Whales are amazing creatures, but they’re also very difficult to photograph.
First, there’s the question of where to find them. The problem is that whales live in a world that we do not get to see very often. Most people spend their time on land, or in boats on the water. This means that most people only get glimpses of whales from afar, but never have the opportunity to truly appreciate them up close and personal.
Whales can be found in all the world’s oceans and seas, but they aren’t always easy to spot. You might have to travel far from land or even out on a boat to see whales in their natural habitat.
You don’t want to get too close when you’re photographing whales because they can be dangerous if they feel threatened by humans. Also, if you get too close, the whale may move away before you have time to get any good pictures.
Whale Photography Tips
When you go whale watching, the whales are usually far away. So if you want to take a good picture of a whale, you need to be prepared and have some photographic tips.
Here are a few things that will help:
Use a telephoto lens.
The longer the focal length of your camera lens, the closer you can get to your subject without it being blurry. If you don’t have one available, try using an extension tube or even a close-up filter instead.
Get as low as possible.
You can get down on your knees or even lie flat on the ground for better perspective shots of whales. But remember, these animals can suddenly dive so be careful when crouching near them!
Watch out for reflections.
Reflections from water or sunlight can ruin a picture so keep this in mind when setting up your shot and try to avoid them if possible by moving yourself or your subject away from any potential sources of light like windows or mirrors (or even just move yourself away from the window!).
Make sure there’s enough light in the room/outside where you’re taking photos (this is especially important if you’re using a flash).
Use a Tripod
If you’re using a DSLR camera, or even an iPhone or smartphone, mount it on a tripod or monopod to get sharp shots. You can also use the timer function on your camera so that you don’t have to worry about shaking the camera when taking the picture. The ocean is pretty choppy, so having a stable platform for your camera will help prevent blurry images.
You want to make sure your exposure settings are correct so that the whales aren’t washed out in white water or shadows from clouds on sunny days. To make sure this doesn’t happen, open up your aperture as wide as possible (small f stop) and set your shutter speed to 1/1000th of a second or faster if possible. This will allow more light into your lens, which will allow you to take pictures when there is bright light but still keep it sharp and in focus.
Things to keep in mind
Whales are good swimmers and so are able to maintain their position while playing. This means that you need to wait until they are swimming near you. If you swim up to a whale, it may dive and come up in front of you. This will mean you have to move further away and then wait for the next play to happen. You don’t want to swim in too close, or the whale will think you are a threat and get angry. It is the same if you want to photograph them in their natural environment. You need to be close, but not too close. The best way is to use a telephoto lens to reduce the focal length and thus zoom out. When the whale is close to you, you should be able to see it clearly.
When photographing a whale, you should approach slowly. You don’t want to startle the whale, nor do you want to frighten it. As the whale gets closer, you should start to zoom in. If you are lucky, you will be able to get a good photograph.
There are some things that you can do to help you achieve this. First of all, you need to be able to swim well. You don’t need to be a great swimmer. You just need to be able to stay near the whale and keep up with it. Second, you should be patient. There will be a lot of activity and the whale will have to play and stop to eat. If you get bored waiting, move a bit further out and wait for another play. Third, you should be relaxed. If you are worried that the whale will attack you, it is better not to swim with it.
There are a number of techniques that you can use to photograph whales. One is called ‘follow through’. In this, you swim to the side of the whale and then keep following it. It is best to take several photographs from different angles as the whale can change direction. It is also important to get some photos while the whale is feeding. You can do this by moving towards the whale, keeping the camera steady and getting the images that you need.
There is a great deal to be learned from a whale. They are beautiful and graceful. They have a lot of personality. They are intelligent and they love to play. They live in the world, the only other animal that does this is ourselves.
There is always something special and fascinating about a whale, especially if you are lucky enough to see one close to home.