Tail of the whale
From Don Peters/ DPA instructor in Chicago
To view more of his images please visit http://digitalphotoacademy.com/portfolio/donald-peters/
They say that timing is everything. On a whale watching excursion in Sitka, Alaska from a small boat, I quickly learned the rhythms of these mighty leviathans. Breaching the surface after minutes below, they would slowly roll together through the sea for about six or eight times, filling their huge lungs with air. Seemingly on cue, the entire pod would suddenly take one higher-than –normal roll, arching their backs and then dive again, together, into the depths. At that final moment, they would display their flukes, as if waving goodbye. A fast (1/4000) shutter speed in the moving boat was necessary to freeze the tail—and the water streaks and droplets cascading down, just before the tail disappeared below the waves. Also, setting the camera in “burst” mode (10 frames per second) increased the chances of getting a “keeper” shot. As photographers, we need to learn the simple cycles of nature to be ready for these moments—and to understand and overcome our own impatient tendencies! (Nikon D300 with 18-200mm Nikkor lens at 200mm, ISO 800, 1/4000 at f/4.5).