I was in Tonga last August with Naia liveabord and I'd like to share my experience .
Naia is a well known liveaboard cruising Tonga during July , August and September and Fiji during the other months .
All on board is great : cabin , food , service , professional cruise director , wonderful fijian staff !
The trip was 10 days - 9 nights - 8 full day in water with humpback whales . A lot of time with only one target : .... whales !!
Seeing whales above water and underwater as well ( snorkeling only allowed )
I must confess at the beginning I was afraid to get bored , but day by day I understood that all that time is necessary to " get in touch " with the whales . This means not only take a snapshot but let the whales accept me in water !
As per tecnical details , I ask many friends had done same experience as well as internet research and I finally understood that is useful :
-use fisheye on Dslr ( or mirrorless ) : I used Canon 8-15 on Canon 80D
-use mid dome or minidome : I used ZEN 170 dome : a big dome is not really necessary because not possible many half-half and no worry about soften corner , and the cons is you have sto swimm a lot !
-use manual exposure with center weight metering and -2/3 compensation - F8 - 1/125 to 1/200 ( I used usually 1/160 ) - auto ISO
-use autofocus ( with all points active ) , water was very clear so no really problem with autofocus
I balanced ( neutral buoyancy and perfect trim ) my housing with some close cell foam all around it and it was very useful during the long hours in water .
Last important points :
-try to have the sun behind my back , because the only light is the natural light ( no flash allowed ) .
-go close !! ... or better , let the whales came close to me ... and the first days I made the mistake to use fishyey at 15 mm .. at the end I used only 10 mm ( on crop sensor ) and try to fill the frame to have to less water as possible from whales and my lens .
-be prepared to swimm a lot and a lot , so I trained myself intensive before this trip .
here some shots , hope you like :
some great moment of interaction ...... :