I spent the week after Labor Day in the San Juan Islands photographing orcas with my good friends Stuart & Robin Westmorland and Doug Perrine. We experienced incredible summer weather and saw a lot of wildlife, including transient orcas, humpback whales, and even a sea otter, but never saw the resident orcas who promptly returned the day after we departed. This is one of my favorite images from the trip. I would like to point out that not only did I perfectly line this orca up swimming towards the setting sun, but I was also steering the boat while shooting. Not many photographers have the ability to do both at the same time.
A few weeks ago, I spent an amazing 3 days photographing our resident orcas with my good friends Ken, Stuart, and Robin. I’ve never put much effort into photographing them here in the Northwest, mostly because there are too many whale watching boats and legal restrictions on observing them. So, we were surprised and delighted when we had the orcas all to ourselves from late afternoon through sunset every day. Not only were the seas calm and the light amazing, but the orcas were very active as demonstrated by this breaching orca!
This is my favorite image from my May trip to Seward, Alaska to photograph orcas. I experienced a lot of terrible weather, but through my perseverance, I was eventually rewarded with 4 glorious days of sunshine, calm seas, and orcas. I saw about 50 different animals in the various pods of resident and transient orcas over those 4 days near Cape Aialik. As this orca swam along the dark, shaded shore, I anticipated its backlit blow when it came to the surface to breath, so I positioned my boat in the bright daylight and waited for the orca to swim past. Right on cue, the orca surfaced and I photographed the explosive pattern of the moisture in the air as it exhaled. I also like the contrast in this image of the bright blow against the dark shore with the bright green water. I created this image with a Canon 1DmkIV that I rented from LensRental.com and my 70-200mm f2.8 IS II lens. This image is a single-exposure which required a minimal amount of processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.
Dang, has it really been 2 months since my last blog post? After our big house move this spring, I’ve been making it a priority to edit all of the trips that I never seem to have time to edit. That has been going really well, so now I am going to begin sharing my new images.
This is one of my favorite photos from my May trip to Alaska when I went up to use my boat for the first time this summer out of Seward. My goal was to spend the better part of 3 weeks trying to photo orcas. The weather had other plans for me, but during my 16 days of trying, I eventually experienced 4 nice days, and fortunately on those days I found lots of orcas. My dream image was to photograph a breaching orca in nice light with the snow covered mountains in the background. While I did see over a dozen breaches, I was unsuccessful photographing a breach. However, I did create many images of orcas with nice light and beautiful scenery like this one, so it was not a total waste of time. This pod was photographed at 11pm near Cape Aialik. I created this image with a Canon 1DmkIV that I rented from LensRental.com and my 70-200mm f2.8 IS II lens. This image is a single-exposure which required a minimal amount of processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5, plus I applied a graduated neutral density filter in processing using Nik Color Efex Pro 4 that Laurie Rubin at Nik Software was kind enough to let me start playing around with.