Humpback WhalePhotos, Pictures, Prints

View humpback whale photos, license humpback whale stock pictures, and buy stunning humpback whale prints by award winning professional photographer Jon Cornforth. To license an image for editorial or commercial use, click on the License Image button and fill out the form. To purchase a fine art print, select your image size and presentation style before clicking on the Buy Print button.

Ocean’s Titans

Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) are a type of baleen whale, meaning they have plates of whalebone in their mouths for the purpose of straining plankton. Weighing up to 80,000 lbs, they are one of the largest whales in the rorqual family. Delightfully, the males produce a complex song, which can last up to 20 minutes.

While their long pectoral fins and knobby heads make them a wonder to behold, it’s their acrobatic flips known as breaching that draws Jon to shoot them again and again. Humpbacks feed in Alaska, which is where Jon catches the best images of them. Once the whales are well-fed and ready to breed, the whales swim to tropical and sub-tropical locations in Hawaii, Tonga, French Polynesia, and Mexico to have their offspring.

These whales are most famous for their cooperative technique of bubble-net feeding. In this, a group of whales blows bubbles while swimming in a circle. This creates a ring of bubbles underneath the krill that is their prey. Once they’ve rounded up their food, the whales shoot upward through the bubble net with their mouths open, swallowing thousands of fish in one gulp.

Due to heavy hunting, these whales’ numbers once dropped to only 700 individuals. However, since the International Whaling Commission banned commercial humpback whaling in 1966, the whales’ numbers have been on the rise. Today, over 20,000 of these epic creatures patrol the seas.

Explore with Cornforth images