't have to wait very long to understand. A Humpback Whale surfaced right where all those birds were flocking.

Humpback Whale


Humpback Whale


The birds and the whale were after the same thing: fish. The whale was fishing from below, and the birds from above.

Kittiwakes and Humpback Whale


Humpback Whale


I wonder if any birds, in an ill-timed attempt at a fish, have ever been eaten by a whale. I don't see how the whale could avoid any bird that got in the way. And there were enough Kittiwakes, Gulls and Puffins taking their chances for a fish that it just seems inevitable that one of those birds would eventually end up as a bit of whale chow. If one did, I am not sure how I would even notice.

Humpback Whale


Eventually the whale moved in one direction, and our boat moved in another. The birds seemed to settle down as well. I think that meant that there were no more fish to be had. We got a few more glimpses of the whale surfacing, spray puffing up into the air, before we headed on our way.

Humpback Whale

4 comments:

T and S said...

What a series Todd, I like the 3rd shot the best

Thomas

HANNIBAL said...

I loved the DOF on these. To me, I see low light, various distances, no blur! How could you possibly have both shutter speed & aperture with this light? Tell us your secret!

Todd Dixon said...

Thanks for the nice comments!

Hannibal, I really do not have a secret. In fact, in many cases, I call it luck. Especially in a very fluid situation like being on a moving boat trying to take pictures of a moving subject. I still feel like I am fairly clueless about the capabilities of my camera and lens, so I sometimes marvel at how well some of my photographic attempts turn out. On the other hand, I took over 700 photos on this boat trip, but only a very small number (~5%) were worth sharing (IMO). I set my ISO for the light (looks like I was using 200 for the Humpback Whale), set my camera on Aperture Priority, tried to push the Aperture smaller (watching exposure time to ensure it does not get too long), and...most important I think...used the AI Servo mode on my camera. Then I spammed the camera shutter and took a ton of pictures, thinking the odds are that something has got to be worth sharing :-)

HANNIBAL said...

Call it what you will, it definately worked. You captured some fine photographs in what seems not optimal conditions. I use al servo and it works well, but I rarely use AP. I will give it another shot, as most of my concern in wildlife is motion blur, so I push the shutter speed instead of the aperture. I'm going to try compromising alittle and see what I get. Thanks for your feedback and tips! Your photos really are quite good! Thanks again!