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Rod C was one of my most fun workshop students.  It was all in his attitude which I quickly found infectious.   You can tell he loves photography and he didn’t object to working hard to meet his personal goals.  Smart as a whip he listened well and quickly incorporated the course material into his own style.  Yet, photography takes more than being intelligent, it takes a good eye for composition and a strong work ethic, two traits Rod C has in abundance.  I remember thinking “with work he could go pro..”  Since then Rod’s work has continued to improve and impress.  I hope you enjoy his latest outing.  You can contact Rod at this link.Rod C was one of my most fun workshop students.  It was all in his attitude which I quickly found infectious.   You can tell he loves photography and he didn’t object to working hard to meet his personal goals.  Smart as a whip he listened well and quickly incorporated the course material into his own style.  Yet, photography takes more than being intelligent, it takes a good eye for composition and a strong work ethic, two traits Rod C has in abundance.  I remember thinking “with work he could go pro..”  Since then Rod’s work has continued to improve and impress.  I hope you enjoy his latest outing.  You can contact Rod at this link.

  

The whales migrate up the east coast of Australia in June to the tropical waters of the Whitsunday Islands where they calve before heading back to the Antarctic.

These photos were taken off Coffs Harbour about 500km north of Sydney in October.  I think late September & October are definitely the best months for seeing them as they head south again.  Firstly there is a good chance of seeing the calves breaching and if you’re very lucky you’ll see the bulls breaching as they try to impress the in season mothers who have recently calved.

We decided to take a 2 hour boat ride with one of the many whale watching tour operators dotted up the east coast of Australia.  You can get lucky and get some good shots from the shore, but have a better chance with one of the tours.

In the photos below are 2 mothers and 2 calves which I think are Humpbacks.  I took a total of 330 photos of which 20 were worth keeping.  It’s really hard to predict when & where the calves will breach.  I have more than 200 photos of nothing but a water splash or part of the tail.

 

In the photos below are 2 mothers and 2 calves which I think are Humpbacks.  I took a total of 330 photos of which 20 were worth keeping.  It’s really hard to predict when & where the calves will breach.  I have more than 200 photos of nothing but a water splash or part of the tail.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70- 300mm F4.5-5.6 @ 300mm F5.6 1/2500 ISO 100

 

We decided to take a 2 hour boat ride with one of the many whale watching tour operators dotted up the east coast of Australia.  You can get lucky and get some good shots from the shore, but have a better chance with one of the tours.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70- 300mm F4.5-5.6 @ 300mm F5.6 1/1250 ISO 100

 

The mothers then turned and swam directly under the boat and even I couldn’t miss a couple of good shots with this opportunity. The boats are meant to keep 200m away from the whales. If the whales then decide to swim towards you then you’re very lucky.

 

The mothers then turned and swam directly under the boat and even I couldn’t miss a couple of good shots with this opportunity. The boats are meant to keep 200m away from the whales. If the whales then decide to swim towards you then you’re very lucky

Canon 5d Mark II, 70- 300mm F4.5-5.6 @ 300mm F5.6 1/1600 ISO 100

 

The mothers then turned and swam directly under the boat and even I couldn’t miss a couple of good shots with this opportunity. The boats are meant to keep 200m away from the whales. If the whales then decide to swim towards you then you’re very lucky.

Canon 5d Mark II,70- 300mm F4.5-5.6 @ 300mm F5.6 1/1000 ISO 100

 

The mothers then turned and swam directly under the boat and even I couldn’t miss a couple of good shots with this opportunity. The boats are meant to keep 200m away from the whales. If the whales then decide to swim towards you then you’re very lucky.

Canon 5d Mark II,70- 300mm F4.5-5.6 @ 300mm F5.6 1/2500 ISO 100

 

The calves were in a playful mood breaching everywhere but I just couldn’t get the good shot. The mothers where a little easier with some good tail & fin slapping

 

The calves were in a playful mood breaching everywhere but I just couldn’t get the good shot. The mothers where a little easier with some good tail & fin slapping

Canon 5d Mark II,70- 300mm F4.5-5.6 @ 300mm F5.6 1/2000 ISO 100

 

The calves were in a playful mood breaching everywhere but I just couldn’t get the good shot. The mothers where a little easier with some good tail & fin slapping

Canon 5d Mark II,70- 300mm F4.5-5.6 @ 300mm F5.6 1/1250 ISO 100

 

The calves where still going crazy & I just kept missing the good shot

 

The calves where still going crazy & I just kept missing the good shot

Canon 5d Mark II,70- 300mm F4.5-5.6 @ 140mm F5 1/1000 ISO 100

 

But then I captured this, I think it was more luck or the law of averages then anything to with good technique. You have to get 1 good shot when you shoot more than 300 of the same subject.

(Out of focus) by now I was getting seriously frustrated.

Canon 5d Mark II,70- 300mm F4.5-5.6 @ 300mm F5.6 1/2500 ISO 100

 

But then I captured this, I think it was more luck or the law of averages then anything to with good technique. You have to get 1 good shot when you shoot more than 300 of the same subject.

 

In closing I have a serious amount of respect for those wildlife photographers that capture those beautiful whale photos.  It’s a lot harder than it looks.

Canon 5d Mark II,70- 300mm F4.5-5.6 @ 300mm F5.6 1/640 ISO 100

 

In closing I have a serious amount of respect for those wildlife photographers that capture those beautiful whale photos.  It’s a lot harder than it looks.

One warning that applies to Bangkok Images readers is regarding your “assistant”.  If she happens to be Thai and tells you that she doesn’t get sea sick, DON’T BELIEVE HER!!!!  Get a bottle of motion sickness tablets & make her take the lot!!!  As you can see from the above photo it was as calm as calm can be when heading out to sea & my assistant was trying to feed the whales her breakfast within 15mins of leaving the harbour.

After we got back to dry land I found out she gained her sea legs taking the ferry to Koh Samet.  She went out on the boat with me very keen to take her own photos with my Sony NEX-5.  She took one photo before deciding survival was more important.

 

One warning that applies to Bangkok Images readers is regarding your “assistant”.  If she happens to be Thai and tells you that she doesn’t get sea sick, DON’T BELIEVE HER!!!!  Get a bottle of motion sickness tablets & make her take the lot!!!  As you can see from the above photo it was as calm as calm can be when heading out to sea & my assistant was trying to feed the whales her breakfast within 15mins of leaving the harbour.

After we got back to dry land I found out she gained her sea legs taking the ferry to Koh Samet.  She went out on the boat with me very keen to take her own photos with my Sony NEX-5.  She took one photo before deciding survival was more important.

Let me tell you it is very hard to wipe the excitement from your face after taking a good photo, so when turning around you have the appropriate look of concern when asking your loved one if she is alright.

 

Let me tell you it is very hard to wipe the excitement from your face after taking a good photo, so when turning around you have the appropriate look of concern when asking your loved one if she is alright.

That’s it from me.  This amateur would appreciate any tips on shooting and editing photos from out to sea.